Hopping along

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Ah the lazy days of summer seem long gone this week, as the cold weather settles in.  Warm hazy days made room for crisp, clear winter days.  Somehow, fall managed to escape us this year.  On one of those last balmy weekends, I headed up to Hopland to do a little winetasting.  Hopland is about 1 1/2 hours north of San Francisco, past Healdsburg and over the next set of hills in to Mendocino County. There are about a dozen wineries in the town of Hopland itself, with many more just outside the tiny town limits.  Having a main street that is 90% wine tasting rooms has its benefits!  Park the car once, and stroll down the street experiencing the local wine. I started my weekend off at Rack & Riddle, a custom crush sparkling wine house, that also produces its own label sparkling and still wines.  I skipped right to the sparkling table, and enjoyed three different sparkling wines.  I really like what they do here, and I wasn’t spitting ANY of these wines!  If you get the chance, stop by and say hi.  It’s worth it! Next up, I headed in to town and started off at Cesar Toxqui Cellars.  It was a bit hard to taste big reds on a day that was over 80, but my favorites here were definitely the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir (because I’m a pinot freak) and the Heirloom.  Heirloom is a luscious blend that is primarily Bordeaux varietals, with a dash of Hopland zin thrown in.  You’ll see a theme about that zin soon, as I start to explore the Coro series of wines. Across the street from Toxqui, there are 6 tasting rooms in a row.  Rough!  First, McFadden Vineyards where my fellow blogger and tasting room mad scientist John was holding court.  The mastermind behind the blogger tour of Hopland, John introduced me to Hopland’s crown jewels, the whites.  Pouring two Rieslings, the current release, which was fresh and full of stone fruit, it was the antithesis of the library selection 2006 Riesling which was all petrol and spice.  This is a classic Riesling, and an exceptional wine.  For a little fun, McFadden also produces a sparkling, which is a great way to have a picnic on the porch! Right next to McFadden are McNab Ridge Winery and Weibel Family Vineyards.  I didn’t get to pop in there on Saturday because the crowd was a bit…crazy, but I will tell you that at dinner, the McNab Ridge Coro stole my heart. What is this Coro I keep talking about you ask?  Coro Mendocinio is a wine project that incorporates the best of Mendocino County wine, with a distinct voice by each winery.  In Italian, Coro means chorus, and these wines reflect the collaborative sprit of Mendocino winemakers.  Each participating winery has their own version, and I was fortunate to be in Hopland the weekend when most of the current vintages were open. Coro Mendocino is made exclusively from Mendocino Country fruit, and must adhere to a particular standard.  Since […]