Bay Area Bubbles: Wrapping it up at Roerderer Estate
The last in the series of Bay Area Bubbles wraps up at another one of my favorite places: Roerderer Estates.
My first introduction to Roerderer Estate came at a time when I was looking for a good local bubbly that I enjoyed by itself, but also came at a price where I wouldn't feel bad about mixing it into a French 75. This search led me to their Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut, a multi-vintage sparkling wine made from estate grown pinot noir (40%) and chardonnay (60%) in the cool Mendocino climate. Much like in the Russian River Valley and Carneros region, the proximity to the ocean provides the cool nights provide optimal conditions for the grapes. And at about $20 a bottle, aged en tirage for a two years, and made in the same style as the parent company Champagne Louis Roederer in France, it's a total deal.
Built on what used to be an old sheep farm and in production since 1982, the winery has a line of both multi-vintage (sometimes known as non-vintage or NV) and vintage offerings in its L'Ermitage line. While the multi-vintage sparklings use fruit from almost every year, the L'Ermitage only get produced in especially good years.
Lou Bustamante The patio looking towards the tasting room
Stylistically, what makes this sparkling winery unique is that all of the fruit used in its wines is grown on its own vineyards, and none of it is purchased. The other stylistic difference is that many of its sparkling wines contain barrel-aged wine in the dosage (the small amount of wine and sugar added back to each bottle after the yeast is removed).
The indoor tasting room offers an educational tasting of Roerderer's sparkling wines along with a trio of still wines for $6, which is a total steal. If after doing a flight, weather permitting, you can enjoy a picnic outside and purchase a glass of bubbles ($7-$10) to enjoy on the patio.
Lou Bustamante The tasting room
If you've planned ahead and ordered the picnic basket, you can enjoy it there. If not, grab a glass, enjoy the sunset, and stop by Libby's in Philo on the way home. Don't forget to pick up a few bottles for the holidays; the large format magnums in particular are fun. Sometimes bigger is better.
Lou Bustamante Sunset from the patio
Location: 4501 Highway 128, Philo, open 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tours: Tours are available by appointment for $6 per person. If you are interested, send your request to Sharon Sullivan at email@example.com or call (707) 895-2288.
Tastings: $6 (yes only six dollars)
Approximate number of wines in the tasting: Eight; five of them sparkling including a comparative tasting between a magnum and standard bottle of the Brut NV
Price range for sparkling wines: Most in the $21-$60 range
Yearly production (in cases): 100,000 with the Brut NV making up three-quarters of that
Picnic tables/food available: Yes, in a nice garden with the option to call ahead and reserve a picnic for two ($25, homemade olive tapenade and onion jam, an assortment of cheeses, bread, half a salami, Guittard bittersweet chocolate, raw almonds, and seasonal dried or fresh fruit). Call at least 48 hours in advance to order, (707) 895-2957
Best for: Groups looking for a nice mix of champagne tradition, outdoors, and redwoods
Don't miss this on the way to visit: If you have time, check out Hendy Wood State Park that includes a couple of nice redwood groves