Top Wine Producers from the Historic Mendocino Region

Top Wine Producers from the Historic Mendocino Region
Michael Kwas

California’s Mendocino County wine region has been quietly undergoing a transformation in quality. Located north of Sonoma County, it made its reputation in the ’80s with great sparkling wine. Today, the region boasts some great artisanal wineries producing terrific Pinot Noir and Syrah, as well as some of the finest Alsace varietals grown in the United States, most notably from the Gewürztraminer grape. Don’t overlook Zinfandel, which is often made in a food-friendly style. Mendocino County also continues to be at the vanguard of organic viticulture in California, with over a quarter of production certified organic. The following are some of my favorite producers from this historic region. 

Drew Jason Drew crafts filigreed Syrah, but I’m smitten with their single-vineyard Pinots, which are dazzlingly aromatic, with sensual textures and terrific inner-mouth perfume.   Wine to seek out—Pinot Noir from the Morning Dew Ranch

Copain The wine-making style is French with lots of nuance and restrained fruit. The single-vineyard Pinots and Syrahs are spectacular. Wine to seek out—Pinot Noir “Tous Ensemble”

Husch I was first introduced to Husch decades ago when it was a value brand. Now it belongs firmly within the ranks of fine wine, where it is also a value. Wine to seek out—Cabernet Sauvignon (regular cuvee)

Navarro After a twenty-year hiatus, these are again available in Wisconsin. They offer sustained elegance and outstanding food compatibility. Wine to seek out—Gewürztraminer    

Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.