Inspired by a Dos Equis commercial, Mario Rubio of Brewed for Thought asks us to write about what we prefer to drink when not having beer, for this month’s Session. As the world’s 2,643,459,882 most interesting man, here’s what I have to say.
If I had to put a date on my so-called “craft beer epiphany”, it would be Memorial Day Weekend 2007. That weekend I took a trip with Linda, my girlfriend of about a year, to California’s Mendocino County where we visited both Anderson Valley Brewing and North Coast Brewing. While I was already leaning in a craft beer direction, these visits not only opened my mind to realize the endless variety and possibilities of beer, but also made me aware of how connected beer can be to the place where it is brewed.
For the first time in my life, I went wine tasting as we also visited a few of Anderson Valley’s wineries in central Mendocino County. I discovered many of the different varietals and nuances of wine, and while recognizing that although wine is a rather one-dimensional beverage compared to beer, it can still be tasty.
And most importantly, after an effortlessly enjoyable weekend with Linda, I realized we had something pretty special going on, and today, Linda and I have been married for over a year.
You might say I hit the epiphany trifecta big time that weekend
What can I say about the wines of Anderson Valley beyond the warm fuzziness of that weekend? The area is known for luscious Pinot Noirs, my favorite varietal. But the best part of Anderson Valley wine country is how genuine the people are at the various wineries you meet. Linda and I have done the Napa Valley thing, which is basically like going to a foodie amusement park. In smaller, more isolated Anderson Valley, you’re more likely to meet the wine maker or at least someone highly involved in the operations of the winery in the tasting room than most of California’s other wine regions. The wine is every bit as good as you’ll find in Napa, and costs about $15 less per bottle.
But the best thing about this wine growing region is once you’re done wine tasting, you can drive just a few miles south and take the Anderson Valley Brewery tour.