It’s Friday. Finally. Time to get out of the city. You’re ready for a glass of wine. Or maybe a wine tasting. Sure, Sonoma and Napa have great wines, but the tasting rooms are just too crowded to be relaxing and personalized. Time to venture a little further into wine country.
Whether you drive slowly up Highway 1 or take the more direct route through Sonoma, your destination is the Anderson Valley in western Mendocino County. In the hills above Philo, up a long, winding road off of Highway 128, you’ll find Esterlina Vineyards. If you’re lucky, Murio Sterling, the winery’s founder, will be pouring.
The first thing you’ll notice–once you realize you’re actually heading in the right direction–is the stunning view. A large deck overlooks their vineyards with the valley in the distance. Soak in the view. It’s peaceful, relaxing, and quiet. With appointment-only tastings, only a small group visits at one time. You could have the deck all to yourself. Munchies appear to accompany the wine. And the pouring begins.
Esterlina prides themselves on creating small-quantity, but high-quality wines. You will not be disappointed. Pinot Noirs that are meant to be aged–if you can force yourself not to open the bottles. Deep, cherry-flavored Cabernet Sauvignons. A Merlot for people who think they don’t like Merlots. Even a refreshing Reisling. A tasting has suddenly turned into an afternoon.