POSTED ON June 6, 2008 | IN Mendocino Wine Country | BY joe

In our estimation, Handley Cellars ties Navarro Vineyards for the best overall winery in the Anderson Valley. Navarro gets all the press and their tasting room is usually jammed with visitors. Don’t get us wrong Navarro is one of our favorite wineries, but Handley is equal without all the hype.

We tasted six wines and all were very good to excellent. Our favorite red was the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. This is a well-kept secret, the price is $30 at the winery but you can usually find it for less at many well-known wine shops. It is more of a traditional Pinot Noir, not the usual big Pinots we find lately. It is a terrific food wine and we think better tasting than Pinots in the $40 range. The white wines we liked very much were the Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and the Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek. These wines are really excellent and again priced nicely.

Another good thing about Handley Cellars is that they practice organic farming, they are certified, and they make use of solar power.

Milla Handley is the winemaker and her co-winemaker is Kristen Barnhisel. Handley Cellars has a very lovely patio area with picnic tables that give a great view of the Handley vineyards. This is a good choice for a picnic lunch. You will find Handley Cellars on the right side of the highway as you drive west. It is one of the last wineries along this stretch of the Anderson Valley on Highway 128.

If you are in the Anderson Valley, put Handley in your list of top wineries to visit. The others are Navarro, Breggo, Husch, and at least one of the sparkling wineries, both owned by the same owner, and that would be Roederer and Sharffenberger Cellars. Our next post is on Esterlina winery, another good one. Watch for it soon.

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