Day Tripping the North Coast: Mendocino and Sonoma in Photos


Vineyard in repose, Mendocino County.

You can say what you want about Napa. I happen to live there. But for me, Mendocino County is Northern California’s true paradise. I spent the better part of the day in the Anderson Valley today, driving past dozens of miles of vineyards that have all slipped into fall colors. All of Mendocino County looked like the photo above, at least along the winding curves of Highway 128. Outside of wine country, the landscape is dominated by moss, ferns, redwoods and oaks. In the winter, every shade of green is on display.

• • •


Late-harvest Zin…


…or a fruitless vintage?

I noticed one vineyard, located just inside the eastern edge of Sonoma County, that still had its grapes. It looked like a Zinfandel vineyard, and I wondered if it was designated for a late harvest, or if the grower couldn’t find a buyer and the fruit was left to hang. Either way, it’s oddly eye-catching to see a vine with so many grapes and with so few leaves. Of the hundreds of acres of vineyards that I drove past today, this was the only parcel that hadn’t been harvested. Interesting.

• • •

Fuyu, man. And check out that terrific bloom.

Fuyu, man. And check out that terrific bloom.

Pumpkin still life, with persimmons.

Pumpkin still life, with persimmons.

My first stop of the day was at the Philo Apple Farm, which has been certified BioDynamic since 2005. The produce included fuyu persimmons, French heirloom pumpkins, and myriad apples on display (the New Zealand Splendour was my favorite apple of the bunch).

• • •

The Live Oak Building, Boonville.

The Live Oak Building, Boonville.

In Boonville, I picked up a Narraganset turkey at the Live Oak Building, which is now the Valley Bible Fellowship. The building was constructed in 1926, about half way through Prohibition. It was the first building in Mendocino County to have a “walter” installed, which is Boontling for telephone. Although it’s becoming archaic, and I didn’t encounter it today, Boontling is an English-based folk dialect spoken only in Boonville, if you can believe that one.

The gentleman who sold me the turkey was Eric Peterman, pastor of the Valley Bible Fellowship, and a local farmer. Aside from his Narraganset turkeys, Mr. Peterman also offered Bourbon Reds and Spanish Blacks, though he said there was no difference in taste between the three individual breeds. Although relatively pricey, heritage breed turkeys do not require brine, and they only need to be cooked to 165ºF. Even better yet, they’ve never been fed hormones or antibiotics, and the one I purchased today had never been frozen (just killed yesterday).

Before I picked up the turkey, I stopped by Toulouse Winery to pick up a couple bottles of their 2008 Gewurztraminer, which I think should be a terrific Thanksgiving wine (with a hint of spice and sweetness, it could be like drinking pumpkin pie with dinner). I’ll probably open some Pinot Noir as well, seeing how I’ve hoarded so many bottles from the 2007 vintage. Will it be Kosta Browne, Toulouse, Chasseur, Papapietro Perry, or Failla? I just don’t know yet. What’ll you be pouring?

• • •

I was hoping this roadside artwork was in Boontling...

I was hoping this roadside artwork was written in Boontling…

... but was in plain English: "Reach the ocean walk for days"

… but it was in plain English: “Reach the ocean walk for days”

On my way out of Boonville, I spotted an interesting piece of roadside artwork, and I had to wonder who was behind it, how long it’s been there, and what it all means.

4 comments to Day Tripping the North Coast: Mendocino and Sonoma in Photos

  • Barbara

    Great pictures and a nice commentary! What a wonderful way to spend a fall day in Northern California.

  • Did you try Handley? You’ve a much better palate than me, but the Brut Rose at Handleys made me rethink the idea of Brut Rose. It has become so trendy lately, but really, they do it well. Vanilla and biscotti flavors are prominent.

  • ThirstyReader

    Coincidentally, I’m due for a Mendocino trip next week. I have a lead on a good morel spot on some private property. I’ll try to stop by Handley to give them taste.

  • Thanks for the nice comments about the heritage birds. Incidentally, I do speak Boontling some (This bahl kimee harps a slib o Boont). It was a required course in the 3rd grade when I was growing up here, and we spoke it on the playground.
    Bahl Dee!

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