It took a while for the French to discover that soil and climate in Cali could produce a grog worthy of their name. Louis Roederer Champagne house staked their claim to the possibilities in 1982, buying up acres of land 125 miles north of San Francisco in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley. Back then, Mendo wasn’t much more than cached marijuana farms, so they took a huge jump of faith by settling there. Other French Champagne houses – Mumm and Taittinger, among others – took the easy road and set up in Sonoma and Napa Valley but Roederer Estate knew pinot noir and chardonnay could thrive in Mendo. Taste the results in this bottle.
Roederer Estate Brut tastes like red apple and pear tossed with caramel, roasted walnuts and a handful of wheat germ. Slightly sweet, bready and creamy, it sports a lively acidic finish that’s tinged with vanilla and lemon. Costs around $22 at local wine shops.