Take the road less travelled…toss in miles of hairpin, white knuckled, high-banked turns, for a most scenic drive over the Highway 128 pass to Anderson Valley, gateway to the towering Mendocino County redwoods and pristine coastal access.
Ahhhhh…. when I reached the top of the summit, I was spellbound by the beauty of the ruggedness and the color of the deep red soil against the vibrant vines and dense dark redwoods.
For history buffs, Boonville was founded in 1862 by John Burgots whose claim to fame was building the Boonville Hotel, which still proudly stands. A general store and post office also co-existed in the tiny western town. Remnants of the original town are still evident driving down Highway 128.
Much more modern that the Boonville Hotel, is the quaint Seebass Vineyards’ tasting room right across the street. Fashioned after an early 1900’s parlor room, complete with a dark wood vintage bar, guests are invited to belly up to the bar and sample the estate wines.
The actual Seebass Vineyards property is located in nearby Ukiah, where owner Brigitte Seebass lovingly replanted Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot, and Grenache in the 1980’s on the former pear orchard. The old-vine Zinfandel vines, planted in the late 1800’s, remain on the property and produce some of the most prized grapes in the region.
While Brigitte still oversees the vineyard management, her daughter Michelle and husband Scott head the winemaking and marketing for Seebass Vineyards.
With 11 estate wines to taste, Seebass Vineyards offers a great introduction to the Anderson Valley. The multi award-winning 2012 Grand Reserve Chardonnay exhibits refreshing citrus notes, honeysuckle on the nose and a crisp tart green apple finish. The 2014 Rose of Grenache “Fantasie” is delicate and refreshing, yet sophisticated – the ideal rosy blush summer wine crafted in a true Rhone-style.
Hands down, however, is Seebass Vineyards’ 2011 Old Vine Zinfandel, produced from 115 year old vines ~ a very fine example of a cool climate Zinfandel, which is as complex and mysterious as the Boontling language of yesteryear. www.seebassvineyards.com