Mention Green Valley-Russian River Valley to any Pinot-lover or Chardonnay enthusiast and watch their eyes light up! Green Valley is the smallest appellation in Sonoma County, located in the southwestern corner of the Russian River Valley.
Bordered by the tiny towns of Sebastopol, Occidental and Forestville, Green Valley is home to over 100 growers and eight key wineries: DeLoach Vineyards, Dutton Estate, Dutton-Goldfield, Emeritus Vineyards, Hartford Family Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Marimar Estate and Orogeny.
The trademark rolling fog and the Goldridge soil, (the most sought after soil in Sonoma County), makes the Green Valley a very special place for growing the delicate Pinot Noir grapes and the coveted Chardonnay.
Green Valley‘s unique weather is considerably colder than the rest of the Russian River Valley. With the Russian River to the north and the Petaluma Wind Gap to the south, cold air streams across the Green Valley. The coastal hills lying along its western border help to moderate the strong winds from the ocean. All things combined, the cool nights and early morning fog, followed by warm days, give the right balance of ripeness, good sugar levels, ripe tannins and high acid.
Pinot Noir from the Green Valley appellation tends to display sumptuous blackberry, blueberry and violet-floral characteristics while the Chardonnay is crisp, slightly tart, with bright tangerine and green apple flavors.
The Green Valley AVA meanders along the Gravenstein Highway where apple orchards were once plentiful. Today, small tasting rooms, such as Dutton Estate, Dutton-Goldfield and Hartford Winery dot the back country roads. Venture out to Iron Horse Winery for expansive views or to Marimar Estate for a little Spanish flair.
At the end of the day, a great local haunt is the Underwood Bar and Bistro in funky Graton. Reminiscent of an old western saloon, the bar and bistro is eclectic and fun! Fabulous food, an amazing wine list and colorful patrons make it an ideal way to unwind and reflect on your day on the Green Valley wine trail. www.underwoodgraton.com
Once you unveil the secrets of Green Valley AVA, you’ll know that you’ve discovered Russian River’s sweetest spot and you will want to return again and again. Visit www.greenvalley-russianriver.com to plan your next wine tasting trek.