If you’re a fan of French bubbly, especially the centuries-old Champagne Louis Roederer, you’ll be pleased to know that when they opened an American arm, Roederer Estate, in 1982, the grape did not fall far from the vine. Producing some of the top sparkling wines in the US, Roederer Estate blends its venerable history of wine making techniques with the ideal climate of Anderson Valley.
Roederer Estate’s Unique Wine Making Methods
There are two hallmarks of Roederer Estate’s wine making style. Their grapes are exclusively estate-grown on their 580-acre vineyard. The warm days, cool nights and fogs rolling in off the Pacific create an ideal environment for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The young grapes are then combined with oak aged reserve wines to create their four signature bruts.
Roederer Estate offers four sparkling wines. Their multi-vintage Anderson Valley Brut and Brut Rose are crisp and elegantly balanced, with subtle notes of pear, spice and hazelnut. The Brut is a blend of approximately 60% Chardonnay with 40% Pinot Noir, while the Brut Rose is the reverse ratio.
Roederer Estate’s L’Ermitage and L’Ermitage Rose are tetes de cuvee–first pressings of only special years. Their slow-rising bubbles bring flavors of ginger, pie crust, cherry and cinnamon to the tongue, in a way that recalls Roederer’s French wines of old.
Roederer Estate is worth the drive up to Philo, where the winery is hidden from the highway in a lovely spot, more rustic than you might expect from such an established Champagne producer. The tasting room is open from 11-5 daily and offers flights of their sparkling wines for a small fee. Included in the tasting is their Magnum, completely different on the tongue than the other bruts due to the extra fermentation.
Visitors to Roederer Estate can order a picnic in advance, and there are also tours of the estate. Fans can join their wine club for shipments and newsletters, and Roederer Estate maintains an active presence on social media.
If you’re a Cristal lover and exploring Mendocino wine country, it would be a shame not to experience the work of winemaker Arnaud Weyrich at Roederer Estate. Visitors are rarely disappointed with either the locale or its offerings, and many proclaim it the best sparkling wine tasting in this country.