It is tradition in our family that on Mother's Day I decide how we will spend the day. We often went to Mendocino, walking the streets of this beautiful coastal town and hiking out on the headlands. But this year I wanted something different. A wine-making friend of ours had told us about a winery in Anderson Valley that makes great Gewürztraminer. This is one of my favorite white wines, but I have seldom found a really good one in the States (the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, by the way, makes excellent Gewürztraminer). I wanted to try this, but since Anderson Valley is a bit to drive to we waited until this special occasion.
Mother's Day was beautiful with warm temperatures and sunny skies. We stopped on the way for breakfast to have some "foundation" before tasting wine. The drive up Anderson Valley is beautiful especially right now when everything is still rather green, but we already saw - with weariness - the first dry spots.
Coming from Sonoma County we were prepared to pay a tasting fee (that is always waived when you buy a bottle) and were pleasantly surprised when we didn't have to pay but got our first tastings right away. I have to say, the Gewürztraminer was delicious and reminded me of the Alsatian ones (which are my favorites). They also had some very decent Riesling (another favorite) including a Late Harvest one which is not my thing at all (way too sweet). These wines have the flavor of home for me.
The winery is beautifully located in the rolling hills among the vineyards. There is ample space to sit outside, have a picnic, drink a bottle of their wine and just enjoy the scenery.
We didn't spent too much time here, though, but bought a few bottles and then went on toward the ocean. I love the Pacific and I especially love driving along our Highway 1 that hugs the rugged coast with repeatedly stunning views of the ocean and the cliffs.
It was a typical Northern California day at the coast - some sun, lots of wind - and of course fog. The marine layer seems to be omnipresent here.
We stopped several times just to enjoy the view, listen to the waves crashing onto the shore and watching the birds and insects humming around the cow parsnip and the purple thistles.
The lighthouse at Point Arena is halfway down the highway - a place where we always stop. This is the tallest lighthouse on the coast and - you always wanted to know this - sitting on a piece of land of the Continental US that is the closest to the Hawai'ian islands.
This is also the location where the infamous San Andreas Fault dips into the ocean.
The coastline is rough here - no soft sandy beaches. The wind has no mercy. Some trees don't make it, but are still beautiful.
Others just find a different way to survive.