The Racy Whites Of California's Anderson Valley + Breggo Cellars + Navarro Vineyards + Husch Vineyards + Handley Cellars

The racy whites of California's Anderson Valley

Barely beyond the outer reaches of Sonoma County is the verdant Anderson Valley. Or as we like to call it, Alsace West.

The area is a sleeper of a wine-growing appellation that produces many of the States' best Alsatian-style whites.

Known more for its reds, the valley's warm summer days and coastal fog are also ideal for Pinot Gris, Gew├╝rztraminer, Riesling and Muscat.

Here, our guide to the region's representative tasting rooms:

First stop is Breggo Cellars (11001 Hwy. 128, Boonville; 707-895-9589), a hospitable outpost for tasting the elegant 2009 Pinot Gris, rife with citrus aromas.

Next up is Navarro Vineyards (5601 Hwy. 128, Philo; 707-895-3686), best known for its Asian-food-friendly wines. The small-production Muscat is a revelation in crispness.

Gew├╝rztraminer is ubiquitous in Anderson Valley, and no one does it better than Husch Vineyards (4400 Hwy. 128, Philo; 800-554-8724). Skip the regular bottling, which is off-dry; instead, ask for T-Bud Dry Cuvee. It's as close to Strasbourg as you can get stateside.

Finally, there is Riesling. There are lots of cloying California examples, but Handley Cellars' (3151 Hwy. 128, Philo; 707-895-3876) version is pitch-perfect, achieving a precise balance of floral notes and acidity.