By now most of you who read my blog regularly know how pet friendly the wineries of Mendocino County are and what unique experiences each one provides its four legged visitors along with their uprights. So imagine the thrill when I heard about a wine tasting location in Anderson Valley that has recently opened encompassing three of my most favorite things, wine tasting, cheese tasting and shopping all in one exquisite experience.
The Madrones is a Mediterranean style complex that has been a work in progress for the last 20 years by owner Jim Roberts. Featuring intimate courtyards, relaxing water features, colorful flora and outside café tables all meld together to create a serene setting that is just perfect for sipping exquisite small batch handcrafted wines and nibbling on artisan cheeses. Located in the town of Philo, The Madrones has had several incarnations, beginning its life as a rural homestead, then morphing itself into a design center and creative think tank and now to its new reincarnation as a classic Mediterranean Estate housing the tasting rooms for a unique collection of award-winning handcrafted/small lot wineries. These include Lula Cellars (I am particularly fond of this name as it is the nickname of my best girlfriend Tallulah, a delightful French bulldog.), Drew Family Cellars, Berridge Wine Company and Bink Wines. Each winery has a separate tasting room within The Madrones; offering the visitor an intimate and very personal wine tasting experience. All of the tasting rooms welcome us with bowls of fresh water and yummy treats. You may even be lucky to meet Rupert an extremely sociable and friendly mixed breed fellow who is often at The Madrones. With his upright Monica, the tasting manager for Bink Wines, his job is greeting and making us four legged visitors very welcome.
A particular gem of a store at The Madrones is the Sun & Cricket which offers a very different shopping experience for the discerning visitor. Their mantra is “Fine Rural Living and Tools for the Journey.” Specializing in an eclectic mix of books, antiques, classic toys, garden tools and one of a kind items. The store also features a select offering of fine artisan cheeses and best of all we get to go shopping there too. As you wander around this space you will hear the uprights marvel at the delightful treasures displayed. I, however, was quite content to sit patiently in front of the glass case that contained the array of delicious cheeses as I waited for a nibble of the yummy samples.
The Madrones Estate has two beautifully appointed luxurious guest suites; unfortunately at this time they are not pet friendly but I have been told that they hope to offer a pet friendly accommodation soon. As soon as it is open you can be assured that I will check it out, my canine brethren. Garden tours of the estate and gardening workshops are also available and times and dates can be found under the events calendar on the website: www.themadrones.com.
The Madrones is a wonderful place to experience anytime and a great place to chill for a spell and soak up the natural beauty and charm of Mendocino County. The Madrones offers a perfect slice of Mediterranean living in picturesque Anderson Valley.