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by Fred McMillin
for July 22, 1997

A Brilliant Brightlighter


  • Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer is notably crisp and delicate, and it is argued that this is THE variety of the region. It is the best Gewurztraminer grown in California.

  • Riesling is the most important Anderson Valley still wine grape...with Handley Cellars Riesling being outstanding. ...by critics James Halliday and Bob Thompson
The Rest of the Story:
    Dilemma—Since Anderson Valley Gewurz and Riesling both are so highly recommended, which shall I serve to open my next party?

    Solution—Avoid the choice. Handley Cellars Brightlighter is 50% Riesling, 50% Gewurztraminer,and 100% pure delight. It is a natural to pair with your favorite curry dish.

1996 Brightlighter White, Anderson Valley
Handley Cellars
Mendocino County

Postscript—The Name Game

  • Anderson Valley—The Navarro River flows through this valley, which is only 2 miles wide and 25 miles long. In 1851 Walter Anderson settled in the area that now contains over a 1000 acres of vineyards and still growing.

  • Brightlighter—Fifty years ago, electrical power reached the urban areas of the valley. Hence, the rural residents came to call those city folks "Brightlighters."

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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