california

Domestic Selection: Pinot Noir, 1988. Austin Cellars

Anthony Austin’s roots go back to the very early days of Cali­fornia wine… literally. His ances­tors were granted a homestead in 1881 in Sonoma County, and are said to have planted the first Ca­bernet Sauvignon vines in the Rus­sian River Valley. After attending U.C. Davis’ viticultural school, Austin became a protege of the country’s most… read more »

Domestic Selection: Rsv. Sauvignon Blanc, 1986. Concannon

The Concannon Vineyard is factually a piece of California his­tory, California Historical Land­mark No. 641, to be exact. Over 100 years ago James Concannon founded this venerable operation 50 miles east of San Francisco in the Livermore Valley. This area distinguishes itself from other wine regions of California by its striking similarities to the great… read more »

Domestic Selection: Sauvignon Blanc, 1989. Cask One

American Wine Merchants’ Cask One Sauvignon Blanc is yet another one of those “negociant” wines which we happily wind up with every now and then. The closest way to describe a negociant wine accurately is to call it a “brand”, as it is not a winery. Some of the most famous wine-makers in France are… read more »

Domestic Selection: Zinfandel, 1990. Winterbrook

Although established in 1983, the Winterbrook Winery’s success with Zinfandel can be traced back to 1890 when the more than 100 wineries dotting the Amador County landscape specialized in Zinfandel production. The winery is located in the fer­tile Jackson Valley of the Sierra Nevada Foothills approximately fifty miles southeast of Sacramen­to. A three man partnership… read more »

Domestic Selection: Chenin Blanc, 1989. Granite Springs

In 1979, Les and Lynne Rus­sell both left successful careers and their newly completed dream house in the Bay Area to move to the Sierra Foothills in order to be­gin fulfilling a new dream. They had decided to venture into the wine-grape growing business. The husband and wife team believed that the consistently sunny days,… read more »

Domestic Selection: Cabernet Sauvignon, 1987. Hawk Crest

Amongst the resplendent caber­net jewels in Napa’s crown, few sparkle so pre-eminently as those of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. I quote here, one who knows whereof he speaks, Warren Wini­arski, winemaker and co-owner of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars: “Let us take a fresh start by making an as­sumption….that in every class of product there is… read more »

Domestic Selection: Pinot Blanc, 1988. Paraiso Springs

The Paraiso Springs label be­longs to Richard Smith. He does not own vineyards or a winery. In­stead he selects the best grapes he can find, orders them crushed ac­cording to his specifications, and then fermented under the direction of Ron Niino, an expatriate from San Martin. He also buys bulk wines that meet his blending… read more »

Domestic Selection: Cabernet Sauvignon, 1986, Vanino

What do you get when you cross an entrepreneur and a nego­ciant? Vanino Wine Cellars. Steve Vagnino (drop the g for pronunciation) decided while in a hospital bed in 1985 that he was going into the wine business. What is interesting is that Steve is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and when he found… read more »

Domestic Selection: Chardonnay, 1986, Merry Vintners

The Merry Vintners is a small, 7,000 cases per annum, family winery in the rural outskirts of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. The winery was founded in 1984 by four partners; Charles Edwards and his wife D.J., their daughter Meredith and her husband Bill (Miller). Sounds quite ordinary so far… the catch is, Meredith (Mer­ry)… read more »

Import Selection: Zinfandel, 1987, San Martin International Series

A mission Padre was the first to plant grapevines in Baja California; on the site of the first lower Cali­fornia mission circa 1697. But viti­culture was known to Mexico far earlier than that. In 1524 the Mexi­can conqueror Cortez decreed that all Spaniards holding land grants in Mexico had to plant annually, for five years,… read more »