red wine

Import Selection: Rioja, 1985, Federico Paternina

During the 1880’s a vine plague, the root burrowing phyl­loxera vastratrix, spawned a mass exodus of several hundred French families from Bordeaux due south 150 miles to Spain’s uninfected Ebro Valley. An unprecedented surge in Spanish wine production ensued. The Rioja vine growing region got its name from a small tributary called Rio Oja of… read more »

Domestic Selection: Cabernet Sauvignon, 1984, Jade Mountain

If you want history, try to read the label on this bottle. Some cor­relation! But here is the current story of this winery. Proprietor Dr. Douglas Cart­wright has actually been growing grapes for many years on his spa­cious ranch in Northern Sonoma County, having planted 34 acres there in 1964. Prior to the 1984 harvest… read more »

Import Selection: Salice Salentino, 1983, Dr. Taurino

The only good thing about in­flated California wine prices is that importers will search far and wide into territories they normally would not have, to discover good bargains. Salice Salentino lies almost at the very tip of Italy’s “high heel”; in the region of Apuglia (or just Puglia), known mainly for vast quantities of mediocre… read more »

The Worst Bottle Of Wine I Ever Had

I never thought I would write about a bad bottle of wine, but this bottle was so bad that I thought it deserved broaching the subject: in case there was redeeming value in the experience. One of the charges to myself, in my wine endeavors, is to locate and taste wines that are not imported… read more »

Domestic Selection: Pinot Noir, 1987, Congress Springs

The Congress Springs Winery, situated on the Santa Clara side of the rugged Santa Cruz mountain is surrounded by such illustrious neighbors as David Bruce, Martin Ray, Mount Eden and Ridge Vine­yards. Dan Gehrs and his wife Robin rebuilt the winery (which dates from the 1890’s) in 1976. Dan’s winemaking philosophy… “We don’t try to… read more »

Import Selection: Fonset-Lacour, 1985, Barton and Gustier

The firm of Barton & Gustier has been blending and shipping fine French wines since 1725. They are “negociants-éleveurs”, as well as growers themselves. (their flagship is Chateau Magnol in Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France.) Even though they are based in Bordeaux, they offer an extensive variety of wines from different re­gions of France. Michel Fouchaux… read more »

Cabernet Sauvignon, 1983, Cache Cellars

Caché means “hidden” in French… and I guess it is as good a name as any for this winery. It is located on a remote dirt road west of Davis, California. A great place to be! University of California-Davis has the best enology depart­ment in the country. The cellars were established in 1978, by Charles… read more »

Domestic Selection: Zinfandel, Vineyard Selection 1978, L. M. Martini

One day in 1906, a nineteen-year-old Enology student from the University of Genoa got a bit of advice from his college professor that would change his Life, “If you want to make wine,” he said, “you’d better go back to California. . .experiment by yourself and study.” His name was Louis M. Martini. The story… read more »

Import Selection: Shiraz/Cabernet, 1984, Penfolds

Terms like Koonunga Hill, Coonawarra and Pokolbin most-likely don’t roll off the tongues of wine aficionados like Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino, but someday they will.  Our import selection, if you haven’t already guessed, comes from “down under”. . . Australia. With all the hoopla over the Australian tourist ads here it was time to find… read more »

Domestic Selection: Zinfandel, 1984; T.K.C. Vineyards

This zinfandel comes from a zinfandel specialist. He is one of very few California winemakers who prefer to produce only one kind of wine. In the case of Harold Duffer, his love is zinfandel. But he has more loves than that: he loves his winery in Plymouth, Cal­ifornia enough to commute 487 miles, about twice… read more »