red wine

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 »

Import Selection: Zinfandel, 1987, San Martin

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 »

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 »

Domestic Selection: Merlot, 1987, Columbia

In 1962 home winemaking buff Professor Lloyd Woodbourne, plus a few of his similarly inclined colleagues from the University of Washington, founded what is now Washington states oldest premium winery. At that time it was called Associated Vintners (six years ago the name was changed to the cur­rent Columbia Winery). Pooling their resources they bought… read more »

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 »