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American Wine: A Comprehensive Guide

American Wine: A Comprehensive Guide

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American Wine: A Comprehensive Guide

valutazioni:
3/5 (1 valutazione)
Lunghezza:
1,485 pagine
12 ore
Pubblicato:
Sep 28, 2010
ISBN:
9780062012807
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

The incomparable Anthony Dias Blue—the world's leading expert on American wine—has revised and updated his definitive reference on America's wine-producing regions and wines. Both entertaining and informative American Wine takes the risk out of choosing the best wines and the best values—with maps, winery profiles, comprehensive tasting notes, ratings, and recommendations on more than 5,000 wines.

Anthony Dias Blue is universally praised for his unpretentious wine prose—often witty and always thoroughly original—and for the authoritativeness and strength of his opinions. American Wine sparkles with the same spirit and sharp critical perspective that make his newspaper and magazine columns and radio segments so popular. Blue introduces the reader to the wealth of American wines and wineries from their beginnings to the present and gives background on American grapes, wine production techniques, and his amusing hypotheses on primitive man's discovery of wine.

The heart of the book is the comprehensive listing, arranged by region, of more than 900 wineries, each including a description of the owners/founders, and a list of important characteristics, including vintage, type, and price, of all the wines produced by the winery. Thorough descriptions of each wine are provided as well as guidelines as to when the wines are ready. Individual wines are given quality ratings; Blue's rating system is easy to use and clearly highlights special bargains.

With the seasoned eye and palate that years of experience have given him, Blue has researched and written this compendium with gusto, and the first edition of American Wine has been a resounding success. Updated and revised, this volume is indispensable to anyone how buys wine.

Pubblicato:
Sep 28, 2010
ISBN:
9780062012807
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Anthony Dias Blue, recipient of a James Beard Foundation Award, has been with Bon Appétit for more than two decades and is host of the "Lifestyle Minute" radio show airing in New York and Los Angeles. His reviews have appeared in many publications, including Robb Report, Wine Spectator, and Decanter.


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Anteprima del libro

American Wine - Anthony Dias Blue

Wines

Napa County

The wines from Napa have always been the standard by which all other American wines are judged. The sweeping north-south Napa Valley has been the focus of American viticulture since the California wine industry took its first steps.

There are several reasons for Napa’s preeminence, the most important of which have to do with topography, soil, and climate. Unlike the fragmented nature of many other growing areas, Napa is of a piece. It is a concentrated vineyard area, like Burgundy or the Rheingau, where plantings present a virtually solid phalanx of sturdy vines, interrupted only occasionally by a winery or a house.

The soil is sometimes sandy, sometimes gravelly, and sometimes shot through with clay. It is usually deep and almost always well drained. The climate varies from south to north, giving the thirty-mile long valley three distinct growing environments.

The coolest area is in the south, from the edge of the San Pablo Bay to the town of Oakville. Within this area is Los Carneros, where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reign. Over to the eastern side of the valley the Stag’s Leap district produces lush, long-lived Cabernets from deep, reddish soil.

The central part of the valley, stretching from above Oakville through Rutherford to St. Helena, is where some of world’s most celebrated Cabernet Sauvignons are grown. This zone also produces fine Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot. Within this area is the Rutherford Bench, Spring Mountain, and, to the east, Howell Mountain. Over the mountains to the east are Chiles Valley and Pope Valley.

The northern section—from St. Helena through Calistoga to the Lake County border—is the warmest of all and is most hospitable to Gamay Beaujolais and Zinfandel, although there are important cool pockets, particularly on Diamond Mountain, where fine Cabernets are grown.

From the beginning of American winemaking, Napa Valley has been front and center. Back in the mid to late 1800s there were people of the stature of Krug and Niebaum, the pioneers. From that time until Prohibition, Napa was booming. But it took some thirty years after the repeal of Prohibition for the region’s wine industry to take off again.

In 1960 there were just twenty-five wineries in Napa, only twelve of which sold wine outside the county. Everything was very quiet until 1966, when Bob Mondavi decided to leave his family’s winery, Charles Krug Winery, and build his own facility in Oakville. It’s as if someone had blown a whistle or sounded a bell. Within a few years winery construction was a booming business in Napa.

Today there are more than 170 wineries in the Napa Valley, with new ones appearing all the time. In addition, the area has evolved into one of America’s most popular tourist attractions. Besides all the wineries and its considerable natural beauty, the county now has many charming inns and fine restaurants to attract the wine lover.

NAPA

Acacia Winery

NAPA COUNTY

2750 Las Amigas Road, Napa, California 94559 (707–226–9991). FOUNDED: 1979. ACREAGE: 42 acres. PRODUCTION: 35,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Nationwide. OWNER: Chalone Inc., Phil Woodward, president; Larry Brooks, general manager. WINEMAKER: Larry Brooks. Tours by appointment.

Gravel-voiced Los Angeles attorney Jerry Goldstein founded Acacia in 1979 with soft-spoken Texan Mike Richmond, a former Freemark Abbey Winery sales manager. With winemaker Larry Brooks, who was fresh from earning a master’s degree in enology from U.C. Davis, Acacia produced Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, mostly from cool Carneros vineyards that immediately established the winery as a top-line producer. But in 1986, Acacia’s foray into producing Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc overextended the winery financially. Later that year, in a restructuring, Goldstein sold his partnership in the winery to Chalone Vineyard (see), which also owns Edna Valley and Carmenet vineyards. Winemaker Larry Brooks, who is now general manager as well, works at maintaining Acacia’s consistent and popular style.

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Alta Vineyard Cellar

NAPA COUNTY

P.O. Box 980, Calistoga, California 94515 (707–942–6708). FOUNDED: 1878. ACREAGE: None. PRODUCTION: 2,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Select national markets. OWNERS: Benjamin and Rose Falk. WINEMAKER: Jon P. Axhelm. Tours by appointment.

Benjamin and Rose Falk have become Napa Valley fixtures since they moved to California and revived this old property in 1970. Back in 1880 Alta was visited by Robert Louis Stevenson during his honeymoon, as reported in his Silverado Squatters. There have been financial setbacks, but Alta continues to produce small quantities of wine.

Altamura Vineyards & Winery

NAPA COUNTY

4240 Silverado Trail, Napa Valley, California 94558 (707–253–2000). FOUNDED: 1985. ACREAGE: 80 acres. PRODUCTION: 2,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Select national markets. OWNER: Frank Altamura. WINEMAKER: Frank Altamura. Tours and tasting by appointment.

Frank Altamura is an oddity. He is an actual native of the Napa Valley. His family has lived in wine country since 1940. Frank’s parents, who have no particular interest in wine, funded the 1980 planting of Frank’s vineyards on the family’s property. While waiting for his vines to mature, Frank worked for five years under the tutelage of Randy Dunn and Chuck Wagner at Caymus Vineyards.

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Amizetta Vineyards

NAPA COUNTY

1099 Greenfield Road, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–1053). FOUNDED: 1984. ACREAGE: 20 acres. PRODUCTION: 3,500 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Select national markets. OWNERS: Spencer and Amizetta Clark. WINEMAKER: Spencer Clark. Tours and tasting by appointment.

Spencer Clark was a musician in Houston when he heard that his brother-in-law, Charles F. Shaw (see Charles F. Shaw Vineyard), was selling a beautiful vineyard property in the hills on the eastern side of the Napa Valley. Spencer and his wife, Amizetta, bought the property, with the idea of selling their grapes to the Shaw winery. The Clarks moved to Napa and soon enough were constructing their own winery. The facility was finished in 1984 and the first Amizetta wines—it’s an old family name—were released in 1986.

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S. Anderson Vineyard

NAPA COUNTY

1473 Yountville Crossroad, Yountville, California 94599 (707–944–8642). FOUNDED: 1979. ACREAGE: 49 acres. PRODUCTION: 14,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Major national markets. OWNERS: Stanley B. and Carol G. Anderson. WINEMAKER: Stanley B. Anderson. OTHER LABEL: Tivoli. Tours by appointment. No tasting.

Stanley Anderson, a retired dentist from Pasadena, had been growing high-quality Chardonnay grapes in Yountville for a number of years. When he decided to make his own wine, his wife, Carol, took a few courses at U.C. Davis. The Andersons’ production has expanded to 10,000 cases, and to accommodate this growth, they dug storage caves deep into the hillside behind the winery.

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David Arthur Vineyards

NAPA COUNTY

1521 Sage Canyon Road, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–5190). FOUNDED: 1985. ACREAGE: 45 acres. PRODUCTION: 2,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: California and Chicago. OWNER: Partnership. David Arthur and Joye Long and Robert Long. WINEMAKER: David Arthur Long.

My full name is David Arthur Long, David explains, referring to his label that has his last name deleted as a neighborly gesture to the adjoining, unrelated Long Vineyards. David is somewhat bemused to find himself a winemaker on his family’s 820-acre Napa Valley estate. After being exposed to good wines via my restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, I got the winemaking bug. In addition to the winery, David is kept busy with his wife and partner, Joye, three children, and seven buffalo (illustrated on the wine label).

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Artisan Wines

NAPA COUNTY

5335 Redwood Road, Napa, California 94558 (707–252–6666). FOUNDED: 1984. ACREAGE: None. PRODUCTION: 14,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Major market states. OWNER: Corporation. Jeffrey Caldewey and Michael Fallow. WINEMAKER: Michael Fallow. OTHER LABELS: Michael’s, Ultravino, Cru Artisan, Cruvinet. No tours or tasting.

If ever there was a winery tailored to the young and upwardly mobile, this is it. Michael Fallow, former winemaker at William Hill Winery, 1981–84, and Jeffrey Caldewey, celebrated wine label designer (for wineries such as Jordan), have combined stylish graphics with a multitiered production plan to achieve an upscale marketing niche. Each of Artisan’s labels reflects, as Mike says, an aura of sophistication. The Michael’s label is on wines produced and bottled by the winery; the Artisan Cellars wines (previously called Ultravino) are North Coast wines that are purchased and blended; the Cru Artisan are French and Italian imported wines selected by Mike; and Cruvinet labels wines that are from anywhere in California. All Artisan’s domestic wines are produced or blended at Vinwood Cellars in Geyserville.

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Beaulieu Vineyard

NAPA COUNTY

P.O. Box 329, Rutherford, California 94573 (707–963–1451). FOUNDED: 1900. ACREAGE: 1,500 acres. PRODUCTION: 400,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Nationwide. OWNER: Heublein, Inc. (a division of Grand Metropolitan PLC) Legh F. Knowles, chairman; Thomas B. Selfridge, president; Tony Bell, operations manager. WINEMAKER: Joel Aiken. Tours and tasting daily 10 A.M.–3:15 P.M. at 1960 St. Helena Highway.

Founded by Frenchman Georges de Latour, Beaulieu Vineyard—BV—is one of the country’s premier wineries. In 1938 de Latour hired a young Russian immigrant enologist, André Tchelistcheff, whose experience and natural talent revolutionized the American wine industry: Tchelistcheff identified Cabernet Sauvignon as the most suitable variety for the Napa Valley and then produced a series of dazzling, world-class Cabernets. During the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, BV was the standard by which all other American wines were judged. (Tchelistcheff was also the first to grow Pinot Noir in Napa’s cooler Carneros region.) In 1962, de Latour’s daughter, Helene de Pins, who inherited the winery in 1959, installed ex-Glenn Miller trumpet player and former Gallo sales manager, Legh Knowles, as national sales manager. In 1975, Legh became president (and then later, chairman). Tom Selfridge, as well as Legh, has had a deciding hand in guiding BV: Tom came on board in 1972 as winemaker, and in 1983, he became president. In 1969, Madame de Pins sold BV to Heublein, which was acquired by R. J. Reynolds in 1982. After the merger of Reynolds and Nabisco in 1986, Heublein was sold (including BV, Inglenook-Navalle, Inglenook-Napa Valley, and Almaden Vineyards) to Grand Metropolitan, an English conglomerate. BV’s present operations manager, Tony Bell, has been with the company since 1979, and winemaker Joel Aiken came to BV after graduating from U.C. Davis in 1982. Legh Knowles ended his tenure at BV in December 1988, and the position of chairman was dissolved.

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Bergfeld Wine Cellars

NAPA COUNTY

401 St. Helena Highway South, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–7293). FOUNDED: 1934. ACREAGE: 2,500 acres. PRODUCTION: 10,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: At the winery. OWNER: Napa Valley Grower’s Cooperative. WINEMAKER: Richard Schuetz. Tasting daily 10 A.M.–4:30 P.M.

Bergfeld Wine Cellars, originally Bergfeld Winery in 1885, is the latest incarnation of the Napa Valley Cooperative Winery. In 1934, when the Cooperative was formed, the company acquired the Bergfeld site, closed the winery, and used the location as an outlet for Napa growers to sell their uncommitted grapes to bulk wine producers. The Bergfeld name was not used until 1985 when the 150-member Cooperative reintroduced the Bergfeld label and built a new winery around the original 1885 building. Their winemaker, Richard Schuetz, has been with Bergfeld since graduating from U.C. Davis in 1984 with a master’s degree in enology.

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Beringer Vineyards

NAPA COUNTY

P.O. Box 111, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–7115). FOUNDED: 1876. ACREAGE: 2,200 acres. PRODUCTION: 500,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Nationwide. OWNER: Corporation. Michael Moone, president; Guy Kay, vice president of operations. WINEMAKER: Ed Sbragia. OTHER LABELS: Los Hermanos, Napa Ridge. Tours and tasting daily 10 A.M.–4 P.M. at 2000 Main Street, St. Helena.

The oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley and one of the Napa Valley’s leading tourist attractions, Beringer has been miraculously converted from a lackluster producer of undistinguished wines to one of America’s most prestigious wineries. This was the result of intelligent management by New Yorker Dick Maher, who has since moved over to Christian Brothers (see) by way of Seagram; splendid winemaking by veteran Myron Nightingale and Ed Sbragia, who has been with Beringer since 1976; and considerable capital investment by parent company Nestlé. The state-of-the-art winery, built across the street from the gingerbread Victorian Rhine House, turns out premium quality Beringer wines, less expensive Napa Ridge wines, and jugs sold under the Los Hermanos label. In 1986, the Wine World Corporation, the Nestlé division that controls Beringer, acquired Souverain Cellars (now Château Souverain, see) in Sonoma County, which will be operated as a separate entity. And in 1988, Wine World—already a participant in Maison Deutz (see)—acquired vineyards in the central coast area. As of May 1988, to accommodate the growth of Beringer’s other label, Napa Ridge, Beringer’s parent company, Wine World, acquired the popular Colony (see) facility in Asti. In addition, the company bought Estrella River Winery (see) and changed its name to Meridian (see). Charles Ortman will be in charge of the new Meridian operation.

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Bouchaine Vineyards

NAPA COUNTY

1075 Buchli Station Road, Napa, California 94558 (707–252–9065). FOUNDED: 1980. ACREAGE: 31 acres. PRODUCTION: 20,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Major national markets. OWNER: Corporation. Eugenia Keegan, president. WINEMAKER: John Montero. Bo Martinelli, cellarmaster. OTHER LABEL: Château Bouchaine. No tours or tasting.

This acclaimed Napa winery went through major corporate changes in March 1986, which included the departure of founding partner David Pollak, and a slight name change from Château Bouchaine to simply Bouchaine Vineyards. Still involved is Gerret Copeland, a Dupont heir from Wilmington, Delaware. The initial group had bought and renovated this old winery property in the Carneros district and brought in renowned winemaker Jerry Luper (see Château Montelena and Rutherford Hill wineries). Since September 1986, the winemaker has been John Montero, formerly of Navarro Vineyards.

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Buehler Vineyards

NAPA COUNTY

820 Greenfield Road, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–2155). FOUNDED: 1978. ACREAGE: 61 acres. PRODUCTION: 25,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Major market states. OWNER: John P. Buehler, Sr.; John P. Buehler, Jr., general manager. WINEMAKER: Heidi Peterson Barrett. No tours or tasting.

John Buehler, Sr., is a former Bechtel executive who bought this beautiful 200-acre hilltop estate on the eastern side of the Napa Valley as a retirement home. After growing grapes and selling them to others, his son John Jr. built a small winery. John Jr. and his wife, Lisa, have also built a striking château-style home on the property. Winemaker Heidi Peterson is the daughter of former Taylor California Cellars and BV winemaker Dick Peterson. She is married to Bo Barrett, winemaker at Château Montelena.

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Burgess Cellars

NAPA COUNTY

P.O. Box 282, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–4766). FOUNDED: 1972. ACREAGE: 72 acres. PRODUCTION: 30,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Nationwide. OWNERS: Tom and Linda Burgess. WINEMAKER: Bill Sorenson. OTHER LABEL: Bell Canyon Cellars. Tours by appointment only. Retail sales daily 10 A.M.–4 P.M. at 1108 Deer Park Road, St. Helena.

In the early 1970s, Tom Burgess, a burly former corporate pilot, bought this old vineyard site in the hills east of Napa. The winery, since modernized, was the original location of Souverain Cellars (now Château Souverain) of Rutherford. In addition to vineyards located at the winery, a relatively new spread in Yountville is now producing estate-grown fruit.

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Cain Cellars

NAPA COUNTY

P.O. Box 509, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–1616). FOUNDED: 1981. ACREAGE: 100 acres. PRODUCTION: 25,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Nationwide. OWNERS: Jerry and Joyce Cain. WINEMAKER: Lester Hardy. Tours and tasting by appointment.

In 1979, after Jerry Cain sold his electronics engineering firm to Hewlett-Packard, he and wife, Joyce, purchased the McCormick Ranch in the Napa Valley, Joyce, a certified architectural consultant, designed their distinctive winery, and Jerry planted a full complement of Bordeaux varieties. To celebrate the Cains’ love of Bordeaux, the winery will be releasing a series of wines called Cain V, a red made from five different estate-grown Bordeaux varieties.

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Cakebread Cellars

NAPA COUNTY

P.O. Box 216, Rutherford, California 94573 (707–963–5221). FOUNDED: 1973. ACREAGE: 73 acres. PRODUCTION: 40,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Major market states. OWNERS: Jack and Dolores Cakebread. WINEMAKER: Bruce Cakebread. Tours by appointment.

Jack Cakebread’s resume is extensive and quite varied: he grew up in Contra Costa County, working both on his father’s almond ranch and in the family’s Oakland garage, which was started in 1927 and is still a Cakebread operation. Jack also had a commercial salmon fishing company and was a photographer for the National Football League. When not working on the winery, Jack, who was one of Ansel Adams first students, still practices fine art photography. In the Cakebreads’ first year, 1973, production was 157 cases. Since then, their son, Bruce, a graduate of U.C. Davis with a degree in enology in 1978, has become the winemaker. Another son, Dennis, recently left his top post with a national bank holding company to work at the winery as well. And don’t forget my wife, Dolores, Jack says. She does a little of everything.

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Calafia Cellars

NAPA COUNTY

629 Fulton Lane, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–0114). FOUNDED: 1979. ACREAGE: 2 acres. PRODUCTION: 2,500 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Major market states. OWNER: E. M. Johnson family. Randle Johnson, general manager. WINEMAKER: Randle Johnson. Tours by appointment.

Randle Johnson is the winemaker for Hess Winery (see); Calafia Cellars is his own label. Calafia was a legendary Amazon queen who—as the tale goes—lived on the West Indian island Matinino, where her great wealth was guarded by griffins. The legend was popularized in a sixteenth-century Spanish novel that was familiar to Spanish explorers, including Cortez. When Cortez first saw Baja he thought it was an island and named it Calafia’s Land or California. Calafia Cellars’ grapes are purchased mostly from Napa’s Mount Veeder district.

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California Soleil Vineyards

NAPA COUNTY

P.O. Box 3150, Yountville, California 94599 (707–224–7989). FOUNDED: 1983. ACREAGE: 23 acres. PRODUCTION: 2,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Select national markets. OWNERS: Ray and Harriet Mayeri. WINEMAKER: Arthur Finkelstein. No tours or tasting.

Ray Mayeri grew up in Northern California and has always been involved, in one way or another, with the wine business. He planted his own vineyards in 1974. California wineries have not been consistent from year to year. We wanted to establish a style and maintain consistency. Ray has been involved in marketing through most of his career and is excited about marketing wines and wine-grape preserves, California Soleil’s other business. The wines are made at Whitehall Lane Winery by Art Finkelstein, a lover of German-style Rieslings.

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Carneros Creek Winery

NAPA COUNTY

1285 Dealy Lane, Napa, California 94559 (707–253–9463). FOUNDED: 1971. ACREAGE: 20 acres. PRODUCTION: 20,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Nationwide. OWNERS: Balfour and Anita Gibson, and Francis and Kathleen Mahoney. WINEMAKER: Francis Mahoney. Tours by appointment.

When the history of Pinot Noir in California is recorded, this winery will certainly figure prominently. Francis Mahoney was one of the first winemakers to believe that great Pinots—and Chardonnays—could be made in the cool Carneros region of Napa. Francis and partner Balfour Gibson have proven their point. Carneros Creek has developed long-standing relationships with growers and recognizes their contributions with vineyard designations on the winery’s labels.

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Casa Nuestra

NAPA COUNTY

3451 Silverado Trail, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–5783). FOUNDED: 1979. ACREAGE: 14 acres. PRODUCTION: 1,500 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Mailing list. OWNERS: Eugene and Cody G. Kirkham. WINEMAKER: Allen Price. Retail sales Saturday–Sunday 10 A.M.–5 P.M. Weekdays by appointment.

Gene and Cody Kirkham are a young couple whose tiny winery specializes in Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a blend of Gamay and Zinfandel. The Spanish name means our house. The production is sold mostly by mailing list and to Bay Area restaurants. Plans are to expand volume from 1,500 to 2,500 cases.

Caymus Vineyards

NAPA COUNTY

P.O. Box 268, Rutherford, California 94573 (707–963–4204). FOUNDED: 1971. ACREAGE: 64 acres. PRODUCTION: 90,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Nationwide. OWNER: Charles Wagner, Sr. WINEMAKERS: Charles Wagner, Sr., and Chuck Wagner, Jr. OTHER LABEL: Liberty School. Tasting daily 10 A.M.–4 P.M. at 8700 Conn Creek Road. Closed noon–1 P.M.

Seventy-eight-year-old Charlie Wagner is one of the Napa Valley’s most celebrated fixtures. He is a valley native and a born farmer. (Charlie and his father actually had a small bonded winery in Napa before Prohibition.) In 1941, Charlie purchased his first vineyards and sold grapes to local wineries. Then in 1971, Charlie’s first, self-taught winemaking efforts caught the wine world’s attention with an elegant Cabernet. Later a series of wines made by Randy Dunn (see Dunn Vineyards) electrified wine lovers. Now Charlie’s son, Chuck, makes the wine while Charlie can usually be found in the vineyards or dispensing wine in the small tasting room, with his personal style of gruff humor.

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Chanter Winery

NAPA COUNTY

2411 Third Avenue, Napa, California 94558 (707–252–7362). FOUNDED: 1982. ACREAGE: 13 acres. PRODUCTION: 8,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Western states. OWNERS: Douglas and Virginia Johnson. WINEMAKER: Bob Rogers. OTHER LABEL: Las Castañas. Tours and tasting by appointment.

Doug and Virginia Johnson first employed Walter Schug (see Schug Cellars) in 1982 to help plan and start their Tulocay Valley winery. When Walter left to tend to his own winery, Doug, whose construction company helped build the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, promoted Walter’s assistant Bob Rogers. Previously, Bob had been a consultant at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and helped start Preston Vineyards.

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Chappellet Vineyard

NAPA COUNTY

1581 Sage Canyon Road, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–7136). FOUNDED: 1967. ACREAGE: 110 acres. PRODUCTION: 27,500 cases. DISTRIBUTION: 44 states and 6 foreign countries. OWNER: Donn Chappellet, owner and president. WINEMAKER: Cathy Corison. OTHER LABEL: Pritchard Hill. Retail sales at Vintners Village, 3111 North St. Helena Highway, St. Helena.

Donn Chappellet is a mountain of a man, a gentle giant who has carved a winery out of the rough terrain 1,700 feet above the floor of the Napa Valley. Back in 1965, at the age of 34, Donn left his successful food service business in Los Angeles and established his own winery. With his wife, Molly, Donn built his home and his winery on Pritchard Hill in the rough high country on the eastern side of the Napa Valley. There the Chappellets have raised their six children and produced some of America’s finest Cabernet Sauvignons. Although several winemakers have made the wines—Philip Togni, Joe Cafaro, Tony Soter, and currently, Cathy Corison—there is an unmistakable Chappellet character, which can be attributed in large part to the gravelly, well-drained hillside soil.

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Château Boswell

NAPA COUNTY

3468 Silverado Trail, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–5472). FOUNDED: 1982. ACREAGE: 1 acre. PRODUCTION: 1,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: At winery. OWNER: Richard Thornton Boswell. Sue FaGalde, general manager. WINEMAKER: Jim Thompson. André Tchelistcheff, consultant. Tasting Wednesday–Sunday 10:30 A.M.–5:30 P.M.

Dr. Richard Thornton Boswell, a retired dentist, used to commute between his home in Laguna Beach and his Napa Valley château. In 1981, Richard bought a land parcel and designed an elaborate castle winery. But Richard was so caught up in the outward appearance of his fairy-tale structure that he neglected to outfit the winery with winemaking equipment. (A slight oversight.) The wines listed here were made by Jill Davis at Buena Vista Winery. In 1988, Richard finished his new winery at the château, and Jim Thompson, winemaker at Fieldstone Winery, is the winemaker.

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Château Chèvre Winery

NAPA COUNTY

2030 Hoffman Lane, Yountville, California 94599 (707–944–2184). FOUNDED: 1979. ACREAGE: 21 acres. PRODUCTION: 4,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Major market states. OWNERS: Gerald P. Hazen and Robert Mueller. WINEMAKER: Gerald P. Hazen. Tours and tasting by appointment.

This ten-acre property used to be a goat farm—hence the name, which means goat castle. The winery, in fact, is located in a former goat barn. Retired airplane pilot Gerald Hazen planted grapes here in 1973 and contracted to sell them to Franciscan Winery. His timing did not work out; the following year Franciscan went bankrupt. Gerald’s neighbor, Bob Mueller, an enologist at Robert Mondavi Winery, helped him make some experimental wines of his own. Encouraged by the quality of his Merlot and Bob’s enthusiasm, Gerald started his own winery in 1979. The success of his Merlot prompted Gerald to plant an additional eleven acres, this time of Sauvignon Blanc.

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Château Montelena

NAPA COUNTY

1429 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, California 94515 (707–942–5105). FOUNDED: 1882. ACREAGE: 110 acres. PRODUCTION: 30,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Nationwide; West Germany and Japan. OWNER: Montelena Associates. James L. Barrett, managing partner. WINEMAKER: James P. Bo Barrett. OTHER LABEL: Silverado Cellars. Tasting daily 10 A.M.–4 P.M.

This 103-year-old winery in northern Napa County was put on the map by its startling Chardonnay victory in the much-publicized 1976 Paris Tasting. The current management took over in 1972. Their first winemaker was Mike Grgich (see Grgich Hills Cellars), who was followed by Jerry Luper (see Rutherford Hill Winery). The wine is now made by Bo Barrett, son of the managing partner, Jim Barrett. In the past decade Château Montelena has solidified its position as one of America’s premier wineries.

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Château Woltner

NAPA COUNTY

154 Main Street, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–1744). FOUNDED: 1980. ACREAGE: 55 acres. PRODUCTION: 2,150 cases. DISTRIBUTION: National and foreign markets. OWNERS: Francis and Francoise DeWavrin-Woltner. WINEMAKER: Ted Lemon. Tours and tasting by appointment only.

Francis and Francoise DeWavrin-Woltner owned Château La Mission Haut-Brion, one of the finest estates in Bordeaux. France’s changing political climate in the early 1980s compelled them to sell this property and move to the Napa Valley, which they had seen for the first time in 1974. After owning a piece of Conn Creek Winery for a while, the DeWavrin-Woltners planted their own vineyards on Howell Mountain. Ric Forman (see Forman Vineyard, Merryvale Vineyard, Charles F. Shaw Vineyard) is the Woltner’s consultant; their winemaker/vineyard manager is Ted Lemon, who studied in Dijon, France, and apprenticed at various important Burgundy estates.

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Chimney Rock

NAPA COUNTY

5320 Silverado Trail, Napa, California 94558 (707–257–2641). FOUNDED: 1986. ACREAGE: 75 acres. PRODUCTION: 15,000 cases. DISTRIBUTION: Select national markets. OWNERS: Sheldon Hack and Stella Wilson. WINEMAKER: Douglas Fletcher. Tours and tasting by appointment.

Hack Wilson exemplifies the word entrepreneur. After establishing twenty-three Pepsi Cola bottling plants and a number of breweries in Africa, he bought hotels in New York, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Mexico. Then he went into the restaurant business and, with his brother, now owns the worldwide rights to the Good Earth chain of healthfood eateries. Hack and his wife Stella bought the Chimney Rock Golf Course on the Silverado Trail and uprooted nine out of eighteen holes to make room for vineyards. They hired legendary winemaker Philip Togni (see Philip Togni Vineyard) as consultant.

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The Christian Brothers

NAPA COUNTY

P.O. Box 311, St. Helena, California 94574 (707–963–4480). FOUNDED: 1882. ACREAGE: 1,200 acres. PRODUCTION: 1 million cases. DISTRIBUTION: Worldwide. OWNER: The Christian Brothers of California. WINEMAKER: Tom Eddy. OTHER LABELS: Mont La Salle, Altar Wines. Tours and tasting daily 10:30 A.M.–4 P.M. at Greystone Cellars, 2555 Main Street, St. Helena. Gift shop.

The Christian Brothers is an order of the Catholic church dedicated to education. The Brothers operate schools all over the world, which their winemaking helps to support. Originally located in Martinez, wine production was moved to the Napa Valley in 1950 with the purchase of the historic Greystone Cellars. In 1986, headquarters moved close to their modern wine-making facility just south of St. Helena. Christian Brothers is one of the largest wineries in the Napa Valley, producing wines made from estate-grown grapes as well as grapes purchased from independent growers. Tom Eddy, who previously made wine at Château Souverain, has been director of winemaking since 1983, and Dick Maher, the man who turned Beringer Vineyards around, has come on board to raise Christian Brothers to greater heights. One of his new projects is Montage, a combination of French and American wines. In 1988, Christian Brothers acquired Quail Ridge Winery (see).

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