Question: After a Palo Alto cardiovascular surgeon
invents the "Fogarty catheter," what can he do
for an encore?
Answer: In the Santa Cruz Mountains, you purchase
some land near the Portola Valley skyline, start
a vineyard-winery, and garner more accolades...not
for a creative catheter, but for winning wines.
At least, that's what Dr. Thomas Fogarty did.
He planted only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. His
first vintage was the 1981. Critic Anthony Dias
Blue wrote of the Pinot, "a dazzling first effort."
He also gave the Chardonnay Three Stars, "rich,
deep, elegant." They got plenty of attention
from the winemaker, Michael Martella, because
he and his wife lived in a house built ON TOP of
Michael is still the winemaker, and during his
reign he has gotten even greater praise for his
Gewurztraminer. I recall the 1991 getting high
marks from my tasters, (see label). Aussie observer
James Halliday wrote that Michael's Gewurz "wins
sweepstakes and gold medal awards with monotonous
regularity, the lychee-accented 1991 being no exception."
Michael still makes the wines, and keeps getting
better. Veteran author Bob Thompson says the
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are "beautifully crafted";
the Gewurz is "impeccable."
The last prices I have are for the 1997s,
$12.50 for the Gewurz, $20 for the Chard and
$28 for the Pinot.
One of the reasons for the Fogarty success is use
of Scott Henry trellising. Whazzat? When Dr.
Fogarty was buying his Portola Valley land in
the 1970s, to the north (in Oregon) Scott Henry
was devising a trellising system in which half
the shoots were trained upward and half downward.
It increases leaf exposure to sunlight by about 60%
compared to more conventional trellising, and
increases grape exposure to sunlight as well. All
of which helps explain why those Chardonnay and
Pinot grapes ripen to perfection in spite of
growing only 12 miles from the cool, foggy coastline.
For more, contact the office of Marketing Director
Anne Krolczyk, (650) 851-6777, FAX (650) 851-5840.
With that superb Gewurz, the winery recommends a
salad of Asian pears, sweet onions and Stilton
cheese. For the one-sheet recipe, send your
Fax number to Anne. For more about the wine-salad-cheese
strategy, see the Dec. 9, 1999 WineDay, "The Valid Salad Problem."
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.
In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred
with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded
to American wine writers.