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by Fred McMillin
The Long Shot
Before the large tasting of wrapped bottles, I figured the chances of Bottle K winning were about one in 100. First, it was a Zinfandel and Zins win Best of Tasting about twice a year. Second, the competition included wines that were up to $19 more expensive. Last, it was made by a restaurateur whose annual production was less than 1,000 cases a year. In fact, he called his wine Blockheadia, figuring he was certainly a blockhead for getting into the wine business.
Nevertheless, Wine K won by a large margin. My tasters were anxious to unwrap the bottle.
The Rest of the Story
Micheal Ouellette left his two Boulder, Colorado restaurants in 1988 to become the Managing Partner of one of the Napa Valley's most prominent restaurants, Mustards Grill (love it!). Purchasing wine for his restaurants for two decades had taught him that the reds must have "restaurant- friendly tannins." So, in 1992 he decided to try making his own, with a ton of Zinfandel grapes purchased from Francis Ford Coppola. and here's what noted critic James Laube wrote about it. Winemaker Michael Ouellette's first vintage is "ripe, smooth and polished...well crafted with classy Zinfandel flavors. Mild tannins make it easy to enjoy!"
Since then, Michael has lined up grapes from two 100-year-old St. Helena vineyards, and they furnished the grapes for Wine K. Here it is.
1997 Blockheadia Ringnosii Zinfandel, Napa Valley
Panel Conclusion—One of the very top Zins of the last 12 months. SUPER!
Contact—Stacy Haddock, (707) 963-8593, FX (707) 967-9548
About those century-old vines, in 1888 America's foremost enologist, Prof. George Husmann wrote, "I have yet to see the red wine of any variety, which I would prefer to the best samples of Zinfandel produced in California." Looks like Michael has made another one of those Best Samples!
01/25/00—Top Bill Oakville
01/24/00—When the Gold Rolled
01/20/00—When the Bard Starred
01/19/00—Dry Sack Flashback
01/17/00—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
01/14/00—The Doctor's Encore
01/13/00—In Calaveras County
01/07/00—A New Winery for a New Millennium
01/04/00—Our Best Wine of 1999
01/03/00—Our Best Buy of 1999
This page created January 2000