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by Fred McMillin
for June 6, 2000

 

From Movies to Monterey


Prologue

A 1993 letter in my files:

Dear Fred,
Glad that our 1985 Jekel Pinot Blanc won Best White in your S.F. City College course. We agree that it's still drinking wonderfully, but where in the world did you find it? That was our last Pinot vintage, and it sold out long ago.

Best regards,
Bill Jekel


The Rest of the Story

We have many suprises aging in our cellar for future classes. More important, who is Bill Jekel?

Bill is a Californian...born there...Fine Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles...law degree from University of Southern California...and then co-owner with his identical-twin brother of a California movie company called FilmFair.


Rocks in his Head

In spite of all that success, Bacchus was beckoning. So, did he buy a vineyard in Sonoma or Napa? NO! He bought a "129-acre rockpile" in an unproven area of Monterey, Arroyo Seco (dry stream).


Bad Cab Country

Rick Boyer Arroyo Seco is marine-cooled...too cool for Cabernet Sauvignon. It wouldn't ripen fully and didn't sell well. BUT, the aptly-named Gravelstone Vineyard produced all-star white wines right away...and still is, including our...


Wine of the Day

1998 Jekel Chardonnay
Gravelstone Vineyard, Monterey County
Winemaker - U.C.-Davis All-Conference linebacker Rick Boyer, (pictured), who found time to graduate in viticulture between workouts.
Tasting Notes—Rick is very careful to not let the oak overwhelm the grape's contributions. Flavors include apple, peach, clove, vanilla.
Production—50,000 cases

The Best News
The price is only $11.


Postscript—More About the Movies

George Burns and Walter Matthau were being directed in a movie by the great comedy writer Neil Simon. George learned about Walter's sense of humor:

Walter to George—The next scene won't work. The scenery is funny and the lines are funny. The audience won't know what to laugh at. George to Walter—I bet you're right. Tell Neil. Walter to George—I don't have your clout. You tell him. George to Neil— Neil, this won't work. The audience won't know whether to laugh at the lines or the scenery. Neil to George—You're wrong. It'll be fine. What do you think, Walter? Walter—I'm with you, Neil!

I'm sure George could have used a glass of Jekel Chardonnay after that one.

Note—Our Winery of the Week on Feb. 7, 1997 was "Jekel".

 
About the Writer

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.

 
 


This page created June 2000

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