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by Fred McMillin
Dirk Hampson, Larry Maguire
Dirk Hampson, with experience at Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and Joseph Phelps, was hired as the winemaker in 1982. He likes those old Stelling Cabernet vines. When I last checked, six of his vintages had hit 90 plus (outstanding) in the Wine Spectator.
And finally, Larry Maguire was hired the same year as Dirk to handle marketing. (Each now owns 5% of Far Niente.) Dirk's wines are so good, I think Larry's stealing (kidding!). For example, a Taiwan collector wanted 300 cases of the 1994 Cab and Larry had to limit him to 30. Luckily, the '97 is still available and it's...
1997 Far Niente Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Price—$100 (Great gift for newlyweds)
The Name: Remember, the wealthy Capt. Benson regarded his winery as a plaything. There's an Italian phrase, in dolce far niente, loosely, "it's sweet doing nothing." He had Far Niente carved into the stone structure and Gil Nickel found the words still there a century later.
A Lost Opportunity - If Capt. Benson had requested help from a relative, he might have had the best label in the Valley. His nephew was one of the best-known illustrators in America, Homer Winslow.
William Heintz, Wine Country
James Lapsley, Bottled Poetry
Jeff Morgan, Wine Spectator, 3/30/98
Diane Bulzomi, Research Assistant
| About the
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