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by Fred McMillin
for September 1, 2000

 

Winery of the Week  
 
September Song

September Song  

Prologue

My favorite quote for this month: 
"Wine is the divine juice of September." 
Voltaire, 1694-1778


The Rest of the Story

Professor John Baxevanis, author of The Wine Regions of America, says the producer of today's divine juice is both "innovative and underrated." Before we discuss the "innovation" I just brought up from my cellar, let's learn about the winery.


The Pomo Indians

The Pomo American Indians occupied todays part of Sonoma county for thousands of years before western man arrived. Each individual felt a deep relationship to the environment, the water, the land, the plants. When the Russian River Vineyards vines were put in the ground in 1963, rare Pomo artifacts were discovered. Author Pat Latimer tells us it proved to be the site of an ancient Pomo village, located south of modern Forestville.


New Owners in 1978

Topolos at Russian River Vineyards

"The producer of today's wine is part of the festival."

Michael and Jerry Topolos must have respected the land just as much when they bought the 25 acres of vineyards and re-bonded the winery. Michael, who found time to teach wine courses at Sonoma State University, became known for his socko Zinfandels. But my records show that as early as 1982 one of his innovations included dessert Muscats. and a more recent one is our hand-crafted...


Wine of the Day

The Wine—1994 Muscat L'Orange Dessert Wine
The Winery—Topolos at Russian River Vineyards (30 letters!)
Forestville, Sonoma County, CA
Bottled—Feb. 22, 1995
Production—832 cases
Service—With vanilla ice cream and crisp sugar cookies or orange pound cake
What Muscats Are Available?—Phone (800) 867-6567, FAX (707) 887-1399.
If you prefer a table wine, try one of those Topolos-cult Zinfandel powerhouses.
Rating of the Muscat—HIGHLY RECOMMENDED at the end of the meal.
Price of the Muscat—About five years ago I paid $7.75 (375 ml.).


Postscript

Who made the first wine around Forestville? Louis Mathe, born in the Cognac district of France, made 90,000 gallons of wine (probably Zinfandel) in 1895.

Credits
Peninon, Unzelman and Anderson's 1998 history of Sonoma viticulture, Nomis Press, Santa Rosa, CA.

 

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

 
 

This page created September 2000

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