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by Fred McMillin
Prologue1964—A lecturer in Greek classics at the University of Chicago, Warren Winiarski, loaded his wife and family into an old station wagon and drove to the Napa Valley to make wine.
Nine years later, 1973, he made his Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, which would be entered against France's best at a tasting in France with French judges. Warren's wine was overmatched.
3rd—1970 Chateau Haut-Brion (France)
That was May 24, 1976. Barbara Winiarski recalls the phone started ringing...and it has never really stopped.
Clearly, the reputation of the winery's reds was established. In fact, the tasting was repeated in 1978 and the Stag's won again.
After their arrival the Winiarskis selected and had planted 33 acres of Cabernet and 5 of Merlot in what would become the Stags Leap Wine District. Magnificent for reds.
As for whites, in 1983 Warren went south. He began purchasing Chardonnay fruit from the cooler southeastern corner of the Napa Valley. The grower was Andy Beckstoffer, the largest independent vineyard owner in northern California. About 400 of his 2,000 acres are in Carneros. A while ago I asked Andy why he didn't make his own wine from his great grapes. He said he tried it for a while (Fremont Creek label) but he found that growing superior grapes was much more fun. So, here is our...
Our Wine of the Day
1998 Beckstoffer Ranch Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Chardonnay
Postscript —The Name Game
"We're in the hills that rise on the east side of Napa Valley's Silverado Trail. Here, over a century ago, legend says hunters were in hot pursuit of huge stag. The chase ended abruptly when their quarry escaped by making an eye-popping leap over a broad chasm." Looks like the hunters were overmatched!...(from the December 23, 1999 WineDay)
11/17/00—The Wizard of Mendocino
11/16/00—Terrified at the Temple
11/15/00—Will This Zin Make It?
11/14/00—A Tale of Two Coups
11/13/00—The Gorilla Cometh
11/10/00—Food and Wine by the Best
11/09/00—Washington Elected President
11/08/00—Pick of the Decade
11/03/00—Where Are the Women?
11/02/00—It's Derby Time
11/01/00—Where to Grow Great Merlot?
This page created November 2000