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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for December 18, 2000


A Merlot for Mary


Dear WineDay,
For a holiday party I need a low-cost Merlot that my guests will like. Your recommendation?

Mary Merlot

Dear Mary,
In my latest course at San Francisco State University (College of Extended Education), we examined 60 wines. The Best Buy Red was an $8 Merlot! Here it is.


The Rest of the Story

Let's look at the wine's track record.


  • Vintage 1996—100,000 cases a year
  • Vintage 1997—100,000 cases a year
  • Clearly, this Merlot SELLS!

    I checked three past successive vintages and they averaged one gold, three silver, and two bronze medals a year. Outstanding for a wine under $10.

    Stone Creek 
    Alright already. Here's our...

    Wine of the Day

    1998 Stone Creek Merlot, California, $8
    Stone Creek?—It is the name of the wine division of the Simon Levi Co., Ltd., a California corporation established in 1873. The founder's heirs operate it today.
    Winemaking—They buy small lots of wines from California vintners. They store, age, blend and bottle in their bonded winery in Sonoma County. It appears to be well done, since when I last checked their total annual production was around 250,000 cases.
    Tasting Notes—Stone Creek says they blend to make a wine for current consumption. If you drink Merlots that are under $10, this one is a must.
    Contact—Office of Marketing Director Cynthia Slayton, (707) 833-4455, FAX (707) 833-1355


    How many creeks in California are named "Stony" or "Stone"? Over FIFTY!


    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 December 2000