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by Fred McMillin
Fasten Your Seatbelt!
"Scott Harvey made some fabulous Zinfandels at Amador County's Renwood Winery."
...Robert Parker, Jr., fabulous wine critic
"Dr. Richard Peterson is one of California's most talented, sought-after enologists. Among his feats was successfully filling some very large shoes when he replaced the retiring André Tchelistcheff at Beaulieu."
...From my Wine Fundamentals S.F. State course
Imagine the wines if these two combined their talents? Well, it has happened...at Folie à Deux. Let's go back two decades.
1981—"Folie à deux" is a psychiatric term referring to the sharing of a fantasy by two closely associated friends. Psychologists Larry and Evie Dizmange recognized the symptoms...in themselves. They wanted to have their own winery in the prestigious Napa Valley. And, they managed it, turning out 150 cases of Chardonnay their first year. Wine authority Robert Lawrence Balzer was impressed, saying "California Chardonnays are among the best in the world, and the new Folie à Deux is well worth seeking out."
As Folie à Deux was attracting immediate attention and raising annual production to the 10,000-case range, what were Richard and Scott doing? Well, Richard had been lured away from Beaulieu to Monterey Vineyard. There author Robert Benson found this U.C.-Berkeley Ph. D. directing crushing operations in rubber boots and overalls with a name patch reading "Dr. P." Before long he had nursed annual production up to a mere half million cases a year!
And about this same time, Scott Harvey had recognized the beautiful bond between Amador County (Sierra Foothills) and Zinfandel, turning out reds the critics labelled "monumental."
1995—By now, Richard Peterson was an independent consultant back in the Napa Valley. Folie à Deux came on the market. Richard formed an investment team and grabbed it.
1996—The very next year, Richard hired Scott for his winemaking skills, and his rare connections with some great Amador Zinfandel vineyards. I'm now looking at single-vineyard 1998 bottles with back labels reading: Scott Harvey, Winemaker, Richard G. Peterson, Enologist. The wines are headed for a couple of my next blind tastings. Results will be reported here soon.
My connections say Folie à Deux is taking off fast. This will be fun. Fasten your seatbelt!
Postscript—Sip and Tell with Zinfandel
If you want a Zinfandel tonight and can't find a Folie, here are the top ten from our recent blind tastings.
9 —Gundlach-Bundschu, Sonoma Valley, '98, $18
8 —Sobon Estate Cougar Hill Vineyard, Amador County, '98, $14
7 —Grgich Hills, Sonoma County, '97, $20
6 —Kenwood, Sonoma County, '98, $20
5 —Rosenblum, Richard Saurer Vnyd., Paso Robles, '97, $18
4 —Sobon Estate Cougar Hill Vineyard, Amador County, '94, $14
3 —Haywood, Los Chamizal Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, '97, $25
2 —Grgich Hills, 50% Napa—50% Sonoma, '98, $23
1 —Steele, DuPratt Vineyard, Mendocino, '96, $20
This page created April 2001