July 24, 1988 |
THE TABLE arrangement was typical, except for the seven wineglasses surrounding each setting. The location was the dining room of the St. James Club on the Sunset Strip, the former Sunset Tower, a sparkling Art Deco monument to the late 1920s. The host welcoming the roomful of guests was Samuel Bronfman II, president of the Seagram Classics Wine Co.
April 10, 1986 |
Consumers have turned away in droves from California Pinot Noirs for so long, vintners are reluctant to make it. The grape is temperamental to the point that even fine wine makers with finer vineyards were giving up, accepting the theory that California and Pinot Noir were simply not made for each other. Much of the acreage was pulled in favor of such popular varieties as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
November 10, 1985 |
The word belvedere rings with loveliness in sound and meaning. Yet today, in its wine parlance, the Belvedere Winery of Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, is downplaying its name so that it is virtually unnoticeable. On winery labels, the emphasis is wholly upon the names of the vineyards from which the grapes for these outstanding wines have been taken. By its own definition, "Belvedere is a group of outstanding professionals dedicated to the art of fine wine making."
May 19, 1988 |
A few months ago, about two dozen California wine makers gathered for a wine tasting were asked to vote for the top 15 California wineries whose wines had achieved a level of excellence over time. Nobody mentioned Sterling Vineyards, and when the name was brought up, one wine maker sneered and said, "I'll never touch another Seagram product as long as I live." Sterling is owned by the Seagram Classics Wine Co., a division of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, a New York-based distiller.
March 24, 1994 |
Kosher wine has improved dramatically in the last decade, and now the best of it can take its place beside the best non-kosher wine. These days, makers of kosher wine insist their wines aren't just for Passover anymore. Traditionally, kosher wine has not been fine wine. Most of the Jews fleeing Eastern Europe 100 years ago came here by way of Ellis Island. And the only kosher wine made on the East Coast was a syrupy dessert wine based on Concord grapes.
September 23, 1993 |
When the idea of recognizing the Carneros region as an American Viticultural Appellation first surfaced, it didn't appear to have much going for it. There was but one winery and fewer than 1,000 acres of vines when the application was submitted in 1979. What's more, Carneros didn't follow any existing boundaries, embracing parts of the southern ends of both Napa and Sonoma counties--at the time painted as the Hatfields and McCoys of the wine world.