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by Fred McMillin
for December 2004
For the Wine Lover On Your Gift List,
Give a Book or a Bottle
Wine Book #1
Egypt, 300 A.D. "Abbot Paphnut, who when he wished to cross a canal would hail a passing crocodile as if it were a taxi and order it to ferry him over on its back." From Monks and Wine by Desmond Seward, 1979. A charming 208 page compilation of the monks' guardianship of European winegrowing for many, many centuries. If your used bookstore folks can't locate a copy, try my book sleuth, Ms. Gail Unzelman at (707) 546-1184.
Wine Book #2
The planet's greatest history and bibliography of wine books in the English language is titled Wine into Words by James Gabler, 2nd edition, 2004. Let's look at the page devoted to "the world's most influential wine critic," Robert M. Parker, Jr. His books have been translated into at least five other languages, including Japanese. He says "the world's most underrated great wines" are those of France's Rhone Valley.
Wine Book #3
What would become the fourth largest winery in the U.S.A., Sutter Home, was "purchased for $10 in gold in 1906."
1952—Grouchy Sutter Home winemaker Uncle John Trinchero tossed his tiny six-year-old nephew, Roger Trinchero, into an empty wine tank and clicked the door shut. Could Uncle John have managed it a decade 1ater? Hardly. By then, tall, athletic Roger was at U.C.L.A. on a football scholarship! So, our third book tells both the human and the business side of the Trinchero family's incredible achievement in the highly competitive wine world. A great bedside read: Harvesting the Dream, The Rags to Riches Tale of the Sutter Home Winery by Kate Heyhoe and Stan Hock, 2004.
Or Give a Bottle
I tabulate about 12,000 ballots a year, and here are ten labels that received absolutely superlative ratings—great gifts.
Chardonnay—Gary Farrell or Byron ($30 range)
Merlot—Jarvis or Joseph Phelps ($45 range)
Cabernet Sauvignon—Clos du Val or Grgich Hills ($55 range)
Sparklers—Domaine Carneros Le Reve or Veuve Clicquot Demi-sec Champagne ($50 range)
Dessert—A Deaver Port (375 ml.) or a Quady Red Muscat ($15 range)
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. 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 2004
Copyright © 2004
electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc.