by Fred McMillin
for February 22, 1999

 

Judy, Judy, Judy


Prologue

1988—Some of California 's top vintners are rushing to buy land in Carneros, confirming that the region is one of the best for grape growing in the state...producing outstanding Pinot Noir.

...Kim Marcus in The Wine Spectator


The Rest of the Story

Buena Vista beat the rush. It acquired 1,000 Carneros acres back in 1984, at the southern end of the Sonoma Valley. Critical comment on the results: "Translucent Pinot of regal character with a rich, lingering aftertaste." (Balzer)

Judy Matulich-Weitz  
Judy Matulich-Weitz became head winemaker ten years later (pictured). Her immediate reaction was that the grapes had absolutely "gorgeous flavors." My panel just tasted her '95 100% Carneros Pinot Noir and thought it was gorgeous, too.


The Wine

1995 Carneros Estate Pinot Noir
Buena Vista Winery
Winemaking—Judy used just 10 months in two-year-old French oak barrels to enrich the classic cherry-berry flavors of Carneros Pinot Noir.
Contact—Meg Scantlebury, (707) 252-7117
Rating—RECOMMENDED, particularly at that $16 price.

A final word about Judy. At U.C. -Davis she graduated with highest honors (enology). Subsequently her postgraduate training was a dream come true. She had two extended periods of working with the legendary winemaker André Tchelistcheff. I interviewed her a few years ago, and she's modest but very confident that she's mastered her craft. Watch what she does for Buena Vista.


Postscript

Are Carneros wines actually distinctive? About the time Buena Vista was establishing the largest estate vineyard(s) in the district, U.C.-Davis set up a highly-disciplined study...blind tastings twice a day for about a week. Only one region showed consistent spicy, high cherry and fresh berry intensity. It was the Carneros. Case closed.

Note: For much more about the winery and their winemaker, see the Nov. 14, 1997 WineDay titled "The Count was Paramount".

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 

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