by Fred McMillin
Live and Learn with Peter Stern
Some years ago one of my students brought what proved to be an outstanding white wine; the label was missing but she said the winemaker was Peter Stern. Alas, I couldn't locate him.
The Rest of the Story
Happy Day! Peter has surfaced. He was hired as a consultant on the ways of California enology when the Herzogs bought San Martin. Good idea, since he came complete with U.C.-Davis credentials plus plenty of time with such heavyweights as the wineries of Robert Mondavi and Gallo.
Because the medals rolled in, Peter became the full-time winemaker. My notes mention a National Orange Show gold going to his Sauvignon Blanc. He makes it with maximum grape flavors by pressing whole clusters, and fermenting cold in stainless steel. He doesn't mask the vigorous varietal flavors with oak.
Sauvignon Blanc, California, 1997
Why the Herzogs Came to America—The Slovakian winery did well until the Nazi troops arrived. Being Jewish, the family went into hiding while the Germans continued the operation. So, there was a huge sigh of relief when World War II ended and Eugene Herzog returned to the winery. BUT WAIT. Here come the Communists, again taking over the land. Eugene gave up and headed for America with his wife and six school-age children. For more about Eugene in the U.S.A., or about today's Sauvignon Blanc, call Eben Gillette at (415) 346-2929.
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