by Fred McMillin
for April 29, 1999

 

That Burgess Finesse


Prologue

1884—The Napa Valley becomes the largest producer of dry wines in California, passing Sonoma.

...William Heitz, Wine Country

1884—Typical of the rise of Napa, the Rossini vineyard is planted on Howell Mountain in the Napa Valley. Eighty eight years later, former jet pilot Tom Burgess will buy the old stone and redwood winery, perched on the eastern rim of the Napa Valley, and its vineyard.

Tom Burgess 1989—Tom Burgess, (pictured) has quietly produced some of the most richly textured, durable, ageworthy Cabernets in Napa Valley.

...California's Great Cabernets, James Laube


The Rest of the Story

To check that ageability, my panel tasted the Burgess 1993 on July 12,1997 and February 20, 1999. It was very good then, and very good two years later. If you like them mellow, you should buy this one.


The Library Release Program

A lot of we city dwellers of modest means have no suitably cool, dark spot for ageing wine. Tom takes care of that problem. He ages his wines under ideal conditions for you, and sells them in his "Library Release" program. The label reads "Vintage Selection."


Todays' Wine

1993 Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Burgess Vineyards, Winery and Cellars, Napa Valley
Awards—Gold at International Wine Festival, Cincinnati, was the last one I saw.
Food Affinites—See Postscript.
Phone—(707) 963-4766, Fax—(707) 963-8774
Price—$22


Postscript—A Dish for This Cab from the Iron Duke

My wife learned this one from James Beard at his weekly cooking lessons in his NYC apartment some years ago. The Duke of Wellington liked meat. To celebrate the defeat of Napoleon, English bakers in 1815 created a meat pie in special ovens that fed hundreds of people. One of the Duke's favorites was a beef filet, sautéed rare, wrapped in puff pastry, and baked. Now we call it Beef Wellington. and why mention it today? Arthur Wellesley Wellington was born April 29, 1769. This is his birthday.

 
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.

 
 

WineDay Annex

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