by Fred McMillin
for September 21, 1999


A Cab That's Off The Richter Scale

Wall Street Journal—The 1993 is almost indescribable. Reminds us of a very airy chocolate-covered blackberry. Intense, yet with no hard edges.

Winemaker Celia Masyczek—We believe our 1996 vintage will be our best ever.

Is Celia right? Critics comments about the '96 Cab:

The Wine Advocate (Robert Parker Jr.)—Graceful, elegant, outstanding purity. NINETY points.

Insider's Wine Line—Extremely complex...wonderful off-the-Richter-Scale release.

Rutherford, Napa Valley So, I slipped a covered bottle of the 1996 into a tasting against 59 competitors and the best of 60 was...Celia's Cab. Case closed!

Wine of the Day

1996 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa Valley
Staglin Family Vineyard, Rutherford, CA.
Oak: 40% new French, 60% older French
Composition—Just a tad of Cabernet Franc (3%), 97% Cabernet Sauvignon
The Bad News—Only 7,000 cases produced.
Food Suggestion—For eight years my wife took cooking lessons from James Beard in his N.Y.C. apartment. One of the affordable favorites was flank steak marinated in teriyaki sauce, broiled rare in 5 to 7 minutes, and carved "on a sharp diagonal into very thin slices [my job]." See James Beard's American Cookery, p. 261.
Contact—Garen Staglin, (707) 963-1749, FAX (707) 963-8784 or visit


Shari and Garen Staglin initially sold those heavenly Cabernet grapes to others. Happily, ten years ago they turned to making their own wine from them. But who would have dreamed of such great success? Here's another example. The '96 we've been raving about was one of 140 California Cabernets entered in a London blind tasting this year by Decanter magazine. And sure enough, the Staglin was one of only two wines to be awarded FIVE stars. Lay down a bottle now for a special Christmas suprise for dad (or mom)!

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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