by Fred McMillin
for December 31, 1999


Winery of the Week

Our Winery of the YEAR!

Vines of our Winery of the Year

Vines of our Winery of the Year.

Leaving 1999, we looked back at the 300 or so wineries represented in our tastings during the year and found the one whose wines were rated highest by my panel. First, the runners-up.

5th—Rosenblum Cellars, Alameda, CA.
No other winery made Zinfandels that matched the vineyard-designated classics of Kent Rosenblum.

4th - Grgich Hills Cellar, Rutherford, Napa Valley.
Chardonnay, Fumé (foo-may) and Cabernet...Mike Grgich does it perfection.

3rd—Jarvis, Napa Valley.
I have known a few people so talented, they excel in any field they enter...such as Dr. Max Lake in Australia (hand surgeon, outstanding author, Australian Cabernet-French oak pioneer). William Jarvis is another. Fourteen years in seven universities included graduate studies in Greek philosophy, music theory, particle physics and electronics. Little wonder that after humongous success with his Wiltron electronics firm, his winery is already one of our top five. The reds are dazzling.

2nd - Rosemount Estate, Australia.
Perhaps the source of the world's top Shiraz (Syrah). The Balmoral makes a great gift ($40).

Our Winery of the Year

1st - Guenoc Winery, Guenoc Valley, Lake County.
A 100 years ago, the celebrated British actress Lillie Langtry came to the Guenoc Valley to make the greatest claret in the country. The current proprietors, Orville Magoon and wife Karen, have finished the job. Their higher-priced reds and Chardonnay are world-class.


If you wish to learn more about any of our top five, here are some WineDay articles about them.

  • Rosenblum—"The Zin Man", June 11, 1999
  • Grgich—"My Grgich Problem", April 22, 1999
  • Jarvis—"A 90-Rated Winery", Nov. 19, 1999
  • Rosemount—"A Sensational Syrah", Sept. 7, 1999
  • Guenoc—"Beautiful Lady, Beautiful Wine", Oct. 13, 1999

    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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