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by Fred McMillin
for May 3, 2000

 

Next Saturday is...
Nurse's Day


Prologue

Dr. David Bruce  
Possibly the happiest nurses in the world were those in the picturesque habits at Hospice de Beaune, supported by local, Premier Cru vineyards of Burgundy.


The Rest of the Story

Let's see how this came about.

l440—Philippe the Good, Duke of Burgundy, appointed Nicolas Rollin as his tax collector. By fair means or foul, he accumulated considerable wealth in that position.

Now the village of Beaune was in big economic trouble. Only two dozen families could support themselves. Consequently, Nicolas and his wife, Guigone, founded a hospital for the needy in 1443. Beds were arranged so each patient had a view of the altar at the end of the large room. The continuing gifts of vineyards fueled the growth of the Hospice to its lofty position today...owner of about 150 acres producing over 35 different wines.

What grape was used to make their red wine? Philippe had banned the Gamay, so their wines came from the Pinot Noir. Hence, next Saturday our toast to nurses will be made with a Pinot, produced by a vintner with a medical connection, Dr. David Bruce, (pictured).


The Prince of Pinot

The former dermatologist (Stanford Med School) has outdistanced all his California Pinot competition in our tastings over the past half dozen years. Furthermore, critic James Laube says that today he's making the best Pinots of his nearly-40-year career. When you can find one for $16, grab it.


Wine of the Day

$16
David Bruce Central Coast Pinot Noir, 1997
Impressions: Deep cherry, restrained oak, good value Food Affinities—Dr. Bruce recommends a broad spectrum with salmon on one end and lamb on the other. We enjoyed it at 60 degrees with mildly spicy Thai dishes.
Grape Sources—We have a 1997 note from Dr. David indicating his excitement at acquiring a new source of Central Coast Pinot Noir...from the Scheid River View Ranch. Usually the winery purchases a trial 12 tons the first year to make sure the grapes are as good as they seem. However, River View Ranch looked so good, they purchased fifty tons, and they're in today's selection.
Contact—(408) 354-4214, FX (408) 395-5478.


Postscript

I mounted a pony, put a peasant on another, and rambled through Burgundy's most celebrated vineyards, including Beaune, Who was it? The future president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, March, 1787.

Research Credit—Diane Bulzomi, who I know in the hospital where she's a surgery assistant, has been nominated at least twice for Nurse of the Year.

 
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.

 
 


This page created May 2000

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