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by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
Eden Is Leadin'
The St. Helena Star newspaper, September, 1887:
The Rest of the Story
It's 113 years later, and Villa Mt. Eden Winemaker Mike McGrath is handling "fine crops from the fine estate." He started in 1982, and was so successful that in time demand outgrew grape supply. So, in 1992 they added to the staff a...
Grape Super Sleuth
He was Jed Steele, who knows in detail the vineyards from Mendocino in the north to Santa Barbara in the south. It turned into a terrific team. Last time I checked they were up to about 130,000 cases a year. Purchased grapes sometimes come from prestigious Carneros, regularly from the underrated Santa Maria Valley, etc. Mike turns out these three tiers of wines.
Coastal - This is the bargain, $10 tier. Gaiter and Brecher, Wall St. Journal, comment of the Cab: "Huge forward fruit. Utterly drinkable."
Grand Reserve—$20 tier. My tasters give these wines very high marks. Critic James Halliday: "The Grand Reserve Cab is outstanding with dark cherry fruit and soft tannins."
Signature Series - Quality galore. $30 plus prices. Production usually less than 1,000 cases. Expert James Laube gives the Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay his highest rating, FIVE STARS.
Importance of "Villa"
"Villa" means "town" in Spanish. As you saw, the Napa winery originally had no "Villa" in the name. However, while there were some ownership changes going on in the 1970's, south of San Francisco in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a Mount Eden Vineyards Winery was formed (1972). So, the Napa operation is VILLA Mt. Eden.
Where's California's Mt. Eden?
There isn't one! The name appeared in California about the time of the Gold Rush, when a group of farmers formed the "Mount Eden Company."
Just the Facts
Name—Villa Mt. Eden
Mike was an All-American cross-country runner and Jed was an All-Conference basketball center.
06/28/00—Hopeless in Tasmania
06/27/00—This Zin Is In
06/26/00—My Gosh, It's Grenache
06/23/00—Winegrowing in Canada?
06/22/00—The Lytton Legacy
06/21/00—Death of a Wine
06/20/00—What Tom Wrought
06/19/00—Vee-ohn-yea Is On Its Way
06/16/00—From Hardy to Taltarni
06/15/00—Sunday Is Father's Day
06/14/00—Napoleon Takes Marengo
06/13/00—Rats! Not Enough Grapes
06/12/00—Quite a...Few Good Men
06/09/00—Much Ado About Peju
06/08/00—A Fantastic Fusion
06/07/00—Sing a Song of Sirah
06/06/00—From Movies to Monterey
06/05/00—An Ovation for the Bride
06/01/00—The Father of the Brides!
This page created June 2000