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by Fred McMillin
for September 18, 2000

 

They Aim to Please


Prologue

It was 1810, and gastronomic milestones included...

  • First British patent granted for preserving food in tin cans.
  • Pennsylvania farmer Abraham Overholt, 26, produces the first Old Overholt rye whiskey.
  • First recipe for tomato ketchup is published by American chef James Mease.
  • The Chateau Latour winemaker notes that the English don't like the taste of red wine aged in French oak!
  • Chile declares its independence from Spain 190 years ago today, Sept. 18, 1810.

    Errazuriz Estate

    The historic Errazuriz Estate.


    No Cooperation

    Originally, Spain had expected Chile to provide a good market for Spanish wines. But, it didn't work out. Instead, Chilean wines proved very popular in Spain! Finally, the King forbid their importation. He also ordered uprooting of vines in the colony. But, you can't keep a good vineyard down. Chilean wines became the best in South America.


    Chile Today

    Just as they invaded Spain two centuries ago, Chile's wines have successfully moved into the U.S.A. market in the past decade. They have become leaders in the under-$10 field, and my panel just found a good one. It's our...


    Wine of the Day

    $9 Errazuriz Cabernet Sauvignon, 1997
    Source of grapes—First we must learn to say "ah-cone-CAH-gwah," the name of a mountain (50 miles north of Santiago), a river, and one of the country's best wine districts. The Aconcagua 23,000' mountain provides the water that makes up about 85% of today's wine.
    Composition—100% Cabernet Sauvignon
    Winery Stature—"Err-RAH-zoo-reez" is one of the top half dozen wine estates of Chile,(pictured). In January of 1996 Robert Mondavi joined forces with Errazuriz to import the wines.
    Don Maximiano Errazuriz founded his winery in the Aconcagua Valley over a century ago. He brought in French vines. The first vintage was 1873. The current president, Eduardo Chadwick, is a fifth-generation direct descendant of Maximiano's.
    Food Affinity—At a luncheon I enjoyed with Eduardo, his Cabernet was served with Foie Gras Stuffed Quail!!
    Contact—Robert Mondavi International Selections, (707) 226-1395, FAX (7O7) 224-3995


    Postscript—The Talk of Paris

    As Chile was declaring its independence in 1810, Napoleon was doing more than winning wars. He divorced Josephine and married Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria.

     

    About the Writer

    Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

     
     


    This page created September 2000

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