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by Fred McMillin
for October 10, 2000

 

Our Best Blanc


My panel just tasted a stunning Sauvignon Blanc, from a tiny Mendocino vineyard...and voted it their Best Blanc of the Year. Let's go back to the beginning.

1870—One hundred miles north of San Francisco in Mendocino county, a tiny settlement needs a name for the post office. Richard H. York (from Tennessee) and Elijah N. Hiatt were the two most prominent citizens. Hence, a contest was held between the two (nature of it no longer known). Richard won, so the name Yorkville was selected, and as a consolation prize, Elijah was made postmaster....(Source: Prof. E.G. Gudde)

Early 1970s—Donald and Nancy Olson are growing grapes in Yorkville and selling them to Fetzer. "Fetzer always seems to win medals with wines made from Olson grapes."...(Anthony Dias Blue, American Wine)

Ed Wallo and Daughter

Ed Wallo and Daughter.

A Purchase—A dream came true when retired Rear Admiral Edmund Konrad and his wife, Anne, purchase the Olson properties. (From an old press release in my files) My notes show Olson-Konrad whites scoring well in my tastings about a decade ago.

Another Purchase—Edward Wallo and his wife, Deborah, acquired the small vineyard previously owned by the Konrads. They expand it to 30 acres and convert to organic methods (bye-bye chemicals)....(Norm Roby's Connoisseur's California Wines).


The Outcome

On Dec. 4, 1996 Ed wrote me that the grapes from his little vineyard have been producing the "BEST Sauvignon Blanc in the State." He sells half of his Blanc to Navarro and makes his Yorkville Cellars Blanc from the remainder. with that in mind, two years ago I put a bottle of the '97 in my cool cellar, and now it is...


Our Wine of the Day

1997 Yorkville Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Randall Hill Vineyard
Mendocino County, Certified Organic
Proprietor—Ed Wallo
Vineyard Manager—Since the start, Steve Williams, who has seen about 30 Mendocino vintages.
Winemaker—Greg Graziano has been making his own Mendocino wines (Domaine St. George) for over a decade, and makes these Yorkville winners, too.
Size—Basic boutique. Better call the Wallo family for availability if your wine shop can't help.
Contact—(707) 894-9177, FAX (707) 894-2426
Rating—In the vineyard, Steve eliminates any grassy flavors, and in the winery Greg adds a touch of French oak flavors. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Best Sauvignon Blanc we've tasted so far this year.
Price—$10 range (Buy two bottles of the latest release and store one two years.)


Postscript

Ed advises that Yorkville's population has exploded from 25 to 146. Has it lost its rural character? Not to worry. "Sheep still outnumber people 10 to 1!"

 

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 October 2000

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