Last year in the race for our Winery of the Year, we had five finalist, including two from the Napa Valley and one from Australia. This year we have ten finalists. (To reach the finals, at least three wines had to be rated excellent by my tasters.) Their scores were averaged and my wife stacked the results sheets, with the highest scorer on the bottom. Let's see who won.
One of the most popular wineries to visit in the Napa Valley. My panel loved the Zins and Cabs of...Sattui.
Mendocino County didn't make the finals last year. However, in 2000 a Syrah and old-vine Zin whiz, Dennis Patton, brought them plenty of recognition for the winery he founded, Hidden Cellars.
This winery is small (7,000 cases annually). It specializes in Syrah, which blew the sox off of my tasters. It also is in the Napa Valley...Jade Mountain.
Hey, here's a non-Napa repeater from last year. The vineyard-designated Zinfandels made it a finalist. Rosenblum Cellars.
Another non-Napa repeater from last year, with beautiful Shiraz. It's Australia's Rosemount.
Number Five Flash! Here's the first winery to win with its Chardonnays, the Napa Valley's Joseph Phelps.
I've been waiting. Some Pinot Noir ace had to make our Top Ten. Sure enough, they don't get any better than the Pinots of Gary Farrell.
I'd say the most important wine in the New World is Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Yet, we've not mentioned it until now. But here a trio of Napa Cabs put this winery in the top 1% of the year, that is 3rd out of about 300 wineries, Peju Province.
Another repeater. Third last year. Second this year. Dazzling Chardonnay and Cabernet, fashioned by Dimitri Tchelistcheff, who in turn was fashioned (taught) by his dad, the immortal André. So here's our fourth Napa Valley gem, Jarvis. (pictured)
This winery just missed the finals last year. But you can't keep a great winemaker down (Joel Akin). His grand Cabs catapulted this winery to the top. It's another Napa jewel, Beaulieu!
To learn more about each of our Top Ten Wineries see these Year 2000 WineDay articles:
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.