by Fred McMillin
for January 30, 1997

The Day the Best Wine Lost

Prologue: I was wrapping the 20 bottles for my latest blind tasting. #17 looked like the probable winner. So, when the votes were counted, how did it do? It finished fourth!

What happened? A review of the ballots showed that 12 of the 13 panelists scored #17 the winner. (We use a 0 to 100 scale.) However, incredibly, the other taster, a male who did not sign his ballot, rated it zero! Time to get a taste bud tuneup, fella.

The Wine: Dr. David Bruce is a modern master of the Pinot Noir grape. The Chalone vineyard, many miles southeast of the Bruce Santa Cruz Mountain vineyards, grows some of the Golden State's best Pinot. What would happen if Dr. Bruce could make a wine from tbem? Well, he did and the wine is a lulu. While hardly unbiased, David describes the wine as having "bouyant fruit and velvety texture." Twelve of my thirteen tasters couldn't agree more.

1994 Chalone Pinot Noir, Monterey County David Bruce Winery Los Gatos, CA Phone: (800) 397-9972, FAX: (408) 395-5478 $30


What kind of a connection did Dr. Bruce have that enabled him to get those prized Pinot grapes? That's easy. Twenty years ago much of the Chalone vineyard was planted with cuttings furnished by none other than David Bruce!

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 and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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