by Fred McMillin
for February 24, 1998

This Wine Is Not For the Birds


August 1995—In spite of the problems created by the wettest Napa weather on record, our main concern is the birds. If you don't take proper precautions here in Jamieson Canyon, you can lose your entire crop to them.

...Ken Nerlove, co-owner, vineyard manager, marketer, former banker, Elkhorn Peak Cellars.

The Rest of the Story

Happily, the birds did not get Ken's '95 Pinot Noir, but my panel did. Last year the Elkhorn won best Pinot Noir of the Year Under $30. Now they tasted the '95 and found the same smooth, black cherry flavors with a finish that's forever. With a total production of under 2,000 cases annually, Elkhorn is our Boutique of the Week, but it surely isn't our Boutique of the Weak.

The Wine

'95 Pinot Noir, 100% Fagan Creek Vineyard
in the Jamieson Canyon, Napa Valley
Winery—Elkhorn Peak Cellars, Napa, CA.
Production—525 cases
Oak—15 months in French
Phone—(707) 255-0480
Price—$26 range.


Highly-respected wine critic Jerry Mead has a word about the Jamieson Canyon in southeastern Napa Valley. "Don't forget the name 'Jamieson Canyon.' It is east of, and nearly parallel to Napa Carneros...very cool and ideal for Pinot Noir."

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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