by Fred McMillin
for June 17, 1997

Fetzer Is OAK with Me

Prologue: Founder Barney Fetzer was originally a lumberman. So, it seems most appropriate that today Fetzer is the only American winery to make its own barrels.

The Rest of the Story: Those Fetzer barrels are doing just fine, thank you. If you'd like to find out, taste the vanilla and spice in their Barrel Select Sonoma Pinot Noir. It spent 11 flavor-enhancing months in Fetzer oak. My tasters were happy with the result, and even happier with the $13 price.

1994 Barrel Select Pinot Noir, Sonoma County
Fetzer Vineyards
Redwood Valley, CA
Contact—George Rose, (707) 744-1250

Category: Recommended

Postscript: I took a bottle of the Pinot to Bull's Texas Cafe in San Francisco, to enjoy with the ribs. To make sure I understood the Lone Star lingo, General Manager Zack Porter gave me their printed pronounciation guide.

Here's a sampling:
Cyst—To help, as in "May I cyst you with your coat."
Banes—"I love pinto banes."
Barred—"Who barred my pen?"

So, after a fine meal, we left, singing, "The ahs of Texas are upon you."

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.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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