by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
A Winery to Remember
Bottles from 35 wineries were rated in my last course at the Fort Mason Campus of S.F. City College. One estate won Best White, Best Red, and Third Best Red. The Best Red also was voted Best of Course.
The striking victory was scored by the Australian company awarded five stars in the 1998 Australian and New Zealand Wine Companion (J. Halliday). It's the highest possible rating. "All the wines have real character and individuality; some are startingly good." Clearly, we had three of the "startling good" bottles in our course. They were produced by Rosemount Estates, and here they are.
Best White—Rosemount '95 Roxburgh Chardonnay, Hunter Valley, $35. The vines are 27 years old, the Roxburgh vineyard is the Hunter Valley's most famous, and a prior vintage won honors at Chicago's World Wine Championships. Great intensity with restrained oak.
Third Best Red - Rosemount Balmoral Syrah, 1995, McLaren Vale, South Australia. The vines range from 50 to 150 years of age. Halliday agrees with my class, calling it "outstanding... near perfect." $40.
Best of the Course—Rosemount '95 "Traditional" (red), McLaren Vale, South Australia...70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot. My CLASS felt this one was "near perfect," too. Be sure to try it at a bargain $18
The president of the U.S. Division of Rosemount Estate is not an Aussie. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at S.F. State University (English lit.). While a student, he started working part-time in a wine shop. Bitten by Bacchus, by 1980 he was a vice president of the huge Sebastiani Vineyards. Next the native Californian established a consulting agency, made extensive Australian contacts and voila! He became head of Rosemount Estates, U.S.A. To reach his office, phone (707) 996-4505. Ask for President John Gay.
One hunderd forty years ago a young German settler named Carl Brecht planted a vineyard in the Hunter Valley, and won medals in the 1870's. His winery was called Rosemount. Current owner Bob Oatley discovered its ruins when he founded the modern version in 1969.
Note—For much more about the winery, see the March 6,1998 WineDay titled " Red Hot Rosemount".
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