by Fred McMillin
for October 29, 1998


This SEH-MEE-YOHN Is On The Go

"Semillon is a very odd grape indeed. In most of the vineyards where it is grown in the world, it sits around sullenly like an overweight schoolgirl, showing awkward fatness in the wines it produces. In odd places though, as if under the spell of a fairy godmother, it can be transformed into a raving beauty."

...Jancis Robinson in Vines, Grapes & Wines

Rosenblum CellarsThe Rest of the Story

Urban winemaker Kent Rosenblum knows one vineyard where that fairy godmother has cast her spell. It's 96 years old, located just south of the town of Glen Ellen in the Sonoma Valley, owned by the Samsel family. The unusual clone, coupled with yields of under two tons per acre, produce this wonderfully intense white wine.

The Wine

1997 Semillon, Samsel Vineyard, Sonoma Valley
Rosenblum Cellars, Alameda, CA.
Composition—100% Semillon
Winemaking—Fermented and aged 8 months in French-coopered American oak.
Rating—My 17 tasters gave it a STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.
Production—Only 240 cases; order from winery.
Food Affinities—Serve as you would a lively, fowl, ham, veal.
Phone—(510) 865-7007


Has Kent Rosenblum's Cellars been successful? Production figures tell the story.

1973—Full-time veterinarian Kent Rosenblum makes his first vintage in his basement, five gallons of Riesling.
1978—Kent goes pro, setting up tanks in an old Oakland saloon.
1984—Production = 5,000 cases.
1990—10,000 cases.
1997—50,000 cases!! It sure beats 5 gallons.

Note:—For more about the winery see these WineDays:
Nov. 26,1997—"A Doggone Good Wine"
March 12,1997—"The Best Little Winery in Town."

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. 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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