by Fred McMillin
for March 4, 1999


The Susan and Bill Show


White wines do not win Best of Tasting kudos. At least, I checked my panel's votes for the past six months, and no white made it, except one.

"Matanzas Creek has two winemakers, Bill Parker and Susan Reed. They have developed a very sophisticated state-of-the-art winery laboratory that would induce envy in a UC-Berkeley scientist."

...Jim Wood, S.F. Examiner

Susan Reed

A Livermore nuclear lab scientist, Susan Reed, switched very successfully to winemaking.

Bill Parker
Once upon a time, Bill Parker answered a want ad and the rest is history.

"Soon after Susan and Bill took over as co-winemakers in 1989 they had more than 350 experimental lots of wine around the place. They crushed grapes with and without the stems. They stirred the barrel lees (sediment) back up into the wine with an assortment of "paddles" to determine the most flavor-friendly type. They even explored the effects of barrel-stave thickness on the aging of wine (thicker staves slow aging).

...Fred McMillin, S.F. Independent

The Rest of the Story

All that research has paid off big. It produced the '96 Chardonnay that dazzled my panel. The '95 was just as impressive, as described in the March 18, 1998 WineDay titled " A Triple-A Chardonnay."

Wine Whiz James Laube gives the Chardonnay a very rare FIVE STARS, and sums up the matter this way. "Matanzas Creek is one of those rare wineries that keeps on improving its wines. Their Chardonnay is among the best." Here are the '96 details.

The Wine

1996 Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley
Matanzas Creek Winery
Origins—Their first Chardonnay was made 20 years ago in a converted milking shed... you've come a long way, baby!
Hands-on Owners—Sandra and Bill MacIver. See their photo in the Nov. 26, 1998 WineDay.
Food Affinities—What better authorities than the winemakers? Susan's choices are grilled swordfish or roast chicken. Bill tends toward the exotic, monkfish with papaya salsa.
Production—15,000 cases
Contact—Office of Peter Kay, National Sales Manager, (707) 528-6464.
Price—$30 range


120 years ago the first California Chardonnay vines were planted where? SONOMA COUNTY.


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.


WineDay Annex

More articles by
Fred McMillin


Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.


Africa? Eureka!

Live and Learn
with Peter Stern

Pick a Fight


Current WineDay

January WineDays
February WineDays

1998 WineDays

1997 WineDays


Copyright © 1999—the electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc. All rights reserved.