by Fred McMillin
for November 19, 1999


Winery of the Week

A 90-Rated Winery




  • My panel just gave the '95 Cab a 90.
  • My panel just gave the '97 Merlot a 91.
  • A few months ago, the '96 Red Blend got a 95.
  • A few months ago the '96 Cab Franc got a 90.

    Clearly, my panel is impressed.

    Let's see what another panel thinks, the Beverage Testing Institute of Chicago, which like my tasters, is totally independent and objective.

    Their results...

  • They gave that '96 Franc a 93, compared to our 90.
  • They gave that '96 Red Blend a 94, versus our 95.
  • The '94 Cabernet Sauvignon drew a 98!
  • The '93 Reserve Cab hit 97,

    Wow. Who makes such wines? Well, before heading to U.C.-Davis, he was already learning from his father. Here's what wine historian Charles Sullivan had to say about dad: "No person has played a greater role in the rebirth of California's premium wine industry after Repeal...than this tough-minded, inspiring, witty and principled perfectionist." You may now have guessed it. Dad was the legendary Andre Tchelistchef (1904-1994). The man who made all those 90-rated reds we've been raving about is his son, Dimitri (pictured),. The winery is Jarvis in the Napa Valley. Proprietor William Jarvis has this to say about his Master Winemaker...

    Dimitri Tchelistchef "Dimitri has the uncanny ability to taste a new wine and accurately predict what it will be like in two years when it is due for release, as well as what it will be like in the next 10 to 15 years. Only intellect and experience can give a winemaker this ability."

    So, you can see why we give this entire winery a 90 rating, too.

    Winery of the Week

    Jarvis Winery
    2970 Monticello Road
    Napa, CA 94558
    Phone (800) 255-5280, FAX (707) 255-5282
    Price Range—Roughly, $35 to $80

    Postscript—Like Father Like Son

    Dimitri's first wine education occurred in high school, when he worked after school and summers in his father's WINE LAB. A decade earlier his dad was brought to California after the owner of the BV Winery found him working in a French WINE LAB.

    Note: Dimitri does not live by red wines alone. For example, see the June 4, 1997 WineDay about Jarvis winning our annual "Chardonnay Shootout." that year.

    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

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    Fred McMillin


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