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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for January 31, 2000


When Nonno Ran the Show


Gastronomic developments in 1924...

  • Wheaties is introduced, and very shortly will be advertised as "the breakfast of champions."

  • Life Saver fruit drops are introduced, though it will be another six years before a machine is perfected so they have a hole in the center.

  • In Tijuana, Mexico, hotel Chef Alex Cardini creates a salad for unexpected guests from leftovers...Roumaine lettuce, dry bread, Parmesan cheese, etc... And names it after the owner of the hotel, his brother Caesar. Caesar salad is born.

  • Russia repeals its 10-year prohibition against drinking alcoholic beverages.

  • However Prohibition is still in effect in the U.S.A. as Italian-born, 30-year-old Gaspare Indelicato, (pictured), reaches California and starts planting 160 acres of wine vines south of Stockton. Seventy years later the Delicato Winery will be the ninth largest in the U.S.A., selling two million cases a year and owning the largest vineyard in the world. As the years pass and two more generations of Indelicatos take over the operation, he will become "Grandfather Nonno."

    The Rest of the Story

    Gaspare Indelicato Today's wine is a tribute to Nonno, made by the ten Indelicatos that all still live near that first vineyard-winery. Originally, it was only a vineyard selling grapes to fellow Italians in the East for legal home winemaking. Then, with Repeal in 1933, a winery was added.

    For family events, Nonno would create a blend of his favorite red wines. In remembrance of that, the current family have created a similar blend, appropriately named...

    Nonno's Traditional, 1998
    Price—Well under $10
    Comments—This is a wonderful wine for beginners who find most reds too severe to enjoy. Nonno made his blend with a touch of sugar and no harshness, which describes this one, too. My panel found it smooth and friendly...not too heavy for White Zinfandel fans seeking a tad more oomph.
    Food Affinities—Crab-cheese sandwich, cheeseburger, chicken with rich sauce, veal.
    Contact—Laurel Purcell, (510) 654-5400, FX (510) 654-5402


    I found an old review of an Indelicato wine (the name was changed to Delicato in 1974) that said it was "a good country wine." I'll add that this one is mighty good for we city slickers, too.

    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.


    This page created January 2000