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Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for February 17, 2000

Lockwood Could


Who could make a Sauvignon Blanc that would win Best White of the Tasting? Lockwood could...and did!

The Rest of the Story

"This 1998 is our best Sauvignon Blanc of the decade," says veteran Lockwood winemaker Steve Pessagno. and he was right. Blancs beat Chardonnays for the top spot in my tastings very seldom, say about three times a year. with some more expensive Chards in the lineup, I gave Steve's bottle little chance. But I should have paid more attention to the critics:

  • Aussie expert James Halliday—"The Lockwood Sauvignon Blancs are intense and tangy."
  • California critic James Laube: "Lockwood Blancs are among the winery's best wines.. three stars."
  • My panel: "Toasty oak," "Lemon-orange citrus." [I noticed there was no mention of grass or herbs, the traditional offenders of some Blancs.]

Steve explains that he avoids the harsher elements that come from the grape skins by harvesting in the cool of the night, from midnight to 5 AM. The grapes are then pressed at temperatures below 55 degrees F. By keeping it cool, the wines are much more elegant than if these operations were carried out in the heat of the day.

So here's our very special Blanc...

Lockwood 1998 Lockwood Sauvignon Blanc
Grape Source—San Lucas district at the southern end of Monterey County.
Composition—95% S.B., 5% Chardonnay
Oak—Lockwood uses only French.
Contact—The very savvy Paula Hamilton, who can give you excellent food advice as well. Phone (925) 370-9777, FAX (925) 370-9811


Lockwood winery's origins are most unusual. Being grape sellers, they built a little pilot plant a decade ago just to check out the fruit from their huge, 1,600-acre vineyard. Their first non-commercial vintage won nineteen awards. So they decided to build a commercial winery...and selected a winemaker who had a degree in mechanical engineering as well as enology. It was Steve Pessagno. For much more, see the Nov. 5, 1997 WineDay titled, "The Top of the Crop".

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 February 2000