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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for May 4, 2000


Pink Gets No Ink


Michael Bonadies, who won the James Beard Award for wine writing, has produced a fine new book titled:

    Sip By Sip
    An Insider's Guide
    To Learning All About Wine

The table of contents includes chapters on:

  • White Wine
  • Red Wine
  • Sparkling Wine
  • Dessert Wine

    As to Pink wines, nothing.

    The Rest of the Story

    As we say, pink gets no ink. That's because they lack the attributes experts use to rate white and red table wines. They do not have startling viscosity or intensity. After traveling down the throat, they do not leave a remarkable, lingering aftertaste. They are simply pleasant, both in appearance and taste. Here's a good one. It's a "saignée."


    Here's how Beringer winemaker Ed Sbragia describes it. "Sang" refers to "blood" in French. In Burgundy, juice draining off of unpressed grapes was likened to the fruit bleeding. Hence, Ed made his Rosé de Saignée from what vintners call "free-run" juice...drained off the grapes before they are pressed. Ed then gave the juice a slow, cool fermentation to dryness. He used chiefly the noble Burgundian Pinot Noir...with a little of the Rhone varietals Syrah and Grenache. Ed hasn't made a Beringer rosé for two decades. All pink wine aficionados will be glad he's back at it.

    Wine of the Day

    Rose de Saignee by Beringer 1998 Rosé de Saignée by Beringer
    Descriptors—Light strawberry-cherry + citrus
    Food Affinities—Fish, fowl and veal
    Contact—Office of Allison Lane Simpson, (707) 963-7115, FAX (707) 963-1735
    Price—$16 range

    Postscript—Beringer Beginnings

    How did Beringer originate? Well, at age 15 in Berlin, Jacob Beringer went to work at the wine firm of Tim & Kloske. His brother Frederick was in New York, so in 1868 Jacob joined him and opened a wine shop. Historian William Heintz tells us Jacob then received an invitation from Napa Valley's first commercial vintner, fellow-countryman Charles Krug, to come west and help out. Soon Jacob was Charles' winemaker.

    Meanwhile, Jacob had his eye on a piece of land near Krug's first 20 acres. It originally was part of four square leagues granted on June 23, 184l to British physician Dr. Edward Bale. Dr. Bale built both a grist mill and a saw mill. One of his employees was David Hudson.

    Then Dr. Bale skipped off to the Gold Rush and David Hudson soon followed. Dr. Bale died; David panned enough gold to pay $10,000 for 300 acres of the Bale land.

    David Hudson was no pussy cat. He was one of 33 American trappers and farmers who rode over to the village of Sonoma, arrested General Vallejo (who had arranged the land grant to Dr. Bale), and declared California a Republic independent of Mexico. The banner they designed and carried to Sonoma is today's state flag. David settled down on his new property, raised grapes and raised a family. After 24 years on the land, he sold it to one Williain Daegener for $25,000 in gold coin. Two years later Daegener sold the best 215 acres to Jacob and Frederick Beringer. The winery is still there!


  • Lorin Sorensen's Beringer
  • William Heintz's Wine Country
  • Diane Bulzomi, Research Assistant

    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 May 2000