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by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
Much Ado About Peju
God, in His goodness, sent the grapes
"When I fainted at lunch, I realized this was not working out," recalls Tony Peju. It was not a case of too much wine, it was too much work. He was pulling two jobs, florist by day, play director by night. with the encouragement of Herta Behensky (the future Mrs. Peju), he wound up with only one job, a winegrower on some 50 acres he found for sale in the heart of the Napa Valley at Rutherford. He had some pretty classy neighbors, like Mike Grgich and Robert Mondavi. Now, we covered the Peju (pay-zhoo) heroics in several earlier WineDays; e.g., some years ago he fled Azerbaijan with only $300 in his pocket.
Why are we writing about the winery again...
Blame the Tasters
We're writing again because my tasters keep giving the winery's wines such high marks. Examples:
Cabernet Franc - The 1996 came out of the chute with one gold and two silver medals. My tasters gave it an EXCELLENT.
Merlot— The 1997 is a dazzler. My tasters gave it a SUPERB.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Rutherford lays claim to producing some of America's best Cabs, and the Peju is one of them. Medals galore.
Chardonnay - This is a suprise. The vineyard is pretty warm for Chardonnay, EXCEPT...Tony has a cooler, tree-shaded area along the Napa River. When I last checked, the Wine Spectator's James Laube had rated it as high as the Cab Franc. So my tasters are not alone in their rating of Tony's efforts. (He is the winemaker.)
Just the Facts
Peju Province Winery
Not so long ago Wine & Spirits named Peju Province the Artisan Winery of the Year.
This page created June 2000