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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for June 19, 2000


Vee-ohn-yea Is On Its Way


These are the early years in California of the variety that may become the state's greatest white wine grape. The critics are aware of it and we want wine newcomers to be aware of the excitement, too. Let's see what the experts have been saying about Viognier in the Golden State.

John McClelland

Alderbrook General Manager John McClelland and today's wine.

The Rest of the Story

1994 - Prof. John Baxevanis' comments:
Because of Viognier's suprisingly high and consistent quality, feverish experimentation is underway in coastal California. It may become the finest white food wine, period!

1995 - Expert Norm Roby:
Early California efforts with Viognier have been extremely encouraging.

1999 - James Laube's California Wine, 2nd Ed.:
Viognier fans are thrilled by its prospects.
The variety's acreage has grown ten-fold since 1990.

Enter Alderbrook

Alderbrook General Manager John McClelland did not just fall off the turnip wagon last week. He knows a good varietal when he tastes it. He planted right away and harvested the first grapes in 1995. Promising. By 1997, yields were large enough to create a stir with the public. Then, in 1998 John acquired significant Alexander Valley fruit to augment his Russian River vineyard. The photo shows him studying blends from the two sources. He's very enthusiastic about the resulting "greater dimension and complexity" shown in...

Our Wine of the Day

1998 Viognier, Sonoma County, Alderbrook
Composition—100% Viognier
Winemaker - Kristi Koford. See June 22, 1999 WineDay titled, "First, Catch an Emu".
Production—1,000 cases
Contact Numbers: Ph.—(800)405-5987, FAX—(800)440-0165, Web—
Rating—My 16 tasters gave it a resounding HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and I did, too.
Price—$18 range

Postscript—About Food Affinities

If your friends are truly interested in wine, serve before the meal with mild appetizers that won't detract from the wine. As for the meal, blackened salmon from San Francisco's Elite Cafe paired well with the bold flavors of today'`s wine.

Note—If you enjoy food-wine pairing, see Alderbrook chef Jim May's combos in the August 15, 1997 WineDay titled, "The Cook at Alderbrook".

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 June 2000