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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for September 13, 2000


Sept. 13 Is Grandparents' Day

The Grandparents

Jarvis Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve  
1917—The grandparents we honor today were living happily on their 4,000-acre estate near Moscow. The man of the house was a professor of criminal law and Chief Justice of the Russian Imperial Court of Appeal. Their son was 17, and was planning to be a physician.

Then, anti-Czarist zealots burned the estate to the ground. The son was swept up in fighting the communmists, machine-gunned during a snowstorm and left for dead. Our grieving Grandparents of the Day held a funeral for their missing son.

Their Son

Let's fast forward to 1942 in the Napa Valley. Beaulieu has a sensational new winemaker. His mother has passed away, but his father is there in Rutherford enjoying his final years. He is the former Chief Justice. What happened?

Well, back in Russia, André Tchelistcheff had survived that machine-gunning, and was now the phenomenal new winemaker at Beaulieu. He went on to become possibly the most competent California enologist of the 20th century. He passed away at age 92 just six years ago. (I recall discussing the effects of a Napa drought with him; he said the grapes would be fine, and it turned out he was right...hardly shocking, since it was about his 50th California vintage.)

The Grandson

Dimitri Tchelistcheff worked after school and summers at his dad's St. Helena wine lab until it was time for college...naturally it was U.C.-Davis. He graduated in 1953, and in time became a coveted consultant, chiefly in the Napa Valley. He was so effective at the new Jarvis winery, he became the fulltime winemaker in 1994, and made our...

Wine of the Day

1994 Jarvis Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley
100% Cab
100% new French oak (Nevers)
No fining or filtering
Production—600 cases
Rating—Can realign the of the two best Cabs my panel has rated this year...SUPERB...great gift!
Contact—Denise Hammerberg (800) 255-5280, X-1O5, FAX (707) 255-5282


If this Jarvis Cab was one of the two best Cabs tasted this year, what was the other one? of all things, it was a recent vintage of Beaulieu Georges De Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. That's the wine that made Dimitri's Dad famous when all three generations were together in the Napa Valley back in the 1940s.


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.


This page created September 2000