by Fred McMillin
for January 14, 1997

Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend

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1995 Proprietor's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

1992 Cabernet Sauvignon
Dry Creek Valley Michel-Schiumberger Wine Estate
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, CA

"If our 1992 Cab is less than great, it would be my fault"; winemaker Fred Payne told me that as fermentation was completed four years ago. Consequently, my Scott's panel was in a high state of readiness when I poured that '92 at our last tasting.

They were not disappointed. Fred had fermented in temperature- controlled stainless steel, aged in French-coopered French oak, and then added many months of bottle age before its 1996 release. Consequently, you have the cassis-black cherry fruit and the smoky, spicy wood, all softened with more aging than most of the competition provides. The panel's only criticism was that production was less than 7000 cases, and that's hardly Fred's fault.

Highly Recommended


The Name Game

Originally the vineyard-winery was called Domaine Michel.

It was founded in 1987 by Swiss banker Jean-Jacques Michel, who was inspired by the success of his close friend Tom Jordan with the Jordan Winery. Then, in 1993, Vice Chairman Jacques Schlumberger bought controlling interest in Domaine Michel and the name became Michel-Schlumberger Fine Wine Estate. Jacques' degree is in physics, but his heart is in the winery, which is dedicated to making small volumes of super-premium wines. Jacques' aim is the top two percent of the market. It looks like he's right on target. This is a winery to watch.

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 and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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