by Fred McMillin
for January 28, 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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Risky Business

Prologue—"No winery has successfully produced 100% Pope Valley-grown wines." The Wine Spectator Magazine, 1988.

The Rest of The Story—This is scary. In 1982 French gastronomic entrepreneur Robert Skalli decided to invest many millions of dollars in a Napa winery and vineyard. He chose a conventional location for the winery, constructing it at Rutherford in the heart of the valley. However, he chose a most unconventional location for the vineyard. He bought the 1,500-acre Dollarhide Ranch in the remote, untested Pope Valley, northeast of St. Helena. Its 800 ft. elevtion produces hotter days and cooler nights than those at the Rutherford winery. What would that do to the grapes?

Well, the Chardonnay loved it. The warmer days intensified the pineapple and ripe pear flavors. The cooler nights do a better job of preserving the refreshing acids. You can taste the effects in the latest 1995 Dollarhide Chardonnay.. which made a glittering companion for my house-smoked salmon and sturgeon with herbed cream cheese at Wolfgang Puck's postrio in San Francisco.

1995 Chardonnay, Dollarhide Ranch, Pope Valley Saint Supery Vineyards and Winery Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA phone: 1-800-942-0809, Fax: 1-707-963-4526 $12


Whence the name of the winery? The land was purchased about 1900 by a French winemaker named Edward St. Supery. However, winemaking was doomed by the twin P's, Phyllaxera followed by Prohibition.


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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