by Fred McMillin
for February 21, 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
Winery of the Week
The Steele AppealPrologue: "The initial production of Steele wines was sold before it was even made.. .as one would expect, the Chardonnays were immaculately crafted, with lush fruit, sophisticated oak and a creamy, lingering finish." From James Halliday's "Wine Atlas of California.
The Rest of The Story: Jedediah Tecumseh Steele has a very unusual name and a very unusual way with Chardonnay. He LOVES that grape. Hear him talk about his second vintage. "The Chardonnay rests so peacefully in the barrel, a tranquil liquid luxuriating in its delicious, intoxicating maturity.. a barrell-based beauty sleep." He is equally lyrical about the vineyards that furnish those grapes and the dramatic differences in the wines they produce.
Angelo Sangiacomo's highly-acclaimed family vineyard in the Carneros district south of the town of Sonoma—"Carrying the mark of its cool growing region, the strong citrus notes of this wine... are reminiscent of a lemon meringue pie, just as it comes out of the oven... due also to the vanilla and caramel from the toasted French oak barrels."
Du Pratt Vineyard, probably the most famous in Mendocino's Anderson Valley, first planted in 1916—This high-elevation site yields Chardonnays with "a hard, stimulating, mineral edge often found in authentic Chablis."
Just the Facts
Postscript: The Middle Name, Tecumseh—Tecumseh was a courageous Shawnee Indian chief who lived two centuries ago. Jed's father was a historian.
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