by Fred McMillin
for May 14, 1997

The Olympic Games White, A Reprise

Prologue: It was 776 B.C. when the first Olympic Games were held in Greece. White wine was available, probably made from a grape Pliny called Trebulanum. (Today we call it Trebbiano and Ivan Tamas makes a good one in the Livermore Valley.)

Time passed, tastes change, and 2772 years later the most popular white wine grape was Chardonnay. So, the official white wine for last year's Atlanta Olympic Games was Fetzer 1995 Sundial Chardonnay.

The Rest of the Story: If you missed the Olympic Games white last year, don't despair. The new, '96 vintage is out, and it's very similar to the '95. The new release is a bit more spicy and buttery. In a word, it tastes more expensive, but is still only $7...and like last year, Sundial will give you a good run for the money.

1996 Sundial Chardonnay, Appellation—California
Fetzer Vineyards
Hopeland, CA
Contact—George Rose, (707)744-7448

Category: Recommended

Postscript: Whence the name Sundial? That's the name of a Fetzer ranch in Mendocino. However, demand for Sundial Chardonnay has outstripped the capacity of any single source, so while the name has been retained, the grapes for the '96 were 40% North Coast including Mendocino, 30% Central Coast (including Monterey), and 30% from Central California, the most productive of all California wine districts.

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.

Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf

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