by Fred McMillin
for September 4, 1998


Winery of the Week

No-Flaw Pecota


The Robert Pecota Winery makes rich, meaty, well-structured wines, offering excellent value.

...The Wine Regions of America, Baxevanis

The Robert Pecota Winery north of Calistoga in the Napa Valley is a steady producer of rich, ripe Sauvignon Blanc and sturdy Cabernet Sauvignon.

...Wine Atlas of California, Thompson


1970's—Robert Pecota learns about every nook and cranny of the Napa Valley during his decade with Beringer as grape purchaser, vineyard manager, public relations pinch-hitter, etc. ...Leon Adams, James Halliday

1973—Robert and wife Susan buy a 40-acre Petite Sirah vineyard "tucked in at the foot of Mt. St. Helena...some of the Napa Valley's northernmost acreage." They start replanting with Cab and Sauvignon Blanc. ...Robert Pecota, Leon Adams

1978—The Beringer years are over and their new winery is completed.

1982—Later, critic Anthony Dias Blue will give the '82 Pecota Cabernet Sauvignon three stars, describing it as "rich, deep, lush, lovely."


1984—A banner year. Daughter Kara (today a major, very charming figure in the enterprise) graduates from high school. The first Cab from the estate "Kara's Vineyard" is vinified. And, Robert Lawrence Balzer writes in California Wines that Pecota wines are "addressed to the true connoisseur. From California to Singapore they are all collector's choices."

1998—My tasters were delighted with the 1995 Kara's Vineyard Cab and gave it a resounding EXCELLENT rating. $25.

Just the Facts

Robert Pecota Winery, Calistoga, CA.
Principal Wines—In addition to the above, see the May 11, 1998 WineDay, " Martin's Magic" about the Pecota Chenin Blanc. Also, for years the winery's dessert Muscat has won honors at my tastings, as described in the Jan. 28, 1998 WineDay, " A Muscat to Remember."
Annual Capacity—30,000 case range
Contact—Kara Pecota Dunn, (707) 942-6625


The winery address is Calistoga. Is it a word from the language of the Wappo Indians, sole inhabitants of the Napa Valley as late as 1800? NO! Because of its hot springs, the Spanish had named it "hot water", Agua Caliente. A Mormon pioneer, Sam Brannan, decided to make it a fashionable spa like Saratoga in New York State. However, in publicly announcing Saratoga of California, the words came out "Calistoga." The name stuck.

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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