by Fred McMillin
for October 7, 1997

The Wine That Was Too Good

Prologue: We examined 60 wines closely in my last S.F. State course. The wines get a bit better each week, adding to the excitement. However, I made a serious mistake. One of the first wines we tasted in the very first class set the bar too high. It was such a good white, we could never top it.

The Rest of the Story: I should have known better. Our winning white was a California Reserve 1993. A non-reserve '92 had been rated by critic Jerry Mead against two more pricey French counterparts. Jerry preferred the California wine "by a mile." The 1991 vintage had merely finished first in a major international French-California shootout held in Chicago.

So, here's the wine we couldn't top:

'93 Estate Reserve Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains
David Bruce Winery
Los Gatos, CA
Tasting Notes—Big, rich, explosive.
Winemaker—Dr. David Bruce, since 1964
Owner—Dr. David Bruce, since 1964
Phone—(408) 354-4214

Postscript: Many years ago, it appears that Stanford Med School grad David Bruce knew much more about dermatology than enology. At least, I found a review of one of his early efforts that read, "Bruce's Old Dog White is dull and watery, with no fruit flavors." Well, that dog wouldn't hunt, but these Chardonnays sure will!

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. 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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