by Fred McMillin
for October 14, 1998


The Renaissance Man


Renaissance was initially known for its monster reds, real tannin bombs.

Gideon Bienstock has now been head winemaker four years. The '95 North Yuba Cab is one of the first made entirely under his direction... re-styled to achieve Bordeaux elegance.

...Wine expert Rusty Eddy

The Rest of the Story

Gideon is Renaissance's man. It's no suprise that he's added a Bordeaux influence to his wines, since he spent much of the 1980's in France learning the methods of Bordeaux firsthand. After tasting some of his "new" Cabs a year ago, I wrote in WineDay these words that are just as true today.

Renaissance Vineyard

Terraced Renaissance Vineyard in Winter

"Decomposed granite subsoil 2,000 feet in the air produce less than two tons per acre of high-intensity Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Winemaker Gideon Beinstock's deft touch has created a lighter, fruitier Cab than past vintages. If you serve it with rack of lamb, I can be there by 7!"

The Wine

1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, North Yuba
Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, Oregon House, CA.
(80 miles northeast of Sacramento)
Contact—Lisa Adams, Ph.(707) 462-7196
Rating—EXCELLENT in its price range ($13).
Little wonder that Prof. John Baxevanis' newsletter called Renaissance Cabs one of the best wine values in America.


North Yuba is an official American Viticultural Area (AVA), and an unusual one; it contains only one vineyard and one winery, Renaissance. Whence the name Yuba (yoo-bah)? Today there is also a Yuba River, City and County. The river was the first to receive the name. However, when Jedediah Smith discovered the stream on March 14, 1828, he gave it the Indian name "Henneet." Later, John Sutter of Gold Rush fame re-named it after the Indian village on the river bank, called YUBU. (Source: Prof. Gudde's Cal. Etymology)

Note: For more about Renaissance, see the May 6, 1997 WineDay titled "A 365-Acre Adventure" and the Dec. 2, 1997 WineDay comparing old versus new " Renaissance Cabs."

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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