by Fred McMillin
for December 15, 1998


Drake's Day,
December 15, 1577


December 15, 1577—Admiral Francis Drake leaves England aboard the Golden Hind on a three-year voyage that will earn him knighthood. Dubbed "The Dragon" by the Spanish, he looted the ports along the coasts of Chile and Peru. In the process, he captured a Spanish ship carrying 1,770 wine-skins of Chilean wine bound for Peru.

...Hugh Jobnson & World Books

The Rest of the Story

Alright, tonight my toast to the first Englishman to sail around the world will be made with a Chilean wine...but which one?

About 150 years ago, French vintner M. Bertrand brought the first Cabernet Sauvignon cuttings to the land. Prof, de Blij (U. Of Miami) tells us that the central Maule (mouw-lay) region "ranks with the best in Chile...Among the noble red grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted."

Tonight's Wine

Parliament Wine Company 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, Maule Valley, Chile
Winery—Piduco Creek
Importer—Parliament Wine Company. (We go back together quite a way. The company was founded in 1967 in New Jersey. I taught my first wine classes in 1966 in New Jersey. Their wines proved very popular with my students... good quality at outstanding prices.)
Rating—RECOMMENDED in its price range.


The Andes Not all of Chile (pictured) is suitable for fine wine production. It is 2,800 miles from the hot northern border to the frigid southern tip. The vineyards are located principally in a 600-mile-long central stretch.

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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