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Tuesday, 15 August 2017 14:21

Wine Pick of the Week

Ch Montelena Zin Picmonkey

2014 Calistoga Zinfandel


Chateau Montelena Winery


Alcohol: 14.5%

Suggested Retail: $39

Smithsonians Hist of Amer cover Picmonkey

Rutherford, CA, April 10, 2014 – The 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay crafted by Miljenko “Mike” Grgich that was the champion of the 1976 Paris Tasting is part of the exhibit selected by the Smithsonian Institute as one of “101 Objects That Made America.”  Chosen from 137 million artifacts in the Smithsonian collection, the 1973 Chardonnay is joined by other iconic American objects such as Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit.

The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects chose Julie Child’s Kitchen, which includes the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay crafted by Grgich, in a major exhibition on the revolution in American wine in the second half of the 20th Century, and the book features a photo of the winning wine. The author, Richard Kurin, is the Smithsonian Institution’s Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, selected objects from the entire collection held by the 19 museums and research centers of the Smithsonian Institution.

Looking over the list of 101 treasures from the Smithsonian’s Collection, Grgich commented: “When I was growing up in the little village of Desne in Croatia, I never would have dared to dream that the wine that I crafted would be in the same book as America’s “Declaration of Independence,” or in the same museum as Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor who is also from Croatia. When I arrived in the United States, I thought I was the luckiest man alive to have my dream come true of making wine in California, but this recognition far exceeds my American Dream.”

A year after the now-famous 1976 Paris Tasting, Mike Grgich and Austin Hills founded Grgich Hills Estate at Rutherford in the Napa Valley. Mike is now assisted at Grgich Hills by his daughter, Violet Grgich, Vice-President of Operations, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, Vice-President of Vineyards and Production.

Napa, CA – November11, 2013 – Smithsonian Magazine, the publication for the world’s largest museum and research complex, has published a list of "101 Objects that Made America" in its November 2013 issue. Included in the items selected from among more than 137 million artifacts, works of art, and specimens in the collection, was the 1973 Vintage of California Wines which won the 1976 "Judgment of Paris." This prestigious award and recognition catapulted California wines into the international spotlight. Renowned winemaker Warren Winiarski crafted one of the winning wines.

Warren and 1973 S L V  3 PicmonkeyWarren and 1973 S L V "It’s an honor and a thrill to have a wine I made included among such historic and ground-breaking artifacts," said Winiarski. "It clearly demonstrates how much of an impact California winemakers have on the world at large. Forty years ago, a small group of winemakers showed a passion to succeed and a drive for excellence which helped prove that we could make wines as good as or better than anyone else. Today, the world holds California winemakers in high esteem, a reputation that is due, in part, to the 1973 vintage and the Paris tasting."

Other items chosen from among the collections for this historic list include Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, Charles Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis, and Lewis and Clark’s compass. A complete list of the objects can be found at http://smithsonian.com/101objects.

Winiarski is founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and winemaker of the 1973 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that bested France’s wines in the historic 1976 Paris Tasting. That win not only raised awareness of the quality of wine made in California, but of American wine in general. A bottle of Winiarski’s 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Today, Winiarski is actively involved in preserving agricultural and open land in Napa Valley for future generations, something he has felt strongly about since the 1960s. Winiarski and colleagues fought to have the historic 1968 Agricultural Preserve Act passed in Napa County.

Winiarski was inducted into the California Vintners Hall of Fame at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in 2009, and continues to explore his passion for greatness in grapes and wine at his Arcadia Vineyard in Napa Valley.

Editor's note: The 1976 "Judgement of Paris” refers to a blind tasting of California wines—Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons—against similar French wines (white Burgundies and red Bordeaux). French experts picked Winiarski's 1973 SLV Cabernet over all the other Cabernet-based wines, both French and Californian. A 1973 Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena, made by Mike Grgich, bested all the other California Chardonnays, as well as the elite white Burgundies made from that same grape variety. Time magazine reporter George Taber attended the tasting and told the world, much to the chagrin of the French. Thirty years later Taber's book Judgement of Paris was published by Scribner.

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