San Francisco has long been a destination for travelers. Some, like Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, arrive and spend a lifetime realizing their dreams, while others cross the globe for the purpose of sharing their dreams. Croatian-born Mike Ggrich made his way west in 1958 and set the wheels of his destiny in motion when he began making wine at Souverain Cellars.
Mike’s legacy is a familiar one, and now, at age 91, the man whose hands made the Chardonnay that helped put California on the map when it won the Paris Tasting in 1976, is a bona fide and well-deserved bon vivant. At a recent retrospective tasting hosted in the newly-renovated Ranch House at his Napa estate, Mike, his nephew and winemaker for Grgich Hills Ivo Jeramaz and daughter Violet seemed as much a part of the terroir as the wines themselves.
Together they presented a vertical of Grgich Hills Yountville Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 1991, 1994, 1997, 2004, 2007 and the just-released 2010 for almost 20 years of perspective on the vineyard. Grgich Hills Yountville Selection hails from a vineyard that is second only to Scarecrow, Napa’s oldest vineyard, in age. Planted in 1959 to the Inglenook clone on St. George rootstock, Jeramaz resuscitated the virused 25-acre site which has been head-trained and farmed organically since 2000.
The umami-laden 1991 was a fully-developed deep garnet with graphite, tea leaves, baking spice, tobacco and lean pomegranate. By 2003, Jeramaz saw significant changes in the vineyard, which were apparent in the rich, lush and lengthy 2004 with ripe blackberry, dark spice, vanilla and sweeter tannins. The site, which yields just 1,000 cases, has come to be something of a bon vivant itself and Jeramaz characterized 2014 as a benchmark year for the vineyard.
Read the entire column here: SF_Insider_OCT_2014