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Miljenko __Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated __Paris Tasting” of 1976. Then, in a now-historic blind tasting, a panel of eminent French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped an array of the fabled white Burgundies of France and a small sampling of upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. When their scores were tallied, the French judges were shocked: they had chosen the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, crafted by Mike Grgich, as the finest white wine in the world. Mon Dieu! The results stunned the international wine establishment and immediately earned Mike a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.
The Paris Tasting served notice to the world that the California wine industry was on the move, and it laid the groundwork for the creation of Grgich Hills Cellar. After his victory in Paris, Mike sat down with Austin Hills and his sister, Mary Lee Strebl, from the Hills Bros. Coffee family, and on Independence Day 1977, they gave birth to Grgich Hills. It was an ideal partnership. Austin owned premium vineyards in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley, and with his extensive background in business, he put the winery on its financial feet. Mike, with his fierce commitment to making wines of the highest quality, began producing what immediately became our signature wine: the exquisite, richly complex Chardonnays that win awards and delight wine lovers across America and throughout the world.
Today, we remain committed to making distinctive wines with quality, consistency and longevity. We are proud that world leaders such as Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and French President Fran_ois Mitterrand chose our wines to serve at state dinners, but we are just as proud that every single day discriminating wine drinkers count on Grgich Hills to turn their own dinners into special occasions.
We treat each of our six different wines as a special child, carefully nurturing their development and character. Our pride and joy is our Chardonnay, an elegant example of the varietal displaying rich flavors and exquisite balance. As a complement to the Chardonnay, we also produce a refreshingly crisp Fum Blanc, a rich and spicy Zinfandel, a Cabernet Sauvignon with tremendous depth and complexity, a lush and richly fragrant Merlot, and a luscious dessert wine named __Violetta,” in honor of Mike’s daughter, Violet.
Now 92 years old and still sporting his signature blue beret, Mike was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in 2008 in honor of his many contributions to the wine industry. While many other Napa wineries pursue strategies of expansion, Mike, along with his daughter, Violet, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, prefer to stay small. Their aim, year after year, is to improve the quality of their vineyards and their wines, relying on Mike’s unique artistic and intuitive touch. This strategy continues to pay significant dividends.
Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm our five estate vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, rely on wild yeast fermentation and use our passion and the art of winemaking to handcraft food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines. In keeping with our goal of sustainability, the winery switched to solar power in 2006. As Mike often says, __From our vineyard to your glass, naturally!”
Beginning with the 2003 vintage, all Grgich Hills wines were labeled __Estate Grown.” This guarantees a consistently superior level of quality and it means that Grgich Hills will always remain a shining symbol of prestige and good taste. In recognition of that important milestone, the winery changed its name in 2007 to Grgich Hills Estate.
Grgich Hills Estate’s Family of Wines
Grgich Hills Estate is an iconic Napa Valley winery, consistently producing world-class wines. Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm five estate vineyards without artificial pesticides or herbicides, rely on wild yeast fermentation and use our passion and art to handcraft food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines. Our portfolio of wines consist of three distinct tiers.
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Napa Valley Selections: Our most popular and accessible wines, these complex blends focus on Napa Valley’s best varieties from our five estate vineyards. These wines demonstrate Grgich Hill’s signature style: food-friendly, balanced and elegant.
Chardonnay, Napa Valley: From cool American Canyon and Carneros vineyards in the southern tip of Napa Valley, this classically styled wine that doesn’t undergo malolactic fermentation, preserving its natural acidity. Fermented and aged 10 months in French oak. Purchase
Fume Blanc, Napa Valley: From cool American Canyon and Carneros vineyards in the southern tip of Napa Valley. About 80% of our Sauvignon Blanc is planted to the Musqu clone, which provides elegant floral aromatics. We ferment 80% of the grapes in foudres, large French oak casks, with the remainder in previously-used small French oak barrels. Purchase
Zinfandel, Napa Valley: Our 34-acre vineyard in Calistoga is the warmest of our five vineyards and the sole source of our Zinfandel. Co-fermented with a touch of Petite Sirah to add complexity and structure and then aged in large French oak casks so the flavors are well integrated but not overwhelmed by oak. Purchase
Merlot, Napa Valley: This cool climate Merlot comes from our vineyards in southern Napa Valley grown within sight of the San Francisco Bay. We blend in a small amount of Merlot from our warmer upper Napa Valley vineyards to create a complex and balanced wine. Purchase
Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley: Our Yountville Vineyard forms the heart of our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, with our Rutherford and Calistoga vineyards rounding out the blend. To boost complexity, we rely on a traditional Bordeaux blend of predominately Cabernet Sauvignon, with a dash of Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Purchase
Miljenko’s Selections: Reserved primarily for our wine club members and winery visitors, these wines showcase the unique varietal characteristics from single vineyard blocks personally selected by Miljenko __Mike” Grgich. Clones, rootstock and farming are matched with the distinctive growing conditions of each site.
Miljenko’s Selection Chardonnay: This wine is crisp and aromatic Chardonnay with bright acidity created by selected clones in our cool southern estate vineyards and preserved by using low temperature fermentation with indigenous yeast and aged in large French foudres barrels. Purchase
Miljenko’s Selection Napa Valley Essence: Only the best blocks that express the true nature_the essence_of our Sauvignon Blanc are used for this limited production wine. The grapes come primarily from our chilly American Canyon Vineyard, supplemented by grapes from our Carneros Vineyard. The majority of the grapes are fermented in neutral small French oak barrels, with the rest in foudres, then aged six months on its lees in neutral barrels. These techniques add body and texture while showcasing the wonderful fruit. Purchase
Miljenko’s Vineyard Petite Sirah: Mike Grgich’s home overlooks this vineyard in Calistoga, the warmest of our five vineyards. The site is blessed with morning sun and well-drained gravelly loam soils that deeply concentrate the character of this varietal. In the cellar, we age the wine for almost three years in a mix of oak barrels. Purchase
Miljenko’s Selection Petite Verdot: Petite Verdot is famous for enhancing traditional Bordeaux blends, but it’s earned a starring role in our Yountville Vineyard. Here, perfect conditions of well-drained soil and long days of sun allow this highly concentrated grape to display its abundant color, structure and flavor. The wine is aged 20 months, half in new French oak barrels and the other half in previously used barrels. Available Winter 2015
Rutherford Selection Cabernet Sauvignon: One of the world’s preeminent subappellations for Cabernet Sauvignon, the __Rutherford Bench” is home to our winery and its loamy soils and consistent sunshine create an elegant wine with red fruit flavors and smooth tannins. As with our Petite Verdot, this Cabernet is aged 20 months but with only 30 percent in new French oak barrels to showcase the rich fruit flavors. Available Winter 2015
Legacy Selections: Available primarily at our tasting room, these are our most exclusive and sought-after wines which focus on the varietals most associated with Mike Grgich’s legendary accomplishments, crafted from the oldest vines in our estate vineyards.
Paris Tasting __Commemorative” Chardonnay: Showcases our oldest Chardonnay vines, which are Old Wente clone planted more than 20 years ago obtained from famed grower Larry Hyde and planted in our Carneros Vineyard. Naturally rich flavors balanced by good acidity are enhanced by aging for one year in French oak, then six months in neutral 1,200 gallon oak foudres. Purchase
Yountville Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine is made from some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the Napa Valley, planted in 1959 to the Inglenook clone (also known as Niebaum Cabernet Sauvignon #29) on St. George rootstock in Yountville. Closer to San Pablo Bay than warmer Rutherford, this relatively cool region allows the grapes plenty of time to develop unique flavor characteristics. This complex wine with moderate tannins is aged in French oak for 21 months then moved to large oak casks for six additional months. Purchase
Miljenko’s Old Vine Zinfandel: Extremely limited production from a few rows of ancient Zinfandel vines that were planted more than 100 years ago on St. George rootstock. Today, Mike Grgich’s home overlooks this vineyard in Calistoga. Its northeast exposure catches plenty of morning sun but is shaded from the hot late afternoon sun and combined with the vineyard’s gravelly loam soils creates the perfect spot to grow this varietal. Purchase
Violetta Late Harvest: Named after Mike’s daughter, Violet, this uniquely delicious late-harvest wine is grown in our chilly American Canyon Vineyard. The grapes are transformed by Botrytis cinerea, a special fungus that permeates the grape skin, concentrating the sugar and flavors. The delightful result is a wine has remarkable depth of flavors that linger in the mouth. Purchase
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