April 15th, 2012

The Freemark Abbey Winery has such an austere name. It feels ancient. It conjures ideas of monks brewing beer in the Middle Ages. It makes us think of the grand simplicity of the old world. Why hadn’t I heard of monks who were making wine, I wondered. And I had never known about anything of the sort happening in California’s wine country. These are the things that I expected to be learning about when I went to look into the Freemark Abbey Winery.

Instead I discovered that when this winery was re-opened after prohibition, its owners were Charles Freeman, Markquand Foster and Abbey Ahem, who put their names together and found that it sounded good. In answer to this they say, today, that, “many consider (their) library wines a religious experience.” I love this. This is the spirit of the new world, American upstart-ism at its finest. Less than 40 years later the Freemark Abbey Winery was the only California winery selected to send both a red and a white wine to compete in the infamous Judgment of Paris tasting of 1976. In which, of course, there was not a single French victor.

My patriotism now in a rare state of arousal, I think I’ll celebrate with a glass of their famous Cabernet Sauvignon. Will you join me?

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