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New Wine for an Old California Wine Family

Jeff Morgan
Posted: July 23, 1999

Steve Mirassou and his son, Steven -- fifth- and sixth-generation members of one of California's oldest wine families -- have released a new label and wine, Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 (87, $45).

Kent is the middle name of both father and son. "The Mirassou name was already taken," quipped Steve, 58, who sold his shares in San Jose-based Mirassou Vineyards to his cousins after a family dispute in 1984. The same year, he cofounded Ivan Tamas Cellars in Livermore Valley with Ivan Tamas Fuezy. The two vintners began making reasonably good table wines from purchased grapes and bulk wines.

Fuezy left the partnership in 1997. Although the Mirassous continued on with the Ivan Tamas brand, Steven Kent Winery is an attempt by the father-and-son team to reach a higher level of winemaking. The 1996 Cabernet is supple and full-bodied, with firm, ripe tannins and layers of coffee, black cherry, black currant, mint and herbs.

"I want to make wines that my children and grandchildren can be proud of -- Cabernet that has the hallmarks of great Cabernet," said the senior Mirassou.

The current vintage was made from purchased grapes grown at a small Livermore Valley vineyard. However, three years ago, the Mirassous planted a 20-acre vineyard nearby that will ultimately provide most of the Cabernet grapes for their new label.

For recent ratings of Ivan Tamas and Mirassou wines, check the Wine Search.

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