2013: In Memoriam
With the calendar about to turn, Wine Spectator remembers the vintners, winemakers, chefs and critics who died in 2013.
Wine and food lovers alike were shocked and saddened by the passing of chef Charlie Trotter in November at age 54. From 1987 to 2012, Trotter owned and operated one of America's finest restaurants, Charlie Trotter's in Chicago. Trotter pioneered chef's tasting menus at his restaurant, where fresh, seasonal ingredients were the norm long before they became standard to fine dining, and he made fine wine a key component of the dining experience at Trotter's, earning Wine Spectator's Grand Award in 1993. Trotter spoke out for animal rights as well, taking foie gras off his menu in 2002. Attendees of Wine Spectator's annual Wine Experience will remember him fondly for his recurring role in the chefs pairing seminar.
We also said goodbye to some key figures from some of the wine world's best-known names, including Brunello legend Franco Biondi Santi, Champagne icon Henri Krug, Australian wine pioneer Peter Lehmann, Caymus matriarch Lorna Belle Glos Wagner and Chateau Montelena owner Jim Barrett. We pay homage to them and many other who will be missed in 2013. Please share your memories in the comments, or add memoriams for any other wine industry friends we weren't able to include.
A Napa wine pioneer, Jim Barrett bought the Chateau Montelena property in Calistoga in 1972, focusing on Chardonnay in the early years until his replanted Cabernet vineyard came online. It was his 1973 Chardonnay that made headlines in 1976, winning top honors at the famed Judgment of Paris Tasting. Barrett's Cabernet, which debuted in 1978, went on to become one of Napa's most highly sought wines.
Lorna Belle Glos Wagner
Drawing on her family's long history in the wine business, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner worked behind the signs as the matriarch of the Wagner family business, helping her husband, Charlie, and son Chuck at Caymus Vineyards, which she and Charlie founded in 1972.
Franco Biondi Santi
The patriarch of the Tuscan estate many credit with creating Brunello, Franco Biondi Santi was an outspoken champion of the wine. Biondi Santi took over his family's estate, Il Greppo, in 1970, and held true to his family's traditional methods, emphasizing that one of the most important characteristics of a Biondi-Santi Brunello is longevity.
The fourth generation owner and winemaker at Domaine Simon Bize in Burgundy's Savigny-lès-Beaune appellation, Patrick Bize brought innovation mixed with tradition to his family's cellars when he took over in the 1980s. Bize was remembered in Wine Spectator senior editor Bruce Sanderson's blog as well.
Former Château Mouton-Rothschild CEO Philippe Cottin was a leading figure in Bordeaux, serving as right-hand man to Baron Philippe de Rothschild for more than 30 years until retiring in 1995. Following retirement, Cottin continued to advise his children on the family's négociant business, Dubos Frères & Cie.
Diane Disney Miller
The oldest daughter of Walt Disney and passionate supporter of the arts and the wine industry, Diane Disney Miller moved to Napa in the 1980s and cofounded Silverado Vineyards. Miller was a benefactor of the San Francisco Symphony and Los Angeles Orchestra, and along with her husband, was a major contributor to Music in the Vineyards, an annual chamber music festival held in Napa.
Pioneering Alexander Valley vintner Dale Goode cofounded Murphy-Goode winery in 1985. Goode, who studied viticulture at the University of California at Davis, introduced trellising techniques in Alexander Valley that are still in practice today.
Tim Hamilton Russell
A successful advertising executive with a passion for wine, Tim Hamilton Russell purchased 400 acres in South Africa's Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in 1975 and planted the vines that would become Hamilton Russell Vineyards. Hamilton Russell has become one of South Africa's most internationally recognized names for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
A former financial advisor, Wayne Hogue purchased vineyard land in Napa's Rutherford section in 1978 and founded The Terraces winery.
Robert Hunter Jr.
Formerly a banker specializing in agricultural loans, Robert Hunter Jr. planted his first Sonoma Valley vineyard in 1973. He went on to found Robert Hunter Winery, which specializes in sparkling wines.
Former Krug Champagne director Henri Krug joined his family's revered Champagne house in 1962, where he specialized in winemaking and vineyard management, taking care to preserve the family's distinctive house style.
François Lamarche elevated the reputation of his family’s 200-year-old estate in Vosne-Romanée, greatly improving the quality of his wines and successfully petitioning for grand cru status in 1992.
The "Baron of Barossa," Peter Lehmann was a key figure in building the reputation of Australia's Barossa Valley. Lehmann opened his own winery in 1979, which became one of the country's best-known brands.
The chief winemaker at his family’s Terredora di Paolo winery in Campania, Italy, Lucio Mastroberardino was president of Unione Italiana Vini and had also recently been appointed president of the local Consorzio di Tutela dei Vini d'Irpinia.
Owner of four Bordeaux estates—Châteaus Le Gay, La Violette and Montviel in Pomerol and Château La Gravière in Lalande-de-Pomerol—as well as Clos de los Siete Bodega Monteviejo in Argentina, Catherine Péré-Vergé purchased her first vineyard in 1985.
Shirley Sarvis, who wrote about wine and food for Sunset and Gourmet magazines and the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, among others, opened the door to critical examination of why food-and-wine matches work.
Mike Robbins was a wine pioneer who arrived in Napa Valley in the 1960s, creating one of Northern California's great wine properties, the 845-acre Spring Mountain Vineyard. The extraordinary estate became popular, especially for its Victorian mansion, which was the featured set for the TV series Falcon Crest.
Dutch immigrant Theo Rosenbrand started as a cellar rat under André Tchelistcheff at Beaulieu Vineyard, eventually taking over as winemaker there in 1973. In 1979, he accepted a job as winemaker for Sterling Vineyard, and retired in 1986.
The famed Chicago chef shaped American fine dining, opening Charlie Trotter's in Chicago in 1987, aiming to prove that American cuisine—in the Midwest, no less—could compete with the best in the world. His cuisine was a distinctive, imaginative blend of French techniques, American inventiveness and international ingredients. The restaurant won a Wine Spectator Grand Award in 1993 with a cellar that roamed the whole world, putting special emphasis on Burgundy, the Rhône and California. Trotter hired and nurtured some of the best sommeliers in the industry, including Larry Stone, who went on to build a Grand Award wine program at Rubicon in San Francisco, and Joseph Spellman.
Businessman and innovator George Vare played a key role in the creation of Sonoma's Geyser Peak winery, serving as president from 1972 to 1979. Vare established Luna Vineyards with former Beringer president Mike Moone in 1996.