Buena Vista Winery was founded in 1857 by the colorful Hungarian immigrant Agoston Haraszthy. He was a traveler, writer, self-promoter, farmer, steamboat operator and entrepreneur. When he founded Buena Vista he took the self-proclaimed title of “The Count of Buena Vista”. Haraszthy planted vineyards in Sonoma from multitudes of cutting he brought from Europe. He hired Charles Krug to make wine for him and Buena Vista winery was born. The Count had great passion for wine and wanted to create ones that had the qualities of the great vineyards of Europe and he was the first to promote European techniques for application on California grapes. Today for all he did to promote viticulture and winemaking in the region, Agoston Haraszthy is known as “The Father of the California Wine Industry”. In 1869 Haraszthy disappeared in the jungles of Nicaragua. It is presumed that he fell prey to alligators in the river that ran through his sugar plantation, a venture into the rum industry that proved fatal.
Buena Vista Winery still exists and it is now under the French ownership of Boisset Family Estates. The winery produces a full range of varietal wines and many are note-worthy. One we particularly like is their Founder’s Red Wine also known simply as “The Count”.
The 2014 Count Founder’s Red is a field blend of Sonoma fruit that has been aged 12 months in oak. It is richly scented with blackberries and plums that are touched by a subtle spiciness. On the palate the wine is full bodied and carries a balance of fruit and tannin that is still a bit young yet approachable. Big berry characters marry to more earthy components of cedar and eucalyptus. The wine has good length and is a worthy foil to well-marbled char-grilled steaks. Suggested retail is $19.99 a bottle and the best price we could find online was $17.99 a bottle. Right now, we have a small supply of this beauty on sale for $14.99 a bottle while they last. The 2014 Buena Vista, “The Count” Founder’s Red is like drinking a little bit of California wine history and at this price it is a steal.