Back in 1988, a small group of Northern California vintners—led by Mitch Cosentino from Cosentino Winery, Julie Garvey from Flora Springs, and Agustin Huneeus from Franciscan and later Quintessa—introduced a brand-new term into the American wine-drinking vernacular. Their simple but ambitious dream: to establish an entirely new type of wine or, rather, to create a new name for wines they were already making—specifically, blends modeled on classic European wines. Their particular model was bordeaux, though some of their contemporaries later worked to emulate other wines—southern Rhone blends, for example. Exasperated by the prevailing system for naming new-world wines, which required labeling the bottle with the name of the principal grape the wine contained—cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, chardonnay, and so on—Cosentino and his compatriots wanted to emblazon their bottles, which didn't contain wines made from a single, dominant grape variety, with a word that would instill cachet. Some of them had already given their proprietary blends catchy monikers—"The Poet", in the case of Cosentino's blend; "Trilogy", in the case of Garvey's; and "Magnificat", from Huneeus—but these winemakers desired something more. They wanted consumers to think of their wines as part of a winemaking legacy, like that of Bordeaux. So, they gave us meritage (the accent is on the last syllable).