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by Fred McMillin
for April 2002

Wine

 

How good are those. . .
Bargains From South America?

Prologue

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator:
     March 2000—Be wary of those value-priced South American wines.
     March 2001—South American wines are coming of age.

The Rest of the Story

Sounds like South American bottles are getting more and more respect. How do those "value-priced" wines stack up against California's? To get an idea we paired l2 of them with California wines of the same varietal, vintage and price. Here is the winner of each match. The highest rated winner is listed last. That is, the further you read, the better the bottle.

The Winners

12th - SOUTH AMERICA $10 '00 Chardonnay, Errazuriz Casablanca Valley, Chile R. Mondavi Imports
 
11th - CALIFORNIA $6 '00 Merlot, Delicato, California
 
10th - SOUTH AMERICA $8 '00 Merlot, Caliterra,Valle Central, Chile Chadwick-R. Mondavi
9th - SOUTH AMERICA $10 '00 Fumé Blanc, Errazuriz, Casablanca Valley, Chile R. Mondavi Imports
 
8th - SOUTH AMERICA $10 '99 Cabernet Sauvignon, Aconcagua Valley, Chile R. Mondavi Imports
 
7th - SOUTH AMERICA $9 '00 Cabernet Sauvignon, Caliterra, Valle Central, Chile Chadwick-R. Mondavi
 
6th - CALIFORNIA $10 '99 Cabernet Sauvignon, Fetzer, Valley Oaks, California
 
5th - CALIFORNIA $9 '00 Merlot, Fetzer, Eagle Peak, California
 
4th - SOUTH AMERICA $8 '00 Cabernet Sauvignon, Caliterra, Valle Central, Chile R. Mondavi Imports
 
3rd - SOUTH AMERICA $12 '00 Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserva, Tarapaca, Maipo Valley, Chile (Beringer)
 
2nd - CALIFORNIA $10 '99 Merlot, Turning Leaf (Gallo), Sonoma County
 
1st - SOUTH AMERICA $14 '99 Cabernet Sauvignon, Michel Torino, Cafayate Valley, Argentina, Importer—F. Wildman

Conclusion

Wow! California won only four of the 12 matches. As James Molesworth said, South American wines are coming of age.

 
 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

 


 

 
 

This page created April 2002

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