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by Fred McMillin
for March 2003

Wine

 

Should you buy...
1998 or 2000 California Reds?

 

Prologue

Vintage 1998—"It's California's weakest vintage of the decade."
               —James Laube
               Wine Spectator

Vintage 2000—"The wines are going to be dynamite. The 2000 vintage could be one of California' s best ever."
               —Glenn Proctor
               BV Vice President

 

The Rest of the Story

But the California climate is so grape-friendly, is there really much difference between vintages? To get an idea, we selected ten 1998s and paired each with a vintage 2000, same varietal, same price. Here's the winner of each match. The best wine is listed last. That is, the further you read, the better the wine.

 

My Panel's Picks

Rank   Winning Vintage Winery, Etc.
10th - 2000 $8, Merlot, Stone Creek, California
9th - 2000 $15, Pinot Noir, Fetzer, Sonoma County
8th - 2000 $24, Pinot Noir Reserve, Frei Brothers, Russian River Valley
7th - 2000 $15, Zinfandel, Sobon, Cougar Hill, Shenandoah Valley
6th - 2000 $10, Syrah, Chateau Julien, Monterey County
5th - 2000 $17, Cabernet Sauvignon, Foppiano, Russian River Valley
4th - 2000 $27, Zinfandel, Sattui, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley
3rd - 2000 $17, Zinfandel, Geyser Peak, Sonoma County
2nd - 2000 $26, Pinot Noir, Sanford, Santa Barbara County
1st - 2000 $23, Syrah, Silkwood, California
 

Comments

* Incredible. 1998 was blanked. Tonight I'm taking home a 2000.

* Verification. I keep a permanent, hard copy of every vote...in this case, 230 of them...so any doubter of the results may check the tabulation.

 
 
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 March 2003

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