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by Fred McMillin
for May 2005

Wine

 

What's Red Sunshine?

Prologue

"A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine." Attributed to French gourmand Brillat-Savarin, 1755-1826

My wife: "Bring home plenty of sunshine because tonight we're having leftover meatloaf."

My budget: "Don't spend more than $15 for that bottle of red sunshine."

The Best $15 Reds

OK. Let's see which California red wines in the $13 to $15 price range have topped my recent Ft. Mason tastings in San Francisco. Zinfandels usually dominate this range. Fifteen dollar Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon have seldom scored well in the past.

 

Our Top Ten

These are the top ten, with the best listed last.

Recommended

Rank   The Wine
10th PINOT NOIR, Adelaida Cellars, Paso Robles, 2002, $15
9th MERLOT, Hahn, Monterey, 2002, $14
8th ZINFANDEL, Sobon, Rocky Top, 1999, $15
7th MERLOT, Pedroncelli, Bench Vineyards, 2001, $14
5th ZINFANDEL, Valley of the Moon, Sonoma, 2002, $15
5th SANGIOVESE, Sobon, Amador County, 2002, $15
4th SYRAH, Hahn, Central Coast, 2002, $14

Highly Recommended

3rd PINOT NOIR, Edna Valley Vineyard Winery, 2002, $15
2nd ZINFANDEL, Sunset, Suisun, 2000, $15
1st SYRAH, Steele Writer's Block, Lake County, 2002, $14
 
Conclusion

As expected, Zinfandel landed the most wines on the list. However, California Syrah and Pinot Noir have been getting nice notices in the press lately, and sure enough, they both landed two spots on the list. I'm going to take one of them home tonight for my red sunshine.

 

Epilogue

The New York Times called Brillat-Savarin the "greatest of gastronomic writers." He was born Jean-Anthelme Brillat. So why the "Savarin?" Well, he was a judge in the French legal systern. His wealthy aunt told him that if he would add her surname, Savarin, to his, he would be her sole heir. CASE CLOSED!

 
 
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 May 2005

Copyright © 2005
electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc.

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