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by Fred McMillin
for June 2005

Wine

 

Gentlemen Prefer Blends

Is this true?

Prologue

"I thought is would be interesting to see how the traditional California style of 100-percent varietals stacked up against the more European style of blending two or more complementary varietals." —Bill Citara, San Francisco Examiner

We, too, thought it would be interesting so we set up 10 pairs of 100% versus a blend and let our all-male tasting panel determine if gentlemen prefer blends.

 

The Results

Here are the winners of each pair. The best bottle is listed last, so the further you read, the tastier the wine.The last four were all rated over ninety!

Rank   The Wine
10th 100% Chardonnay, Hahn, Monterey, 2003, $14
9th 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Julien, Monterey, 2001, $10
8th Blend Cabernet Sauvignon (with Merlot), Black Opal, Importer—Beringer Blass, Australia, 2001, $15
7th Blend Cabernet Sauvignon (with Cabernet Franc), Foppiano, Russian River Valley, 2001, $17
6th Blend Chardonnay (with Semillon), Clovely Estate, Importer—Ravenswood Group, Australia, 2001, $11
5th Blend Cabernet Sauvignon Red (with Cabernet Franc), Waterbrook, Red Mountain, Washington State, 2001, $24
4th 100% Zinfandel, Geyser Peak, Cucamonga, 1999, $23
3rd Blend Sterling SVR (5 varietals), Napa Valley, 2001, $45
2nd Blend Casalferro by Barone Ricasoli (80% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot), Importer—Wm. Grant, Italy, 2000, $44
1st 100% Petite Sirah, Peachy Canyon, Paso Robles, 2001, $22
 
Conclusion

Bill Catara found that "the blended wines were generally superior." Similarly, our gentlemen preferred blends six to four.

 

And a Parting Chuckle

At a meeting of the International Wine & Food Society in London, I attended and photographed a tasting of blended reds conducted by the renowned Harry Waugh. When asked whether he had ever mistaken a Bordeaux for a Burgundy, he replied, "Not since lunch!"

 
 
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 June 2005

Copyright © 2005
electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc.

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