On Wine



Hit The Road, Cab

by Fred McMillin

The title is from Steve Heimoff's article in the Wine Enthusiast. He found that the ever-improving California-Oregon Pinot Noirs had become more desirable than the leader of American reds, Cabernet Sauvignon. So, we decided to pair each of 12 West Coast Pinots with a Cab counterpart. My picky panel tasted them blind with these results. The highest-rated bottle is listed last, so the further you read, the better the wine.

The Wines

Rank - Red - Wine
12th - Cab - Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003, $21
11th - Cab - Harvest Moon Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003, $28
10th - Cab - Smith & Hook Winery Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005, $25
9th - Cab - Lake Sonoma Alexander Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002, $22
8th - Cab - VINI Bulgarian Master Vintner Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004, $8
7th - Cab - Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002, $21
6th - Pinot - King Estate Signature Oregon Pinot Noir, 2004, $26
5th - Cab - Flora Springs Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003, $30
4th - Cab - Michel-Schlumberger Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001, $32
3rd - Pinot - Gary Farrell Hillside Pinot Noir, 2003, $60
2nd - Pinot - Steele Wines Bien Nacido Pinot Noir, 2003, $55
1st - Pinot - Gary Farrell Rochioli-AIlen Pinot Noir, 2003, $65


Score: Cabs—8 winners, Pinots—4 winners. So my panel doesn't agree with Steve.

BUT WAIT! Four of the top six wines were Pinots, including the best three. It looks like my panel also is about ready to tell Cab to "hit the road."


And a Final Wine Smile

British vs. American Wine Experts. Americans view British experts as "tweedy fusspots...more interested in a wine's pedigree than its quality." The British wine writers view the Americans as "point-chasing, fruit-seeking simpletons with more money than taste."

     —Source: New York Times Book Review
      M. Steinberger's review of A Hedonist in the Cellar


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.


Copyright © 2007, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.


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This page created February 2007

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