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Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for January 2005



The Best Wine Buys of 2004

Last year my trusty tasters swirled, sniffed and sipped their way through many low-cost bottles and here are the 18 best buys, that is, the top Merlot bargain, the best Chardonnay value, etc.

Based on past years, we would expect about 40% of these winners to be imports, led by Australia. As for California wineries we'd expect to see names like Barefoot, Bogle, and the Trinchero-Sutter Home combo.

So here we go!


The Winning Wines

Rank   Wine
18th - Lyeth White Meritage, North Coast, 2000, $11
17th - Bogle Petite Sirah, California, 2002, $10
16th - Trinchero Pinot Noir, Napa Valley, 2003, $10
15th - Chateau Julian Pinot Grigio, Monterey, 2003, $10
14th - Quady Electra Orange Muscat, California, 2003, $11
13th - Charles Mitchell Monsieur Omo's Red Sunshine, $8
12th - Barefoot Brut Chardonnay Bubbly, $7
11th - Bogle Sauvignon Blanc, California, 2003, $8
10th - Trinchero Merlot, Central Coast, 2002, $10
9th - St. James Winery Pink Catawba, Missouri, $6
8th - Rosenblum Viogner, Lodi, 2001, $10
7th - B&G Vouvray Chenin Blanc, Loire, 2002, $9
6th - Sutter Home Chardonnay, California, 2002, $6
5th - Rudolf Mueller Kabinett Riesling, Mosel, Germany, 2002, $8
4th - Alice White Shiraz (Syrah), Australia, 2002, $8
3rd - Ironstone Obsession (Symphony), California, 2003, $7
2nd - Santa Julia Cabernet Sauvignon, Argentina, 2001, $8
1st - Quady Red Electra Muscat, California, 2003, $10


Import popularity dropped from 40 to 20%, but imports did land three of the five top spots. Some former Australian favorites vanished because their prices had moved up into the $15 range.

California leaders were about as expected. Quady also was a multiple winner, with its bargain dessert wines.


If I see any of these on sale, I'm buying for sure.

And a Parting Chuckle

Those chatty waitresses...

Retired Bechtel Vice President Joe Battin and wife Mary dropped into a new San Francisco bistro. When Joe asked for the wine list, the waitress replied, "You don't need no list. We got white, pink and red."

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 January 2005

Copyright © 2005
electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc.