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Copyright © 2018
by Fred McMillin
for June 2005
Gentlemen Prefer Blends
Is this true?
"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.
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!
||100% Chardonnay, Hahn, Monterey, 2003, $14
||100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Julien, Monterey, 2001, $10
||Blend Cabernet Sauvignon (with Merlot), Black Opal, Importer—Beringer Blass, Australia, 2001, $15
||Blend Cabernet Sauvignon (with Cabernet Franc),
Foppiano, Russian River Valley, 2001, $17
||Blend Chardonnay (with Semillon), Clovely Estate,
Importer—Ravenswood Group, Australia, 2001, $11
||Blend Cabernet Sauvignon Red (with Cabernet Franc), Waterbrook,
Red Mountain, Washington State, 2001, $24
||100% Zinfandel, Geyser Peak, Cucamonga, 1999, $23
||Blend Sterling SVR (5 varietals), Napa Valley, 2001, $45
||Blend Casalferro by Barone Ricasoli (80% Sangiovese,
20% Merlot), Importer—Wm. Grant, Italy, 2000, $44
||100% Petite Sirah, Peachy Canyon, Paso Robles, 2001, $22
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.