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by Fred McMillin
Label Talk—Are "California" Wines Inferior?
You are looking at affordable Golden State wines. Some bottles are from a county such as Monterey. Other labels simply say "California," which means the grapes for that wine could have come from anywhere in the state. "Califorina" wines tend to be less expensive, but are they actually inferior? That is, for we huddled masses does a $15 Monterey Chardonnay actually taste better than a $13 "California" Chardonnay? To get an answer, my picky panel tasted 10 pair. The "California" squad averaged $10 a bottle, and the more prestigious county wines averaged $13. Here are...
Of the 10 pairings (tasted blind), "California" won FIVE! That is, my group of ordinary wine enthusiasts found the ordinary wine to be about as good as the pricier flight. If you'd like to check our results, here are the six highest-rated wines, with the best bottle listed last. Thus, the further you read, the better the bottle.
And the big enchilada is...
"California" wines are not inferior in this price range.
And a Final Wine Smile
Wine improves with age. The older I get, the more I like it.
This page created May 2006
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