by Fred McMillin
"California's 2003 vintage overall is one of the weakest in the past decade and a half." —Wine Spectator magazine
Not all California vintages are good. For example, in our tastings at Fort Mason, two out of three times the 1998 vintage wines scored lower than their 1997 and 1999 counterparts.
So when various press reports trashed the 2003, we set up a tasting versus 2004 & 2002 bottles to see if we had another vintage from hades. Here are the winners of each match, listed in order of increasing price.
Fred's Tasting Panel Ranks California Vintages|
|10th||'03 Pinot Noir||Coastal Ridge, California, $7|
|9th||'02 Syrah||Gallo of Sonoma, Sonoma, $12|
|8th||'03 Chardonnay||Hahn, Monterey, $15|
|7th||'02 Carignane||Frick Winery, Mendocino, $16|
|6th||'03 Zinfandel||Sobon Estate, Fiddletown, $20|
|5th||'03 Merlot-Reserve||Kenwood, Sonoma, $25|
|4th||'03 Cabernet Sauvignon||Simi, Alexander Valley, $26|
|3rd||'03 Barbera-Signature||Deaver, Sierra Foothills, $30|
|2nd||'03 Cabernet Sauvignon||Valley of the Moon, Sonoma, $50|
|1st||'02 Encounter||Gary Farrell, Sonoma, $65|
Vintage 2003 won 7 of the 11 matches. My tasters felt 2003 was closer to heaven than hades.
Warning: This Simi Cabernet may be hazardous to light-colored clothing.
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 San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.
Copyright © 2007, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.
This page created February 2007
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