On Wine  

Biggest Bargains of 2007...So Far

by Fred McMillin


We taste a lot of wines in our Fort Mason (S.F. City College) classes. Here in alphabetical order the 16 that were best at pleasing both the palate and the wallet.

The 16 Best Buys

  • Barbera, $10, Montevina Winery, Amador County, 2004
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, $10, Harlow Ridge Winery, Lodi, 2003
  • Gewurztraminer, $9, Fetzer Vineyards, Valley Oaks, 2005
  • Merlot, $9, Veramonte Vnyrds., Chile-Casablanca Valley, 2002
  • Merlot (60%) Malbec (40%) $5, Falling Star Winery, Argentina, 2004
  • 'Nine Vines' Rosé, $10, Angove's, So. Australia, 2006
  • Hearty Burgundy, $5, Gallo-Twin Valley, California, NV
  • Pinot Grigio, $9, Fetzer Vineyards, California, 2005
  • Pinot Noir, $10, Wyndharn Estate-Bin 333, SE Australia, 2004
  • Rhone White, $8, Louie Bernard Bernard, Cote' du Luberon
         (Boisset Imports) 2002
  • Riesling, $7, Coastal Ridge Winery, California, 2004
  • Shiraz (53%) Cab (47%), $8, Jacobs Creek Winery, SE Australia, 2003
  • Syrah, $12, Gallo of Sonoma, Sonoma County, 2002
  • Vouvray, $8, George Meurgey, (Boisset Imports) Loire, 2005
  • Zinfandel-Reserve, $10, Shenandoah Vineyards, Amador County, 2002

Which of the 16 Scored the Highest?

The Best White

The crisp, fresh flavors of the Fetzer Pinot Grigio explained why Pinot Grigio (a.k.a. Pinot Gris) may overtake Sauvignon Blanc as the USA's second most popular white wine. The Grigio is an ancient mutation of Burgundy's majestic red Pinot Noir (Napoleon's favorite, but I digress).

The Best Red

As would be expected, a Cabernet Sauvignon won best red. It was the 2003 Harlow Ridge. (Napoleon had to switch to Cab when the British exiled him, but I digress again).

Which Was the Biggest Bargain of All?

The FIVE DOLLAR Falling Star Merlot-Malbec blend from Argentina, imported by F. Wildman, is our Best Buy of the year.


And a Final Wine Smile

We're honored that a major Napa Valley winery concludes its newsletter with one of our Final Smiles—about Winston Churchill when he was a member of Parliament.

Here it is:

A female member of the opposition party confronted him after a heated debate and said: "Winston, if you were my husband, I'd put poison in your wine!" Winston: "Madam, if I were your husband...I'd drink it."

(Note: I know our Wine Smile was the source, because I changed a very important word in the Smile, and my word is used in the newsletter instead of the original version.)


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He was voted one of the U.S.A's 22 Best wine writers by the Academy of Wine Communications. 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.


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This page created August 2007

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