On Wine


California Versus the World


by Fred McMillin


On Wine reader Sean Wong asked how well affordable California wines score against bottles of the same varietal and price from any other part of the world. In our Ft. Mason classes we've made such comparisons with wines from 10 other countries (France, Australia, Israel, etc.) and three states including Oregon and Washington. For example, a $12 Sauvignon Blanc from Chile was paired with a California Sauvignon Blanc of the same price and vintage.


The Results:
Winning Varietals

On Wine: Winning Varietals
White ($25 maximum)
World $14 Aligote, Shooting Star, Washington State, 2006
World $10 Chardonnay, Oak Knoll, Oregon, 2005
California $25 Grenache Blanc, Adelaida, 2005
California $6 Riesling, Forestville, 2006
World $12 Sauvignon Blanc, OOPS Wines, Chile, 2006
Pink ($15 maximum)
California $13 I'm Rosé, I'm Wines, 2006
Red ($30 Maximum)
California $30 Cabernet Sauvignon, Steele, 2004
World $19 Pinot Noir, King Estate, Ore., 2006
California $12 Red Muscat, Electra by Quady, 2006
California $24 Tempranillo, Shenandoah Vineyards, 2004


California certainly stood up well, producing six of the 10 best values—and Oregon and Washington State furnished most of the rest. So if your taste buds agree with those of my students, you can find fine values made right here on the West Coast of the USA!


A Final Wine Smile

Franciscan Friar Narcisco Duran made California's first fine wine brandy some two centuries ago. A peer described it as "crystal clear, doubly distilled, and as strong as the reverend father's faith!"


Fred McMillin

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 © 2008, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.


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This page created July 2008

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