On Wine



The Best Chardonnays

by Fred McMillin


Napa Professor Touts "Chardenot"

Circa 1885—Prof. George Husmann, University of Missouri, moved to California when he recognized the state's winegrowing potential. There he managed wineries and wrote America's most popular book (back then) on wine grapes, including the CHARDENOT grape.

Here are the best chardonnays we've sipped recently:


Under $15

  • 3rd—Lyeth Chardonnay, Sonoma, 2005, $11
  • 2nd—Bodega Septima Chardonnay, Argentina, 2006, $10
  • 1st—Napa Ridge Chardonnay, Napa, 2005, $12

Over $15

  • 3rd—Hess Collection Chardonnay, Napa, 2006, $25
  • 2nd—Kenwood Chardonnay, Russian River, 2006, $25
  • 1st—Jarvis Chardonnay, Napa Valley,2006, $70


The professor's most famous words were his early appraisal of Zinfandel: I have yet to see the red wine of any variety that I would prefer to the best samples of Zinfandel produced in California. Unfortunately these best samples are like angels' visits, "few and far between."


Our Best Bottles In Recent Years

Ophelia Mercado has tabulated my City College (Ft. Mason campus) classes' wine rankings for years. So I asked her to list the highest scorers of recent years. Here they are, with the highest listed last. The order doesn't mean much however, since they all were bunched together with scores well above 90!

  • Icaria Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Kenwood Zinfandel
  • King Estate Pinot Gris
  • Adelaida Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Bonny Doon Syrah
  • Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Kahana Royale Macadamia Nut Liqueur
  • Bargetto La Vita
  • Trinchero Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Simi Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Jarvis Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Jarvis Lake William (blend)
  • Gary Farrell Pinot Noir

And the highest scorer:

  • Silkwood Petite Sirah

A Final Wine Smile

Harvest Humor: While blessing the freshly-picked grapes, the man of the cloth was asked also to appeal for no rain. He replied, "Sorry, I'm in SALES, not OPERATIONS."


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 November 2008

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