by Fred McMillin
for October 4, 1999


Our Wine World Series


(National anthem fades out.) Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the seventh and deciding game of the Wine World Serious. As you know, the contest is between California's first star franchise, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the varietal that only recently has achieved major-league status in the Golden State...Pinot Noir. Salary cap considerations limit the entries to a maximum price of $30, so we have three $30 1995 Cabs paired against three $30 1997 Pinots. Each pair goes three innings. Let's get it on....

Annie Roberts

Annie Roberts at work 24 years ago this month.

The Results

My umpire Edgar Vogt took great care to see that the panel could not even see the bottle shape, since the Cab entries had high shoulders and the Pinot sloping shoulders. After the voting, the bottles came out of the sacks and here are the winners:

First three innings—Pinot Noir by Gary Farrell.
Second three innings—Pinot Noir by David Bruce
Final three innings—Pinot Noir by Robert Mondavi

So, the Pinots are our 1999 World Champions. And who was voted the Most Valuable Player? It's our Wine of the Day.

The Most Valuable Player

Robert Mondavi 1997 Pinot Noir
Carneros, Napa Valley
Composition—100% Pinot Noir
Food Suggestions by the Mondavi Executive Chef Annie Roberts—Veal loin stuffed with wild mushrooms; grilled skirt steak with a salsa of avocado, shiitake mushroom and roasted red pepper.
Judges Comments About the Wine -"Nice fruit," "toasty," " rich, ripe flavors."
Contact—Office of Nancy Light, 1.888.RMONDAVI, FAX (707) 251-4386


About Executive Chef Annie Roberts (pictured), my wife and I were startled by her talents on Oct. 25,1975. We were going to serve Game Hens Armagnac as part of a food and wine lesson at the Robert Mondavi winery. The daughter of the winery's PR director Margrit Biever, she looked over our recipe and then did a beautiful job of preparing the birds (see photo). Spell that PRECOCIOUS!

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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