"Life Without The Big Four

  by Fred McMillin


Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Merlot dominate the California red-wine scene. What would we wine drinkers do without the BIG FOUR?

The Rest of the Story

As for the best-tasting reds from other varietals, we reviewed the results of our last five years of tastings, and here are the top bottles.

Our Delightful Dozen

12th  -  Petit Verdot by Dry Creek Vineyard, Sonoma, '91, $16
11th  -  Cabernet Franc by Sobon, Sierra Foothills, '91, $12
10th - Garnacha (Grenache) by Bujanda(CIV), Spain, '87, $21
9th - Sangiovese (Firebreak) by Shafer, Napa V., '94, $25
8th - Petite Sirah by David Bruce, Cal., '91, $12
7th - Petite Sirah by Ridge, York Crk., Napa V., '89, $18
6th - Petite Sirah by Foppiano, Russian Rvr. Vy., '93, $22
5th - Petite Sirah Reserve by Concannon, Lvrmore V., '92, $15
4th - Cabernet Franc by Perry Creek, Sierra Fthls., '93. $12
3rd - Cabernet Franc by Steele, Clear Lake, '95, $15
2nd - Syrah by Rosemount, Balmoral, Australia, '92, $26
Winner - Cabernet Franc by Jarvis, Napa Valley, '94, $45


In California, for every 100 vines of Cabernet Sauvignon, there are only five Petite Sirah vines and even fewer of Cabernet Franc. My panel is convinced that we need more!

-For more about these wineries, see the following WineDay articles:


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