"Every Underdog Has His Day "

  by Fred McMillin

Defining Underdog

Vichon Syrah Our large blind tasting matched each lower-priced wine with one exactly twice the price. For example, a $7 Sauvignon Blanc was paired with a $14 Blanc, an $11 Merlot was tasted with a $22 Merlot, etc. Audubon Cellars
Chardonnay The lower-priced wines were clearly the underdogs in the scoring. If the favorite accumulated 100 points, we'd expect the underdog to get only 50 points...that is, to lose by 50. However, eight of the dogs came closer than 50, and here they are. (We won't reveal the names of the pricier bottles.)

The Upbeat Underdogs

Points Below the Favorite The Underdog
39 - $ 8 '97 Preston Gamay Beaujolais Rose (roh-zay), Wash.
35 - $12 '96 Audubon Cellars Chardonnay, Carneros (pictured)
31 - $11 '97 Robert Mondavi Coastal Merlot (pictured)
22 - $10 '96 Vichon Mediterranean Syrah, France (pictured)
10 - $ 7 '97 Stone Creek Sauvignon Blanc, California
09 - $15 '95 Bandiera Reserve Cab. Sauvignon, Napa Valley
O5 - $12 '96 Fetzer Barrel Select Chardonnay, No. Coast
Winner - $20 '93 Handley Brut, Anderson Valley.
This $20 sparkler actually scored HIGHER than its $40 rival!

Postscript Mondavi Coastal Merlot

Milla Handley, who made the winning Brut, must have inherited her skills with bubbly beverages. She is the great-great-granddaughter of the legendary brewmaster Henry Weinhard.


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