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"David Versus Goliath "

  by Fred McMillin

Sterling Vineyard


Our giant, our Goliath, in the blind tasting was the Napa Valley wine district. Our David was the Sierra Foothills district. Here's how critic James Laube compares the two in his excellent book, California Wine. (1995)

Acres in vines Napa Valley Sierra Foothills
  33,200 3,200
Number of lines used to describe the district 74 4
Number of varietals mentioned as outstanding 9 1

Tasting Results
We matched nine Napa wines against nine Foothills wines of the same varietal and price, for example, two $12 Zinfandels, two $20 Cabs, etc. Here are the winners. The number is the percent by which the winner outscored the loser.

Winning Margin % District $ Varietal Winery
3% Napa $20 Merlot Sterling (pictured)
3% Napa $18 Pinot Noir Robert Mondavi
6% Foothls. $22 Port (blend) Sutter Ridge (pictured)
7% Napa $13 Zinfandel Burgess (pictured)
13% Foothls. $16 Chardonnay Sierra Vista
33% Napa $30 Cab blend Rosenblum (1)
40% Foothls. $14 Chardonnay Renaissance
56% Foothls. $15 Zinfandel Sobon Estate (2)
  1. The blend was the '96 Holbrook Mitchell Trio.
  2. This Sobon Zinfandel was the '96 Fiddletown.
John L. And  John H. Bree
John L. Bree (L) with son John Hyler Bree make Sutter Ridge Run

Also, there was one dead heat. The two with identical total votes were $20 Cabs by Conn Creek (Napa) and Renaissance (Foothills).



Each district had four winners. In the $15 to $20 range, David doesn't beat Goliath, but he surely holds his own.


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