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"Top Underdogs"

  by Fred McMillin



America loves an underdog.

The Rest of the Story

Jekel, Arroyo Seco  
Talk about underdogs. In a large, blind tasting we paired a group of less expensive wines with bottles costing exactly twice as much...a $10 Merlot versus a $20 Merlot, etc. Here are the underdogs that came closest to scoring as well as their pricier partners.

The Scoring
If the expensive bottle received 100 votes, and the underdog 60 votes, then the underdog came within 100 minus 60 = 40% of the top or better bottle.

How Close To The Top:

  • 41% from the top Chardonnay by Oceana (Boisset), '97, $10
  • 31% from the top Sparkler by Mawby (Michigan), NV, $17
  • 22% from the top Merlot by Jekel, Arroyo Seco, '94, $22 (pictured)
  • 15% from the top Pinot Noir by Rosemount, Australia, '97, $10
  • 7% from the top Viognier by R.H. Phillips, Dunnigan Hills, '97, $12
  • 2% from the top Cabernet Sauvignon by Rutherford Ranch, '93, $11

Underdogs that actually whipped the expensive entry:

  • 6% higher Chardonnay by Bonterra (Fetzer), '97, $11
  • Our Top Underdog: 20% higher than the expensive bottle (we don't name the losers), Sauvignon Blanc by Kenwood, Sonoma County, '97, $10

For much more about our Top Underdog, see the forthcoming April 12, 1999 WineDay article that says "No Deadwood at Kenwood."


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