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"1999, Best Buys & Dark Clouds"

  by Fred McMillin


Here are the wines that have given my panel the most bang for the buck so far this year.

White & Sparkling Wines

6th - Sparkling Asti by Martini & Rossi, Italy, NV, $10
5th - Gewürztraminer by Rosenblum, California, '97, $10
4th - Traminer-Riesling Blend by Rosemount, Australia, '98, $7
3rd   Chardonnay by Coastal Cellars (Bargetto), Argentina, '97, $7
2nd - Sauvignon Blanc by Amberhill, California, '97, $6 (pictured)
Winner - J. Riesling by Wente, Central Coast, CA, '97, $6


12th - Rose (roh-zay) from Syrah by Curtis, Santa Ynez, Valley, '97, $8.50
11th - Duas Quintas table wine by Ramos-Pinto (Importer: MMD USA, Oakland), Portugal, '95, $10
10th - Petite Sirah by L.A. Cetto (C. Mitchell), Mexico, '96, $9
9th - Rioja Crianza by Marques de Arienzo, Spain, (Importer: Allied Domecq), '94, $10
8th - Pinot Noir by Rosemount, Australia, '97, $10
7th - Grenache-Shiraz Blend by Rosemount, Australia, '97, $8
6th - Zinfandel by Montevina, Amador County, '96, $10
5th - Cabernet Sauvignon by Monterey Vineyard, Monterey, 96, $7
4th - Port (dessert) by Benjamin, Australia, (Importer: Mildara Blass),Non-Vintage, $11
3rd - Malbec Oak Reserve by Santa Julia, Argentina, '96, $10 (Winesellers)
2nd - Merlot by Rivefort de France, Languedoc, (Importer: Beringer), '96, $6
Winner - Syrah by Delicato, California, '97, $6

The Dark Cloud on the Horizon

AmberHill In our field of over 80 entries, only one third was imported. Hence, we might expect about one third of our 18 Best Buys to be imported. That is, about six wines. Instead, there were ELEVEN!

About a year ago in Sacramento, 2,500 winery types attended the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. There was deep concern about wine from foreign sources, particularly those brought in by California vintners. "We're showing importers how to sell into the United States." "We have worked hard to build the status of California wines...we have begun to seriously erode this differentiating feature." "There is a real danger...that cheaper producing regions of the world will win out."



"The imports are coming! The imports are coming!"

Note: To learn about the next Symposium, contact Greg Belloni at (800)710-9333, fax (925)370-9811.


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