by Fred McMillin
for April 8, 1997

What's Hot, What's Not

Prologue: There are two long, north-south mountain ranges in California, the Coastal Ranges and farther inland, the Sierra Nevada. Between them lies the huge, sizzling Central Valley. The 500-mile strip is too hot for the Cabernet Sauvignon grape to make anything but a rough, unrecognizable red wine.

The Rest of the Story: But wait! There's an exception...THE GAP. This nick out of the Coastal Ranges allows cool marine air to flow east from San Francisco Bay. Consequently, over 100 square miles around Woodbridge are 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the rest of the valley. Now, that's not too different from the northern tip of the Napa Valley. So, one can make an attractive Woodbridge Cab at very attractive prices. To see what I mean, try the current Robert Mondavi model ...one of the best Cabs under $10 my panel has tasted in several months.

1994 Cabernet Sauvignon (75% Central Valley)
Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Wines
Woodbridge, CA

Category: Recommended in its price range

Postscript: If you want to learn more about the geography and geology of U.S.A. wine districts, THE book to read is "The Wine Regions of America, Geographical Reflections and Appraisals" by Prof. John J. Baxevanis, ISBN 0-922983-51-8.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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