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by Fred McMillin
RISING STAR #1—"Boom! That was the sound of Merlot exploding onto the American wine scene a few years ago."
RISING STAR #2—"It's official: Syrah is hot. The wine press is buzzing, vineyard plantings are up... Whoopee!"
So which is better? We selected 10 Merlots and paired them with 10 Syrahs of the same price and vintage... our own WAR OF THE STARS.
Here are the ten bottles that won their match. The highest-scoring wine is shown last. That is, the quality improves as you go down the list.
10th—Merlot—Chateau Souverain, Alexander Valley, 1998, $17
* Each varietal won five matches.
* However four of the winning Melots outscored all of the Syrahs.
* So, this blind tasting indicates that while Syrah (chiefly from California) is competitive, the leading rising star is still Merlot.
This page created March 2002