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Should You Buy Sonoma or Napa Cabs?

Wine

by Fred McMillin

 

To get an answer, my picky panel tasted blind a dozen Sonoma and a dozen Napa Cabs, all priced between $20 and $40. Every wine selected was rated VERY GOOD or better! But which district makes the better values?

The Case for Sonoma

At the lower prices ($20 to $30), there were a lot more Sonoma bottles than Napa. Here are the top four, all rated 86 (very good).

  • Gallo of Sonoma, Frei Ranch Vindyard, Dry Creek Valley, 1999
  • Kenwood, Jack London Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, 2003
  • Lake Sonoma Winery, Alexander Valley, 2001
  • Valley of the Moon Winery; Sonoma Co., 2003

Now to....

The Case for Napa

While Napa had fewer $20 to $30 entries, they had these two purple powerhouses, both rated close to NINETY.

  • Flora Springs, Napa Valley, 2003
  • Sterling Vineyards, Napa Valley, 2002

Conclusion

Comparing the average scores of the entire 12-bottle squads, Napa Cabs were a bit more expensive and rated a few points higher...pretty much as one would expect. In my class at Ft. Mason we decided that we could please both the budget and the palate with a $25 bottle from either of the Golden State's best two wine districts.

Postscript

After the dust had settled, we hailed a Cab, the 2002 Jarvis, Napa, $80. It scored NINETY FIVE!

 

And a Final Wine Smile

The vintner became ill and his wife rushed him to the doctor, who took one look and asked the husband to step out into the waiting room.

Doctor: "It's clearly a case of too much stress. From now on, you must immediately satisfy his every need...when he comes home after work, meet him with his slippers and a glass of his favorite wine, all weekend sit with him while he watches all the sports on TV, and so forth. That is, give up your interests and eliminate all of his stresses. If you don't, he will die"

The wife thanks the doctor and hurries to her husband.

Husband: "What did he say? What did he say?"

Wife: "You're going to die."

 

Fred McMillin

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He was voted one of the U.S.A's 22 Best wine writers by the Academy of Wine Communications. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

 

Copyright © 2007, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.

 


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This page created July 2007


 


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