by Fred McMillin
Does a typical $15 Pinot Noir usually taste distinctly better than a $10 bottle? Is the $20 clearly better than the $15? We ask the question because our past studies at S.F. City College (Ft. Mason campus) found for ZINFANDEL quality improved nicely from $10 to $20 but very slowly above that price.
Conclusion: When in doubt, don't pay more than $20 for ZINFANDEL.
As for CABERNET SAUVIGNON, we found only a little improvement from $10 to $15 and that $20 was markedly better and that quality improved further above $20.
Conclusion: If you want an inexpensive CAB, $10 is as good as $15, but $20 usually brings a much better bottle.
We sipped PINOTS ranging from $9 to $65 and found something different—quality of even the lowest priced bottles was good, and quality increased steadily with price! So, as one moves up the price ladder, you get distinctly better tasting wine, as you see.
Score and Price of Typical Pinot Noirs|
|81||$11||Pinot Noir, Forest Glenn, California, 2006|
|84||$14||Pinot Noir, Cycles Gladiator, Central Coast, 2005|
|87||$19||Pinot Noir, Rodney Strong, Sonoma, 2003|
|88||$32||Pinot Noir, Gundlach-Bundschu, Sonoma, 2002|
|91||$60||Pinot Noir, Gary Farrell, Allen Vineyards, Sonoma, 2003|
|93||$65||Pinot Noir, Gary Farrell, Rochioli-Allen Vineyards, Sonoma, 2004|
So, pick your price range and try that Pinot. If you like Pinots, you'll be happy.
In James Beard's Greenwich Village townhouse, my wife took cooking lessons for eight years, learning classic American dishes, such as Lobster American Style. Then, she wanted to learn French dishes on location, so we headed for Paris where she qualified for classes at the legendary L'Ecole De Cordon Bleu. Yet, when I picked her up after the first lesson, she was rather glum. It seems the chef had taught them how to prepare Lobster American Style!
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 © 2008, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.
This page created June 2008
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