The Jarvis winery produced our 2nd best wine of 1999.
I'm writing this prologue BEFORE reviewing the
1999 voting to find our best wine of the year.
Here's what I expect to find.
Yesterday we listed the Best Buys of '99. Over
30% were imports, and about half were white wines.
Now, California reds have gotten so good that I
will be suprised if over two imports or two whites
make today's list. I expect Golden State reds to
#15 through #11
One white and one import in the first group. My hunch isn't
looking so good!
Pinot Noir, Laetitia, Reserve,
Arroyo Grande Valley, '97, $33
Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley,
White Cottage Vnyd., '95, $45
Shiraz (Syrah) Reserve, Jacob's
Creek, Barossa Valley, Australia, '96, $15
Yountville Selection Cab, Grgich
Hills, Napa Valley, '94, $85
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau
Souverain Alexander Vallev Sonoma County, '95, $16.50
Zinfandel, Rosenblum, Annette's
Reserve, Redwood Valley, Rhodes Vineyard, '96, $22
The Fabulous Five
These five can realign the planets...all rated 95 or higher.
"Traditional" red blend, Rosemount,
McLaren Vale, Australia, '96, $19
Zinfandel, Gary Farrell, Dry
Creek Valley, Maple Vineyard, '97, $30
Petit Verdot, Guenoc, Napa
Valley, '95, $40
Lake William (Bordeaux varietal
blend, as was that "Traditional"), Jarvis, Napa Vly., '96,
Our Best Wine of The Year
Two imports (Aussie reds) and one white...Cal reds are getting
Conclusion—It's about as we guessed. Only two imports (Aussie reds) and one white made the Final Fifteen. Yup, those California reds are getting mighty good.
(red blend of Bordeaux varietals), Apln.—Calif., 1990,
The sterling S.F. Chronicle panel picked their Top Ten...totally
different from our Top Ten. Their dominant varietal
was Syrah, which landed three of the Top Ten spots;
our best Syrah was 14th. They had no Cabs, while
we had three. They had two Chardonnays; our best was 12th.
We'll keep track of other Year's Best selections
and analyze them in a forthcoming Annex
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.
In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred
with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded
to American wine writers.