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by Fred McMillin
for January 4, 2000

 

Our Best Wine of 1999

 
Jarvis winery

The Jarvis winery produced our 2nd best wine of 1999.

   
 

Prologue

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 dominate.

#15 through #11

One white and one import in the first group. My hunch isn't looking so good!

 
15th(tie) - Pinot Noir, Laetitia, Reserve, Arroyo Grande Valley, '97, $33
15th(tie) - Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, White Cottage Vnyd., '95, $45
14th - Shiraz (Syrah) Reserve, Jacob's Creek, Barossa Valley, Australia, '96, $15
13th - Zinfandel, Rosenblum, Maggie's Reserve, Samsel Vineyard, '96, $28
12th - Chardonnay, Reserve Magnum, Chateau St. Jean, Alexander Valley, Robert Young Vnyd., '94, $57
11th - Cabernet Sauvignon, Grgich Hills, Napa Valley, '95, $45
 
#10 through #6
Here come those Golden State reds.
10th - Cabernet Sauvignon, Guenoc, Napa Valley, Bella Vista Vineyard, a Reserve, '94, $30
9th - Zinfandel, Peachy Canyon, Paso Robles, Dusi Ranch, '96, $23
8th - Yountville Selection Cab, Grgich Hills, Napa Valley, '94, $85
7th - Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Souverain Alexander Vallev Sonoma County, '95, $16.50
6th - 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.

5th - "Traditional" red blend, Rosemount, McLaren Vale, Australia, '96, $19
4th - Zinfandel, Gary Farrell, Dry Creek Valley, Maple Vineyard, '97, $30
3rd - Petit Verdot, Guenoc, Napa Valley, '95, $40
2nd - Lake William (Bordeaux varietal blend, as was that "Traditional"), Jarvis, Napa Vly., '96, $48

Our Best Wine of The Year

Two imports (Aussie reds) and one white...Cal reds are getting mighty good.

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.

1st - Langtry Meritage (red blend of Bordeaux varietals), Apln.—Calif., 1990, $79

Postscript

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 article.

 
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. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 


This page created January 2000

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