The Contest Defined
There is no question that Bordeaux varietals enjoy more
prestige than those of the Rhone Valley. BUT, what if you
grow them both in the same area (California) and compare
their wines at the same price? In a blind tasting, does
a $22 Cabernet Sauvignon (Bordeaux) outscore a $22 Syrah
(Rhone)? My panel tasted 10 pair. Here are the results,
but first a word about scoring.
We show the winning margin as a
percent over the loser's score. If the loser
received a total of 100 quality votes and the
winner received 110 votes, then the winning
margin was 10. The 10 vote margin over 100
is a 10% win.
|| '95 Pedronceili
Fay Vineyard (pictured)
||'95 Field Stone
||'96 Steel Clear
||'97 Matanzas Creek
||'96 Clos du Lac
||'96 Fetzer Valley
|| '94 Burgess Vintage
||'97 Smith & Hook
Five Rhones and five Bordeauxs won the matches. California
Rhone Rangers held their own.
However, the five Rhones won by an average of 11%, while
Bordeaux victors won by an average of 16%. So, Bordeaux
backers have a shakey claim of victory.
Why weren't there any winners by the greatest white-wine
grape in the world, Chardonnay? Answer: When the white-robed
Cistercian monks introduced it to France nine centuries
ago, they planted their vines in Chablis, Burgundy. Hence,
Chardonnay is not a Bordeaux varietal, and so was not elgible
for our contest.