globalgourmet.com | WineDay | Annex

"The Rhone Versus Bordeaux"

  by Fred McMillin

 

The Contest Defined

Pedronceili 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.

The 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.


The Results

 
Margin District Varietal Price The Wine
2.8% Bordeaux Cabernet
Sauvignon
$12 '95 Pedronceili Fay Vineyard (pictured)
4.1% Rhone Petite
Sirah
$20 '95 Field Stone Reserve
5.3% Rhone Viognier $13 '97 Greenstone
7.5% Rhone Syrah $16 '96 Steel Clear Lake
12.6% Rhone Petite
Sirah
$18 '96 Argonaut, Sierra Foothills
16.2% Bordeaux Sauvignon
Blanc
$18 '97 Matanzas Creek Sonoma County
16.6% Bordeaux Cabernet
Franc
$15 '96 Clos du Lac Amador County
19.8% Bordeaux Cabernet
Sauvignon
$9 '96 Fetzer Valley Oaks
25.9% Bordeaux Cabernet
Sauvignon
$22 '94 Burgess Vintage Selection
26.3% Rhone Viognier $18 '97 Smith & Hook Arroyo Seco
 

 

Conclusions

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.

Postscript

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.

 

globalgourmet.com | WineDay | Annex  

Copyright © 1999, The electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc.
All Rights reserved.