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by Fred McMillin
for July 17, 1997

A Wine from Casablanca?

Prologue:

  • We believe Casablanca to be a premier white wine growing region

    ...Robert Mondavi Winery.

  • The Casablanca area lacks white wine grapes

    ...Hugh Johnson's "World Wine Atlas"

The Rest of the Story: Well now, does or does not the Casablanca area produce white wines? Is Robert Mondavi or Hugh Johnson right? Answer: They are BOTH correct. Hugh is talking about Morocco's Casablanca area, which is red wine country. Robert is talking about Chile's Casablanca Valley, which is rapidly achieving recognition as a source of fine white wines.

My tasters are convinced already. They tried a Chile Chardonnay, 81% Casablanca grapes...very vigorous...lots of fruit...gentle touch of oak... a real twelve dollar treat.

A Gender Gap: My male tasters rated the wine "good." The ladies rated it a suprising forty two percent higher. They felt it was excellent.

The Wine
1996 Caliterra Reserva Chardonnay, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
100% Chardonnay, 81.4% Casablanca Valley
By Robert Mondavi and Eduardo Chadwick
Food Pairings—Char-grilled fish and garlic bread
Contact—Nancy Light, (707)226-1395
$12

Postscript: What's the source of the word "Aconcagua" on the wine's label? Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, nearly 23,000 feet high. From it flows west a river of the same name, through a wine region of the same name.


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 and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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