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by Fred McMillin
for August 11, 1997
How Much Is That Cabernet in the Window?
The Rest of the Story: In 1887, the Mission, California's first wine grape, made 80% of the state's wine. However, prices indicate what all vintners knew, two more recent arrivals made better wine. The Zinfandel had moved in by 1860, and its superiority was recognized immediately. However, Zinfandel's lead was short-lived. Within 20 years Cabernet Sauvignon also arrived, took over quality and price leadership, and never looked back.
Today there are California Cabs at $60 a bottle. So how do I answer my student's request for the name of a pleasing FIVE dollar Cabernet Sauvignon? The response: Try the 1994 Blossom Hill. Heublein is putting new life into this label, and I think this light Cab is a good example. If you drink red wines in the $5 range, be sure to try this one.
1994 Cabernet Sauvignon, Appellation—California
Postscript : Granted. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are expensive at an average 1995 price of $867 per ton. Since they make the best red wine, then they must also be the MOST EXPENSIVE. Right? Wrong. That year the highest price red wine grape ran $1,231 per ton and it was none other than an escapee from Tuscany, Sangiovese!
Read more articles by Fred McMillin in the eGGsf
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