A barrel in the wine shop was filled with an assortment of red and white wines all costing under $13. They came from four countries, Australia, France, Italy and the USA. Which one to take home for tonight's supper? Sudden thought...let's do a tasting to get an answer.
The team for each country consisted of six bottles, two white and four red. The total cost could not exceed 6 x $13 = $78...if one bottle cost $14, another must be $12 or less.
There were 6 matches of wines from the four countries. For example, a white from each country was tasted, & the top two selected. Finishing second scored one point, while first place was worth two points. Then we went on to the next quartet. I'm tabulating the votes as I type, so you and I will learn together which country scored the most points.
Good Wines That Came In Second
$10 Pouilly Fumé by Guy
Saget (Boisset Imp.), '99 (white)
$12 Merlot, Echelon, California,
$12 Pinot Noir, Rosemount,
South Eastern Austr., '99
$13 Cabernet Sauvignon,
Gallo of Sonoma, Sonoma County, '98 (pictured)
$15 100% Chardonnay from Burgundy,
Domaine Morats, (Wildman Imp.), '99
$15 Shiraz, Jacob's Creek,
South. Austr., (Austin Nichols Imp.), '98
So, Australia, France and the USA all picked up two points,
while Italy was blanked, although the famous Bolla Soave
(Brown-Forman) missed a second place by just a hair. Now,
on to the top bottles of each matchup.
The Matchup's Top Bottles
Incidentally, we included one New Zealand white on the Australian
team, and a State of Washington Merlot on the USA team.
$10 N.Z Chardonnay by Brancott,
Gisborne, (Seagram Imp.)'00
$15 Merlot, Hogue, Columbia
Valley, Washington, '97
$16 Cabernet Sauvignon by Taltarni,
Victoria (Clos du Val Imp.), '97
Wow. Australia-New Zealand and the USA garnered all the winners, and tied for Best Team. Next time I go by that barrel,
I'm grabbing one from each of the two winning countries.
Postscript—France and Italy
About the teams that didn't win.
In this low price range, most of the
entries came from the southeastern coastal region. Quality
is rising rapidly in the area and I expect some French winners
The Best Buy of the entire tasting
was an Italian Cab, Bella Sera, $8, imported by Gallo of
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.