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by Fred McMillin
"Houston, We Have A Problem!"
(We need a last-minute Christmas gift.)
Our Saint Nick's Picks
Here are recommendations for every budget level:
$20 TotalBuy a Fetzer Cab and Chardonnay, each in the $10 range. The Sundial Chardonnay is one of the best-sellers in the USA...or, think Beringer's Founders' Reserve label. Both the Chardonnay and Cab score well in my tastings.
The Ultimate Stocking Stuffer
Baron Philippe de Rothschild Chardonnay and Cabernet (pictured) for a total of only twenty two bucks.
Quick! Contact Lorraine Raguseo if you can't find em with only 4 shopping days left... phone (212) 765-7279, FX (212) 765-7303. Both rated recommended in their price range" by my panel.
$30 Total—A Barefoot Christmas?
Barefoot now makes a Reserve Chardonnay (pictured) and Cabernet...very solid values.
$50 Peak Package
Daryl Groom and Michael Shroeter may be the hottest wine growing team in California. You can give a dazzling pair of their Block Collection Geyser Peak wines... Highly recommended.
$75 Worth of Mike's Magic
Mike Grgich brought California Chardonnay to world prominence 25 years ago. His $45 Cabernet just pulled down an excellent from my panel. That's Grgich Hills Cellars.
$175 -Jarvis Bliss...A Slam Dunk Pair!
Fantastic. I keep hiding Jarvis bottles in my large blind tastings. Yet they never fail to pop up with excellent ratings and almost always win Best of Category.
Not so long ago the Wine Spectator's James Laube wrote that the first Jarvis release were "very impressive for their elegance and finesse." He concluded that Jarvis was well worth watching. We did and it was!
"One common myth needs to be nailed. There is no evidence that the soil in the vineyard conveys flavor to the wine."
Although some 370,000 acres of vines have been pulled up in the last ten years, Languedoc-Roussillon remains the world's largest wine region...with just a little less than the entire USA vineyard [acreage]. It has become France's most dynamic and exciting wine region. [Note: The inexpensive Rothschild wines recommended earlier in this article are from this region.]
Tasmania's sparkling wines are "impressive, including Taltarnis Clover Hill." (See June 28, 2000 WineDay)
What category of wines keeps improving with time the longest? Vintage Port...25+ years. Longest white table wine? Alsace Riesling...10+ years.
If this sounds interesting, give yourself a Christmas gift, and get 912 pages more of these insights from: The Global Encyclopedia of Wine, The Wine Appreciation Guild. Comprehensive, excellent photos, current price: $75. To order, call Bryan, (800) 231-9463.
This page created December 2001