On Wine


The North Against The South


by Fred McMillin


No, this is not about the USA's Civil War. Instead it's about the fact that very early in California winegrowing it was concluded that the NORTH produced better wines than the SOUTH.

However, we got to wondering if the rise of Santa Barbara wines means the SOUTH has caught up at least with the far NORTH's Mendocino County? So, we matched a number of Mendocino reds with their southern counterparts, such as two 2004 Syrahs of about the same price. Here are the results:

On Wine: Rankings
7th South Pinot Noir, Steele Wines, Santa Barbara-Bien Nacido, 2005, $35
6th North Zinfandel, Blockheadia, Mendocino County, 2001, $24
5th South Syrah, Bianchi Wine, Paso Robles, 2004, $21
4th South Zinfandel, Bianchi Winery, Paso Robles, 2005, $24
Very Good
3rd North Pinot Noir, Navarro Vineyards, Mendocino County, 2003, $16
2nd North Carignane, Frick Winery, Mendocino County, 2002, $16
1st North Pinot Noir, Handley Cellars, Mendocino County, 2004, $20


South—Not bad, landing three of the top seven spots.

North—My picky panel gave Mendocino the top three spots. They found that the South is rising, but in this large tasting, the North was still the winner.


And a Final Wine Smile

Reviewer commenting on the little-known Austrian wine grape Gumpoldskirchner:

"Not a name that will launch a thousand cases."


Credits: Edgar Vogt
Statistics: Ophie Mercado


Fred McMillin

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He was voted one of the U.S.A's 22 Best wine writers by the Academy of Wine Communications. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.


Copyright © 2009, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.


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