On Wine

Insignia, J. Phelps Vineyards


United We Stand

by Fred McMillin


You may have heard of the tyranny of the 100% varietals and its claim of superiority.

My class in S.F.City College (Fort Mason Campus) has found some that overcome this tyranny...that is United They Stand.

Here they are:


Good - Under $15

Big House White Wine, Big House Wines (Octavin), California, 2009 $7
51% Malvasia Bianca, 14% Muscat Canelli, 13% Viognier,
10% Gruner Veltliner, 5% Pinot Gris, 4% White Riesling

White Table Wine, Bonterra Vineyards, Mendocino County, NV, $10
86% Chardonnay, 7% Marsanne, 3% Muscat, 3% Rousanne, 1% Viognier


Very Good - Under $35

Bordeaux Blend, Foggy Bridge Winery, Mendocino, 2005, $26
69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 4% Perdot

Que Sirah/Syrah, Silkwood Wines, Stanislaus County, NV, $30
60% Petite Sirah, 40% Syrah


Super - $35 and Over

The Mariner, Dry Creek Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, 2006, $40
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 8% Malbec,
6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot

Lake William Blend, Jarvis Wines, Napa Valley, 2004, $75
49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot


The Big Enchilada

Insignia, J. Phelps Vineyards, Napa Valley, 2007, $225
88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot. Scored 94!


And a Final Wine Smile

When asked to name his best vintage, Richard Sanford of the Sanford Winery said with a twinkle, "The next one."


Tastings: Edgar Vogt
Statistics: Ophie Mercado


Fred McMillin

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for over 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 © 2011, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.

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