What winery turns out the Best Buys? Bargain Betty
The Rest of the Story
We checked the Best Buys in all of our tastings this past year, and found nine leading labels. The best is listed last, and is our Bargain Winery of the Year. Here we go! (Entries could not exceed $10, so if you find a bottle under $10 with any of these labels, you probably have a good buy.)
Number Nine—Ivan Tamas Winery
Steve Mirassou and his son turn out nice values at Tamas, (925) 456-2376, FAX (925) 456-2381.
Number Eight—Robert Mondavi Woodbridge
You should be able to find this label since it is on about sixty million bottles a year. If questions, contact the office of Mary Ann Vangrin, (707) 251-4483, FAX (707) 251-4386.
Number Seven—Shenandoah Vineyards
Grab the $9 Zinfandel. (209) 245-4455, FAX (209) 245-5156.
Number Six—Rosemount (Australia)
While the winery makes some striking wines in the top price range, those bottles under $10 score well consistently with my panel. Seize the Shiraz. (707) 996-4504, FAX (707) 996-4599.
Number Five—Duck Pond Cellars (Oregon)
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are winners. Contact Joan Freeze, (503) 538-3199, FAX (503) 538-3190.
Number Four—Etchart (Argentina)
Try the rising Argentinian Malbec red for only $7. Contact Vickie Bello or Paul Orifice, FAX (973) 857-6193.
Number Three—Barton and Guestier, or B&G (France)
The Chardonnay has scored particularly well. U.S.A. contact—(707) 255-7667, FAX (707) 255-1119.
My panel finds that any time you see a Beringer release under $10, you've found a bargain. Contact the office of Phyllis Turner at (707) 963-7115, FAX (707) 963-1735.
And now here's our...
Best-Buy Winery of the Year
Ironstone Vineyards in the Sierra Foothills The Wines White: The off-dry "Obsession" from a grape created in the 20th century (Symphony) scores very well in my classes. Red: Zinfandel. Contact—Office of Jo Diaz; (707) 838-9159
is both the phone and FAX number. Comment—Which area dominated the selections? Three of the nine came from the California Inland, Shenandoah, Mondavi Woodbridge and Ironstone. Many of the Coastal California fine values of the past are now above $10 and so were not eligible for this competition.
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. 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.