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globalgourmet.com | WineDay | Annex

"Get Your Kicks From '97 or '96?"

  by Fred McMillin

Prologue

Burgess, Napa Vly.  
In the wine shop you're buying a Chardonnay to pour with the salmon mousse and a Zinfandel to serve with Philippine adobo (marinated chicken wings). The California 1997 and 1996 vintages of a given winery are about the same price. Which vintage will taste better tonight?

 
 

The Better Vintage—(from our blind tasting)

To get an answer, we paired a dozen 1997s with equally-priced 1996s...only Chardonnays and Zinfandels. When we pulled the winning bottles out of their sacks, here's what we found. (Those winning by the biggest number of votes over their opponent are listed last.)

 
Winning Number of Votes Winning Vintage Price The Varietal The Wine
12th - 4 '97 $21 Chardonnay Trefethen, Napa Valley
11th - 6 '97 $18 Zinfandel Kempton Clark, Cucamonga Vly.
10th - 7 '97 $30 Zinfandel Gary Farrell Dry Creek Vly.
9th - 8 '97 $7 Zinfandel Monterey Vineyard, Lodi
8th - 9 '97 $20 Chardonnay Kendall-Jackson, Santa Maria Vly.
7th - 10 '97 $15 Chardonnay Burgess, Napa Valley (pictured)
6th - 11 '97 $19 Zinfandel Robert Mondavi, Napa Vly.
5th - 12 '97 $16 Zinfandel Rosenblum, Contra Costa
4th - 14 '97 $7 Zinfandel Bogle, California
3rd - 17 '96 $30 Zinfandel Guenoc G. Magoon Reserve
2nd - 28 '97 $18 Chardonnay Rosenblum, Paso Robles
Winner - 31 '97 $16 Zinfandel David Bruce, Paso Robles
 

Comment

From $7 to $30, Chardonnay or Zinfandel, the 1997s won 11 out of 12 matches. Case closed!

 

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