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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for February 2000


Buy French or California Wines?
Part II

Is California Gaining?

Chateau Julien, Monterey County France has been the leading winemaker of the second millennium. But their rigid wine laws severely restrict experimentation. Conversely, California vintners are free to experiment, and have the great USA economy to finance it. Our impression has been that California has been gaining. So, we paired a dozen French against a dozen California counterparts, each pair at the same price, and reported the results in this Annex, two months ago. California won the blind tasting, eight matches to four.

If it is true that California is catching France, the implications for the wine world are huge. So, we thought we better pair some more, and here's how it came out. Wines that won their matches by the most votes are listed last.

Winner Local Winning Margin (Votes) Price Year Wine
9th (tie) Cal. 2 $10 '98 Chardonnay by Farallon, California North Coast
9th (tie) Cal 2 $8 '97 Cabernet Sauvignon by R. Mondavi, Woodbridge California
8th Cal 3 $15 '96 Claret Red Blend by Coulson El Dorado, California
7th Cal. 6 $10 '97 Cabernet Sauvignon by Chateau Julien, Monterey County (pictured)
6th France 6.5 $33 '97 Chablis (Chardonnay) Montmains Burgundy, Albert Pic
5th France 8 $8 '98 Tradition Chardonnay by B&G Saint-Louis, Macon-Village
4th France 11 $45 '97 Chablis (Chardonnay) Grenouilles Burgundy, by Albert Pic
2nd(tie) France 13 $6 '97 Merlot by Rivefort de France, Pays d'Oc
2nd(tie) Cal. 13 $30 '97 Chardonnay by Signorello, Napa Valley
1st Cal. 22 $15 '96 Cabernet Sauvignon by Fetzer Barrel Select, North Coast


1. California won 6 matches while France won 4. That is, California won 60% of the matches; last time California won 67%.

2. However, last time France won two of the three matches between the six most expensive wines. The same thing happened this time.

3. Conclusion—California is getting competitive.


This page created February 2000