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by Fred McMillin
for July 2000

 

Pick An All-Pro Merlot

 

Prologue

Clos Pegase "Just when I found a soft, gentle red wine to relish. Just when I found a wine that I could afford. Suddenly, the quality doesn't seem as good. The prices are higher. Some of my favorites are out of stock. What's going on?

Well, Merlot is hot! More and more people are discovering it...which means grape growers can charge more for their grapes, even when the quality isn't as 'perfect' as it could be."

"Pooch" Pucilowaki
Chief Judge, California State Wine Competition
Quote is from Sierra Foothills Vine Times

 

The Rest of the Story

I've had the pleasure of talking with Pooch at the State Fair...very sharp...so I expected our tasting results would confirm his Merlot observations. Sure enough. Below $12, 70% of the Merlots tasted did not qualify for a recommendation in WineDay. However, there are plenty of delicious Merlots out there, mostly at higher prices, and here they are.

All- Pro Merlots

$10 Maximum  
3rd - Rivefort de France (Beringer), Pays d'Oc, '97, $6
2nd - Jacob's Creek (Austin Nichols), Australia, '98, $9
1st - Chateau Julien, Monterey, '97, $10
 
$20 Maximum  
7th - Duck Pond, Columbia Valley, WA, '97, $12
6th - Chateau Souverain, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, '97, $17
5th - Pedroncelli, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, '97, $14
4th - Fetzer Barrel Select, Sonoma County, '97, $15
3rd - Ironstone's Triune, California, '97, $17
2nd - Markham, Napa Valley, '97, $19
1st - Belvedere, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, '94!, $16
 
$30 Maximum  
7th - Clos Pegase, Napa Valley, '96, $24 (pictured)
6th - Robert Mondavi, Carneros, '96, $24
5th - Gundlach-Bundschu, Sonoma Valley, '96, $22
4th - Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma County, '97, $22
3rd - Philippe-Lorraine Winery, Napa Valley, '97, $25
2nd - Firestone Reserve, Santa Ynez Valley, '97, $30
1st - Field Stone Reserve, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, '97, $25
 
Unlimited 
5th - Jade Mountain, Caldwell Vnyd., Napa Valley, '97, $34
4th - Jade Mountain, Paras Vnyd., Mt. Veeder, '97, $52
3rd - Jarvis, Napa Valley, '97, $48
2nd - Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve, California, '95, $47
1st - Peju Province, Napa Valley, '97, $35
 

Comments

Three of the four least expensive bottles are not from California. In the middle price range, Sonoma County dominates the selections. Above $30, it's the Napa Valley.

Credits:
We mentioned the Sierra Foothills Vine Times. It's an excellent quarterly, as described in the WineDay Annex titled, "Wine and Words, A Love Affair". It's the story of the charming editor-publisher Jolene Teresi, who can be reached at (916)988-8451.

 


This page created July 2000

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