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Wine Report from the Fort
Give the gift of wine
By Fred McMillin

I have yet to know a wine fan that is not delighted to receive a free bottle of wine. So, select the price that fits your budget, and find below a very good wine in that price range. All scored big in my classes; all are current releases.

Whites, rosés and sparklers
$5: Pinot Grigio, Crane Lake Winery, California
$11: Gewurztraminer, Kenwood
Vineyards, Sonoma County
$16: Rosato di Sangiovese, Valley of the Moon Winery, Sonoma County
$17: Pinot Gris, Lake Sonoma Winery, Russian River Valley
$25: Chardonnay, Kenwood Vineyards, Russian River Valley
$28: Fumé Blanc, Grgich Hills
Estate, Napa Valley
$32: Sauvignon Blanc, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Napa Valley
$36: Brut Rosé, Domaine Carneros, Napa County
$50: Viognier, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Napa Valley
$70: Chardonnay, Jarvis Wines, Napa Valley

$5: Cabernet Sauvignon, Gallo, Twin Valley, California
$10: Syrah, Montevina Winery, Amador County
$12: Merlot, Napa Ridge Winery, Napa Valley
$18: Zinfandel, Sobon Estate, Rocky Top Vineyard, Amador County
$22: Barbera, Sunset Cellars, Napa Valley
$28: Cabernet Sauvignon, Adelaida Cellars, California
$32: Pinot Noir, Gary Farrell Vineyards, Sonoma County
$40: Cabernet Franc, St. Supery Winery, Napa Valley
$50: La Vita, Bargetto Winery, Santa Cruz Mountains
$60: Cabernet Sauvignon, Hawkes Vineyards, Alexander Valley

Or, school is cool
Give a wine class, so they can try ’em before they buy ’em … 20 wines studied and tasted each session. There will be whites over $30, a $100-sparkler, reds over $50, and some bargain bottles in the $10 range. Each session is $50, Saturdays at Fort Mason, 1 p.m.

There are six upcoming classes:
• Dec. 13 & Feb. 28: Taste the Terms – Taste wines that illustrate the 100-plus terms used to describe wine.
• Feb. 7: Basics for Beginners – Learn the five basic types of wines and how they are made.
• March 28: Napa vs. Sonoma– A careful comparison of Napa wines with Sonoma’s.
• April 18: California vs. the wines of the world – 20 California wines are compared and tasted with their counterparts from France, Australia, Chile, Italy, and other wine-producing areas.
• April 25: California vs. Oregon and Washington – Compare California wines with those from the Pacific Northwest.
To enroll or wait-list, telephone San Francisco City College at 415-561-1840 or visit Education.

The joy of booking
Northside San Francisco reader Donald Suyeyasu asked for a wine book recommendation: The Art of Terroir, by Rod Smith (Chronicle Books, $25). With photos by award-winning photographer George Rose, this book provides an opportunity to actually see the components of the elusive concept of terroir.

And a final wine smile
Wine improves with age. The older I get, the more I like it.

Credits: Edgar Vogt (tastings); Ophelia Mercado (statistics)

Fred McMillin was voted one of the best wine writers in the United States by the Academy of Wine Communications. Phone him with questions at 415-563-5712 or fax him at 415-567-4468.

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