Northside San Francisco reader Dr. Andrew R. asks which Cabernet Sauvignons both inexpensive and expensive, have scored best at the Fort? Here they are, from least to most expensive:
• Fat Cat Cellars California 2005, $10
• Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley 2002, $15
• Barefoot Cellars Dry Creek Valley 2001, $17
• NxNW Wines Columbia Valley (Washington) 2006, $25
• Adelaida Cellars San Luis Obispo County 2002, $28
• Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma Valley Jack London Vineyards 2005, $35
• St. Supery Estate Napa Valley 2003, $38
• Trinchero Vineyards Napa Valley 2002, $45
• Dry Creek Vineyards Dry Creek Valley 2004, $55
• Corison Vineyards Napa Valley 2004, $70
• J. Davies Diamond Mountain (Napa Valley) 2005, $75
How long should you wait to drink your California Cabs? In a separate analysis, we found that three times out of four, if you wait until the Cab is at least four years old, it will taste distinctly better. Thus, I’m drinking Cabs that are 2005 and older.
Suddenly my mind went Blanc
Northside San Francisco reader Dottie L. wants to give a Blanc party. She asks which wineries have made Blancs that have scored well at the Fort? Here they are:
Sauvignon Blanc (aka Fumé Blanc): Clos Pegase, Dry Creek Vineyards, Kenwood Vineyards, Saint Clair Family Estate (New Zealand; imported by Winesellers, Ltd., www.winesellersltd.com), St. Supery Estate
Pinot Blanc: Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Valley of the Moon
Chenin Blanc: Bogle Vineyards, Dry Creek Vineyards, Forestville
They would rather switch than fight: Since 1972, Dry Creek Vineyards has called its flagship white wine “Fumé Blanc.” However, a number of retailers said that the name Fumé Blanc caused confusion because the more common name was “Sauvignon Blanc.” So rather than fight, the winery switched. Their new 2008 vintage is called Sauvignon Blanc for the first time.
Postscript: In our recent tasting at S.F. City College (Fort Mason Campus), the class voted the Dry Creek Vineyards 2007 Fumé Blanc the best white wine of the session.
School is cool
Edgar Vogt and I teach wine classes for S.F. City College each month, Saturdays, 1–3 p.m.
• Oct. 10 and Oct. 24: Taste the Terms – Taste wines that illustrate the 100-plus terms used to describe it.
To enroll for these classes or wait-list for the Sept. 26 class, Basics for Beginners, phone San Francisco City College at 415-561-1840. You may also enroll online at www.ccsf.edu/services/continuing_education (enroll early and save $10).
Fort Mason teacher Edgar Vogt and Presidio Cafe teacher Michael Perry have given us three of their pet wines for super sipping.
Vogt’s votes: (1) Daniel Gehrs Monterey County Riesling 2007; (2) Gundlach-Bundschu Sonoma Valley Rhinefarm Vineyard Pinot Noir 2002; (3) Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005.
Perry’s picks: (1) Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Fumé Blanc 2008; (2) Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel 2007; (3) John Ross Storey San Luis Obispo County Alamo Creek Vineyard Syrah 2006.
Why I quit my day job
Many vintages ago I was wearing my chemical engineering hat. The leading oil companies of Europe and the United States (Exxon, British Petroleum, Chevron, et al.) had selected me to be the solo advisor to a Middle Eastern country on how to produce their own gasoline, jet fuel, and so forth from their own crude oil. The country was – yikes! – Iran. I was there for three years ... but the mullahs were coming! The mullahs were coming!
The United States-friendly Shah Reza was about to be displaced. So I got out of Iran while the getting was good.
Postscript: While I was there, the Shah permitted the Armenians (they were Christians) to produce wine. The most popular was a pink wine named “Velvet.” My Fort Mason students can’t taste Velvet, but here are the pinks they found most popular. All were sipped when only one year old.
Popular pinks: White Zinfandel: Shenandoah Vineyards Amador County 2004, $6; Margenta Rosé (Shiraz): Forest Glen Winery California 2007, $8; Zinfandel Rosé: Pedroncelli Winery Sonoma County 2006, $10
Exceptional pinks: I’M Rosé: I’M Wines Napa Valley 2006, $13; Vin Gris De Cigare: Bonny Doon Vineyards California 2007
A final wine smile
Warning! This wine column may be habit-forming.
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.