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Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for November 8, 2001


A Four-Country Shootout

Gina Gallo

Gina Gallo made one of the winners.

A barrel in the wine shop was filled with an assortment of red and white wines all costing under $13. They came from four countries, Australia, France, Italy and the USA. Which one to take home for tonight's supper? Sudden thought...let's do a tasting to get an answer.


The Teams

The team for each country consisted of six bottles, two white and four red. The total cost could not exceed 6 x $13 = $78...if one bottle cost $14, another must be $12 or less.


The Scoring

There were 6 matches of wines from the four countries. For example, a white from each country was tasted, & the top two selected. Finishing second scored one point, while first place was worth two points. Then we went on to the next quartet. I'm tabulating the votes as I type, so you and I will learn together which country scored the most points.


Good Wines That Came In Second

Australia France Italy U.S.A. The Wine
  X     $10 Pouilly Fumé by Guy Saget (Boisset Imp.), '99 (white)
      X $12 Merlot, Echelon, California, '99 (pictured)
X       $12 Pinot Noir, Rosemount, South Eastern Austr., '99
      X $13 Cabernet Sauvignon, Gallo of Sonoma, Sonoma County, '98 (pictured)
  X     $15 100% Chardonnay from Burgundy, Domaine Morats, (Wildman Imp.), '99
X       $15 Shiraz, Jacob's Creek, South. Austr., (Austin Nichols Imp.), '98

So, Australia, France and the USA all picked up two points, while Italy was blanked, although the famous Bolla Soave (Brown-Forman) missed a second place by just a hair. Now, on to the top bottles of each matchup.


The Matchup's Top Bottles

Incidentally, we included one New Zealand white on the Australian team, and a State of Washington Merlot on the USA team.

Australia &
New Zealand
France Italy U.S.A. The Wine
X       $10 N.Z Chardonnay by Brancott, Gisborne, (Seagram Imp.)'00
      X $12 Pinot Noir, Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve, California, '99
      X $12 Sauvignon Blanc, Kenwood, Sonoma County, '00
X       $13 Cabernet-Shiraz, Owen's Estate (Brown-Forman Imp.), '99
      X $15 Merlot, Hogue, Columbia Valley, Washington, '97
X       $16 Cabernet Sauvignon by Taltarni, Victoria (Clos du Val Imp.), '97

EchelonWow. Australia-New Zealand and the USA garnered all the winners, and tied for Best Team. Next time I go by that barrel, I'm grabbing one from each of the two winning countries.


Postscript—France and Italy

About the teams that didn't win.

In this low price range, most of the entries came from the southeastern coastal region. Quality is rising rapidly in the area and I expect some French winners next time.

The Best Buy of the entire tasting was an Italian Cab, Bella Sera, $8, imported by Gallo of Sonoma.


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.



This page created November 2001