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Friday, December 29, 2006 

The SF Chron has it's list...and checked it twice

And found some great wines naughtily priced, but ooohhhh so nice! There were some surprises...
...America's five favorite wines are Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, White Zinfandel and Pinot Grigio in that order, according to ACNielsen. Wine buyers recommend almost none of them.

...Bargain white wines have greater economic value than reds for two reasons. You can chill them to disguise flaws, and they can be refrigerated at near-serving temperature, keeping them drinkable for a few days longer than bargain reds.
Some on their list:
2006 Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($10) It's a mystery why this wine is still so affordable, because in 1991 this brand helped start the price escalation of Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand's Marlborough region when it won its category in the 22nd International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. This is what people expect in a $20 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: It's potent, with plenty of passion- fruit flavor, some grassiness, a little minerality and a long finish. Overall, it's the best white wine on this list.

2005 Quattro Mani Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($9) This wine is the first of an ambitious project from a New York importer who plans to source second-label wines from four famous European winemakers. This one is made by Italian consulting winemaker Attilio Pagli. It's a great food wine because of its light-medium body and vibrant acidity, yet it's also interesting because its flavors of red and black fruit and earth keep evolving in the glass. Overall, it's the best wine on this list.

2004 Greenstone Point South Island New Zealand Pinot Noir ($10) This is like finding a diamond in your backyard: a $10 Pinot Noir that actually tastes like Pinot Noir should, with flavors of raspberry and soy sauce and a little spiciness. Bi-Rite wine buyer Josh Adler said he did a blind tasting of Pinot Noirs in his home and this one came in second overall against wines costing three times as much. It's one of the best wines on this list.

2003 Bodega Inurrieta Sur Navarra ($10) Wine has been produced on a large scale for more than 2,000 years in the Spanish town of Falces, near this bodega, but this is very much a New World-style wine with plenty of spicy, red raspberry flavors that just keep coming on the medium-long finish. It's a blend of 65 percent Grenache and 35 percent Graciano.

2003 Ursa El Dorado Merlot ($10) The husband and wife winemaking team of Greg Stokes and Deborah Elissagaray worked together at David Bruce Winery for several years before moving to El Dorado County to open their own winery, making just 2,500 cases annually. This is a very Petite Sirah-like Merlot: It's an intense, rich, cherry-fruit bomb for lovers of the type. You can taste the 15.3 percent alcohol, but the tannins are pleasingly soft.

2005 Ten Mile California Red Wine ($10) This brand is from two Canadians who moved to Stags Leap to produce high-end wines; this is their budget entry. It's a blend of Petite Sirah, Barbera, Zinfandel and Carignane. It's a wine of restraint, with raspberry, floral and earthy notes and 13.5 percent alcohol.
Find some that might tickle your palate!

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