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L.A. WINELINE BEST OF THE NEW WORLD AND RHONE.

Byline: - Larry Lipson

Not one Californian Rhone-style wine made the Top 10 in a blind tasting earlier this month of New World and Rhone newcomers' wine by five American wine experts.

The tasting, held in a Manhattan hotel, consisted of 10 Rhone Valley wines from France and 10 New World wines (five from California, four from Australia and one from Argentina). All were syrah- (aka shiraz) or grenache-based wines - and all of the 2001 vintage.

The Californians picked for the tasting were Chalone, Kendall-Jackson, Justin, Ojai and Ravenswood.

Australians were Torbreck, Killibinbin, Barton Vale and Penfolds. And the lone Argentine wine was the syrah by Luca.

The No. 1 overall choice of the panel came up as the Changeling from Barton Vale of Australia, a shiraz. Second overall winner was Domaine de Calet from the Costieres de Nimes region of the Rhone Valley, yet to be imported into this country.

The No. 3 pick was another Rhone newcomer, Vignobles Michel Gassier from the same region as the Calet.

The Luca syrah from Argentina grabbed the fourth spot.

Fifth was Chateau d'Or et de Gueules, also from the Costieres de Nimes, an import of Robert Kacher Selections in Washington, D.C.

In sixth place was Domaine de la Citadelle of the Cotes du Luberon area in Rhone. Seventh was the Killibinbin shiraz from Langhorne Creek Australia, and the eighth spot was snagged by Domaine de Grangeneuve from Coteaux du Tricastin for La Truffiere.

The ninth came from the same area, Chateau Pesquie's Quintessence, and in 10th place was Domaine de la Garelle of the Cotes du Luberon region for the cuvee Pere Antoine.

The expert tasters were Joshua Wesson, wine director of Best Cellars; Mary Ewing-Mulligan of the International Wine Center; Roger Dagorn from Chanterelle restaurant; Joe Czerwinski, senior editor, Wine Enthusiast magazine; and Ray Isle, managing editor, Wine & Spirits magazine.

The latter three all evidenced surprise at the results. Wesson said it was a great day for fans of the syrah, grenache and mourvedre grapes and an even better day for fans of Rhone's newest appellations.

All the wines tasted were in the $15 to $40 price range.

So what do you think? Has California wine been slighted again?

Are there syrahs from California at the same price range that would have better represented this state?

This column welcomes reader comments. E-mail me at larry.lipson(at)dailynews.com or write to me c/o the Daily News, 21221 Oxnard St., Woodland Hills, CA 91367.

BARGAIN CHIANTI: This week's under-$10 bargain wine is a well-known Tuscan Italian, a 2001 chianti classico from Gabbiano.

Chianti classicos rarely are found at this price. This one has rich flavors, opens up with a little aerating, providing a pleasing companion to festive holiday foods, especially roasts.

It can be found at Gelson's for a mere $8.99.

SIPS & NIBBLES: Wanna know all the gold-medal winners before you go on your next wine-buying spree? There's a helpful guide, titled ``American Gold Medal Wines'' ($11.95) available nationwide in bookstores or online at www.americangoldmedalwines.com. ... Duke of Bourbon, 20908 Roscoe Blvd., Canoga Park, not only has a deep inventory of wines but will personalize bottles for holiday gift giving. Information: (818) 341-1234 or www.dukeofbourbon.com.

Larry Lipson, (818) 713-3668

larry.lipson(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 15, 2004
Words:551
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