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Best of the West : A Shopper's List of the Year's Finest From California Wineries

December 18, 1988|ROBERT LAWRENCE BALZER

To help holiday shoppers, I have compiled a list of the most outstanding California wines of 1988. I tasted some of these wines recently at the third annual World of Wines Festival held at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel.

The festival was climaxed with the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Andre Tchelistcheff, a viticulture and enology expert.

What I had started as a list of the "Ten most outstanding wines of 1988" quickly escalated to more than 50. And there are even more candidates. But here goes:

SPARKLING WINES Paul Masson 1984 Centennial Cuvee-Blanc de Noir $8.99 Wente Bros. 1983 Arroyo Seco Blanc de Noir 15.00 Chandon Reserve Napa Valley-Method Champenoise 15.00 Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut 16.00 Scharffenberger 1984 Cremant (Summit Cuvee) 16.00 Culbertson California Cuvee Rouge 12.00 WHITE WINES

Callaway 1986 Temecula Sauvignon Blanc-Dry $7.25 Creston Manor 1987 San Luis Obispo Sauvignon Blanc 7.50 Jepson 1986 Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc 7.50 Enz Vineyard 1987 Lime Kiln Valley Sauvignon Blanc 7.50 Kenwood 1987 Sonoma Valley Sauvignon Blanc 9.00 Parsons Creek 1986 Mendocino County Chardonnay 7.50 Villa Mt. Eden 1986 Napa Valley Chardonnay 9.50 Wente Bros. 1986 Livermore Chardonnay-Herman Wente Vineyard 11.00 Chateau Potelle 1986 Napa Valley Chardonnay 12.00 The Hess Collection 1986 Napa Valley Chardonnay 12.75 Edna Valley 1986 Edna Valley Chardonnay 13.50 Buena Vista 1985 Carneros Chardonnay-Private Reserve 14.50 Dry Creek 1985 Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay-Stare Reserve 15.00 Arrowood 1986 Sonoma County Chardonnay 16.50 Jordan Vineyard 1986 Alexander Valley Chardonnay 17.00 Kendall-Jackson 1987 California Chardonnay-Prop. Reserve 20.00 Robert Mondavi 1985 Napa Valley Chardonnay-Reserve 25.00 Far Niente 1987 Napa Valley Chardonnay 26.00 Fetzer 1987 California Gewurztraminer 4.75 Parducci 1986 Mendocino County Gewurztraminer 6.99 Ventana 1987 Monterey White Riesling 6.50 Firestone Vineyard 1986 Santa Ynez Johannisberg Riesling 6.50 RED WINES Geyser Peak 1985 Alexander Valley Merlot $8.00 Masson Vineyard 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon-Vintage Select. 7.00 Zaca Mesa 1983 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 8.00 Parducci 1984 Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon 8.49 Firestone 1984 Santa Ynez Cabernet Sauvignon 9.50 Jekel Vineyards 1983 Monterey Cabernet Sauvignon 10.50 Rutherford Hill 1984 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 13.00 Benziger 1985 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon-Estate 14.00 Eagle Point 1985 Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon 14.00 Grgich Hills 1982 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 17.00 Guenoc 1985 Guenoc Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 17.50 William Hill 1984 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 18.00 Beringer 1984 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon-Pvt. Reserve 18.50 Domaine Michel 1984 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 19.50 Geyser Peak 1984 Reserve Alexandre 20.00 Montage-Premier Cuvee Red (60% Bordeaux /40% Napa) 16.00 Opus One 1985 Napa Valley Red Table Wine (Mondavi-Rothschild) 60.00 Charles F. Shaw 1987 Napa Valley Gamay Beaujolais 7.50 Ernest & Julio Gallo 1981 Oak Cask Zinfandel 5.00 Martin Brothers Winery 1987 California Nebbiolo 9.00 Sanford 1985 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 14.00 Sterling Vineyards 1986 Winery Lake Pinot Noir 20.00 DESSERT WINES

Benziger 1987 Sonoma County Muscat Canelli-Estate $7.50 Joseph Phelps 1985 Johannisberg Riesling-Special SelectLate Harvest (L.A. County Sweepstakes Award) 375 ml 25.00

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