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California's Best : A Subjective but Handy Year-End Guide for Wine Lovers

December 24, 1989|ROBERT LAWRENCE BALZER

EVERY YEAR California wines seem to get better. Not long ago, one might have been able to come up with a believable "10 Best" list of regional products. But now there are literally hundreds of medal winners--and bargains galore.

My choices for the best of 1989 follow:

SPARKLING WINES

Adler Fels 1987 Sonoma County Melange a Deux $16.00

Chateau de Baun ROMANCE 1986 Symphony Brut Champagne 10.99

Culbertson California Cuvee Rouge 12.00

Jepson 1985 Mendocino County Brut Champagne 16.00

Korbel Natural California Champagne 10.00

Gloria Ferrer 1985 Carneros Cuvee 20.00

Scharffenberger 1985 Mendocino Blanc de Blancs 18.00

Wente Bros. 1983 Arroyo Seco Brut--Sparkling Wine 10.00

Chandon Napa Valley Club Cuvee 16.00

Schramsberg 1983 Napa Valley Blanc de Noirs 20.85

Iron Horse 1984 Sonoma County--Green Valley Brut--Late Disgorged 22.50

Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut 16.50

WHITE WINES

St. Clement 1987 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc $9.50

Christian Brothers 1987 Napa Valley Fume-Dry Sauvignon Blanc 8.50

Silverado Vineyards 1987 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 8.00

Santa Barbara Winery 1987 Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc 8.00

Creston Manor 1987 San Luis Obispo Sauvignon Blanc 8.25

Chateau Potelle 1986 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 7.95

Jepson 1986 Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc 7.50

Buena Vista 1988 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 7.50

Parducci 1987 Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc 7.49

Rochioli 1988 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc 9.00

Ventana Vineyard 1988 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc 8.00

Gauer Estate Vineyard 1987 Alexander Valley Chardonnay 16.00

Jordan 1986 Alexander Valley Chardonnay 17.50

Bouchaine 1986 Napa Valley Chardonnay Carneros Estate Reserve 19.00

Estancia 1988 Monterey Chardonnay 7.00

Franciscan 1987 Oakville Estate Chardonnay-Cuvee Sauvage 20.00

Hess Collection 1987 Napa Valley Chardonnay 13.25

Flora Springs 1987 Napa Valley Chardonnay-Barrel Fermented 21.00

Ferrari-Carano 1987 Alexander Valley Chardonnay 15.50

Kendall-Jackson 1987 California Chardonnay Proprietor's Reserve 22.00

Wente Bros. 1988 Arroyo Seco Chardonnay-Reserve 12.00

Fisher Vineyard 1987 Sonoma Chardonnay Coach Insignia 18.00

Chateau Montelena 1987 Alexander Valley Chardonnay 20.00

Acacia 1988 Napa Valley Chardonnay Carneros 16.00

Guenoc 1986 Guenoc Valley Chardonnay Premier Cuvee 16.00

Conn Creek 1986 Napa Valley Chardonnay Barrel Select 11.75

Inglenook 1988 Gravion 51% Semillon-49% Sauvignon Blanc 9.50

Adler Fels 1988 Sonoma County Riesling 8.00

Chappellet 1986 Napa Valley Chenin Blanc"Dry" 7.50

Creston Manor 1988 San Luis Obispo White Zinfandel 6.00

RED WINES Hess Collection 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $13.50

Conn Creek 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Select 14.50

Pine Ridge 1986 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Cuvee 16.00

Pine Ridge 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Pine Ridge Stag's Leap Vineyard-EstateBottled 26.00

Silverado Vineyards 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 12.50

Vichon 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Stag's Leap District 20.00

Chimney Rock 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 16.00

Chappellet 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 20.00

Christian Brothers 1985 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon--Estate Bottled 9.00

San Saba 1986 Monterey Cabernet Sauvignon--Estate Bottled 15.00

Fisher Vineyard 1986 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon Coach Insignia 20.00

Guenoc 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon Premier Cuvee 17.50

Franciscan 1985 Oakville Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 11.00

Smith & Hook 1984 Monterey County Cabernet Sauvignon--Estate Bottled 12.00

Jordan 1985 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 19.50

Ventana Vineyards 1986 Monterey Magnus Cabernet Sauvignon 20.00

Stone Gate 1986 Napa Valley Merlot 15.00

Flora Springs 1985 Napa Valley Trilogy Red Table Wine 30.00

Cain Five 1986 Napa Valley Red Table Wine 30.00

Geyser Peak 1985 Reserve Alexandre 18.00

Opus One 1986 Napa Valley Red Table Wine Mondavi/Rothschild 50.00

Dominus Estate 1985--Red Table Wine 45.00

Buena Vista 1985 Carneros Pinot Noir--Private Reserve 14.00

Carneros Creek 1987 Los Carneros Pinot Noir 15.00

Beaulieu Vineyard 1987 Los Carneros Pinot Noir Napa Valley--Reserve 11.25

Robert Mondavi 1984 Napa Valley Pinot Noir Reserve 25.00

Creston Manor 1988 San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir (Petit de Noir) 8.00

Bonny Doon 1987 Le Cigare Volant 15.00

Charles Shaw 1989 Napa Valley Gamay Beaujolais Harvest Wine 6.00

Enz Vineyards 1984 Lime Kiln Valley Zinfandel (Old Vines) 10.00

DESSERT WINES

Chateau de Baun 1987 Finale Late Harvest Symphony (tenths) $14.00

Santa Barbara Winery 1987 Santa Ynez Valley Late Harvest Zinfandel Essence (tenths) 15.00

Vichon 1986 Napa Valley Botrytis Semillon (tenths) 15.00

Bonny Doon Vineyard 1988 Muscat Canelli--Vin de Glaciere (tenths) 15.00

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