Magazine article Black Enterprise

Top Wine Picks

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Top Wine Picks

Article excerpt

Expert advice on choosing the premium vintages

Would you splurge to the tune of $29,950 for a single bottle of wine? Many wine enthusiasts might, if it's a bottle of Jeroboam Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1870. The best wines tend to be rare (and are found most often at wine auctions) and thus expensive, according to Daniel Johnnes, wine director for New York's Montrachet restaurant and owner of the import-export company Jeroboam Wines.

But all of the best wines don't have to be costly. It all depends on your palate, notes Eileen Fredrikson, partner of San Francisco-based wine consultants Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates. "Whatever taste you enjoy is the `best wine,'" she says.

Many experts, however, agree the world's best wines come from France, especially from the Burgundy, Rhone Valley and Bordeaux regions, says Johnnes. Among Johnnes picks for the best wines are Domaine de la Romanee Conti 1996 (about $360 per bottle) and Musigny Comte de Vogue ($200), both burgundies. There's also Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1996 ($322) and Chateau Margaux 1996 ($316), both bordeaux. From the Rhone Valley, any vintage of Hermitage ($100 plus) is considered one of the best, says Johnnes. According to Fredrikson, cabernet sauvignon is "considered to be the most complex red wine and chardonnay is generally considered the `queen' of white wines." Experts also tend to favor Italian wines from Chianti and Piedmont. "There are also glorious wines from Spain and California," says Johnnes.

When selecting California wines, advises Fredrikson, "Look for ones with the grape from a coastal region, such as Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Monterey, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara."

Drink an aged wine, like a cabernet, for special occasions. Aged wines start at about $25 a bottle and go up into the hundreds. "Find a brand you like and buy a case when it's first released," says Fredrikson. …

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