Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Is a $100 wine better?"

I got this question from a couple of older civilians who say they like wine, but could never imagine spending that much money on it.

Here's the answer I gave: "It depends on the $100 wine. They are not all the same, not at all. A lot of wineries just charge more for reputation. And wine varies a lot. We all have personal preferences. There might be a $100 wine that somebody thinks is terrific but that I'm bored by.

It also depends on why the wine costs $100. Is it a new wine that costs $100 on release? Then I think it's less likely to be worth it to you. But if you're spending $100 for a wine that has aged for some years, then it might be worth it for the unique experience.

I am willing to spend $100 on wines that I think are both interesting and delicious. Maybe it comes from some special vineyard and they don't make very much of it and scarcity is the reason it's expensive."

Her: "But what does a $100 wine taste like to make it worth it?" (she and her husband look at me skeptically)

Me: "For me, a $100 wine should have complexity, meaning I taste a lot of different flavors in it; balance (which I didn't define but should have); and a long finish. A long finish means that you continue to taste it long after you sipped it. For me it's probably the best thing about a great wine.

But to find a wine like that, you can't just buy any $100 wine. You need advice from somebody who has tasted the wine. It's best to go to a good wine shop, maybe try some cheaper wines to see if you agree with their judgments. Or you can ask a sommelier at a restaurant you trust. All $100 wines are not the same. But some of them are worth it, yes."

Here's the answer I should have given: "Not for you ma'am."

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Unknown said...

No, the answer you should have given is "They taste like a twenty dollar wine twenty years ago". Too bad normal working peoples' buying power didn't increase with the prices.

W. Blake Gray said...

Also a good answer, Bruce.

Bob Rossi said...

Also, a $100 wine on a restaurant list is far different than a $100 wine at a wine shop. Like 300% different.