Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is Wine Better if I spend more $$$?

I often find myself hearing about certain types of wine and wanting to try them, only to find out that the price per bottle is well over what I feel comfortable paying.  For example I have been wanting very much to try a nice Sauterne wine from Bordeaux but cannot bring myself to pay the 50+ dollars for a bottle that will supply me with one day of enjoyment.  Am I missing out?  Should I allow myself to splurge and try these allegedly lovely wines for special occasions?  Is a 50 dollar bottle of Sauterne 5 times more delicious and satisfying that a $10 Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand?

The truth is that price is not generally proportional to quality or level on enjoyability in wine.  In fact I find that most of the fun comes in finding great QPR (quality to price ratio) wines.  Its like uncovering a secret treasure or beating the system of wine hierarchy.  It's SO satisfying!  So if price isn't proportional (per se), why are some of the wines you see so stink'n expensive.  There are several factors that can really tag on the $$$'s:  quality of soil, decreased yield produced, popularity, aging, and certain vintages with better weather.

One way to taste the pleasures of a certain area without putting down a pretty penny is to know a little about the specific appellation.  For example: say you are in the market for a nice chardonnay from France but don't want to spend too much.  Instead of getting the Pouilly-Fuisse, which is a popular white chard from Burgundy, you might just go down a level in price by selecting the Macon-Villages and get a perfectly nice wine.  I also think a good way to find hidden gems is to purchase wines from regions that are not as widely popular in the US.  You can get some AMAZING wines from Spain for dirt cheap.  Also, some of the wines from Chile and South Africa are making some waves.  My husband and I just had The Wolftrap (blend of Syrah, cab sauv, and viognier)  from S.A. and it was phenomenal!  The important thing always is to just keep trying different things.  Don't fall into the rut of just selecting the same old Yellow Tail wine you always get.  You will find each wine you try starts to develop its own personality and that's the fun of it, right?

The thing to remember about wine is that it IS fun and doesn't have to be expensive.  But if you do have the money, well hey....go for it!