Friday, July 11, 2008
Oh, expensive wine IS good
There's a lot of distrust between casual wine drinkers and wine critics and those who make a living in the wine trade over quality to price ratios. Most people don't buy it when you tell them that $50 wine is twice as good as a $25 one or a $100 is 4 times better. And their skepticism is probably appropriate. I've not had nearly as many high-end wines as most people in this business but I've had enough to know that the laws of diminishing returns are usually pretty valid. There's plenty of $100 bottles that are only slightly better than the $50 or $25 ones (and some are worse). This is a complex subject which I plan on revisiting but my point here is that sometimes the expensive wine is also the best one hands down. At a farewell party for a coworker the other night we opened several bottles of wine and the favorite and clearly the wine with the highest quality factor was a 1987 Forey Eschezeaux. At about $80 or $90 a bottle it's certainly not in the category of super-premium wine or something, but it was more expensive than the other bottles which were all good and all in the $20-$40 range. Now, someone else may have preferred one of the other bottles opened but you'll just have to trust me and the judgement of six people who all work at wine shop together when I say the Burgundy was the best. Of course a Grand Cru Burgundy should be the best right? Well the '87 vintage is pretty spotty and Eschezeaux is also pretty spotty (as far as Grand Cru appellations go) so we could have had a very disappointing bottle and like I said it wasn't up against a bunch of average, everyday wine either. But it was really, very good. Was it worth what it would have cost? Well that would depend on what you make, but I don't think it would ever have been a total rip-off. I guess there is always a better use for that money . . . yes, there's always a better use. But I didn't pay for it I just drank it and I would drink it again.