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Rsider, like I said Im very passive about wine, and half the time Im not paying attention to what Im drinking to know if I like Merlots vs Cabernets, Pinots from Chardonays, though I do like all Reislings and this Turning Leaf one so i guess i have a sweet tooth on wines.
The one thing I learned that I dont like in wine is the obvious factor,tannins. Something of which Ive encountered in very expensive bottles of french wine that made me realize like art, I will never completely understand what prices wine so much.
Most expensive wine Ive ever had was a '76 Lafite in the mid to late 90s. I'll admit was pretty smooth but I did taste better $40 dollar bottles.
But yes, most important is that you enjoy it.
Of course a wino on the street is quite happy with some Champipple. (For the old school Sanford and Son fans)
Champagne and Ripple! of course i remember.
And if you thought the Lafite was over-priced maybe you know more than you let on.
>And if you thought the Lafite was over-priced maybe you know more than you let on
Well a big deal was made over it at the time and I didnt purchase it.
By the reaction(s) I assumed it was well over $500 at the time. it was my then girlfriend's birthday who's dad owned the restaurant and her alcoholic mother was finishing off anything anyone left in their glass during the 5 course tasting. It was kind of funny actually.
To me any bottle (sans bottle service) over $100 is over-priced :)
First, $500 for a 1976 Lafite would have been a gross if not absurd over payment back in the late 1990s. For the most part, the 1970's were a lost decade in Bordeaux - and while the Lafite might have been decent, I would suspect that it would (should) not have been valued so richly at most restaurants.
Second, while I recognize that wine prices have become super inflated and outrageous over the past 5-10 yrs, appreciating wine is a lot like appreciating food. Someone could have a $3 sausage and be perfectly satisfied but think that another person paying several hundred for a whole suckling pig is a "fool". While they both are eating the same animal, they are having very different experiences. Or you could go to Wendy's and have a great meal and wonder why someone would spend 100 times as much for the same amount of food at Eleven Madison Park. For the most part, there is a significant difference between "cheap" mass-produced wines and "expensive" limited-production wines - especially how the wines are produced and their end chemical make-up and quality. Typically speaking, a $10 bottle of wine is grapes plus a TON of chemicals while a $100 bottle of wine is grapes with a lot less chemical additives. Unfortunately, the "spread" between cheap and expensive wines has widened over the last decade but the fact remains that most higher-end wines engage in more selective and quality controlled bottling practices than mass-produced labels that use chemicals and other non-natural practices to ensure a uniform taste over hundreds of thousands, if not millions of cases of wine every "vintage". (The exception here is Dom Perignon, which produces 700K+ of vintage champagne a year with unbelievable consistency.)
It doesn't mean that if you like cheap wines you have bad taste. The fact is that lower-end wine production quality has improved dramatically over the last several decades - boxed wine today is a lot better than the boxed wine of the 1980's. A lot of mass-produced wine is targeted to a wide audience that tends to have a "neutral pallet" - they want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage that is slightly "fruity"... yeah, that sums it up... and manufacturers (note I didn't say vintners) are more than happy to deliver that universally accepted end product by the jug load. And there is nothing wrong with that. Complexity and variety doesn't sell millions of cases of wine.
The more segmented and limited-supply individual vineyard wine market is able to charge more than the "jug" industry because they, on a producer by producer basis, make less wine than larger labels that blend a ton of different varietals/vineyards/regions together in their bottlings. It is not to say that today's higher-end prices reflect real value - but given supply/demand or hype, they are what they are.
you left out the mega-purple
To expand on Memito's comments. There are some very identifiable reasons why some wine costs more than others. I'll list then in no particular order.
First there's oak, new french oak is expensive around $600+ per barrel. Personally I like unoaked white wine, so I'm able to buy excellent quality whites for $10-$30. Oak doesn't mean the wine is better, it just means the character will be less on the mineral side, and more affected by wood tannins. Some of the adjectives used to describe Chardonnay owe much to the oak treatment.
Second you have the forces of supply and demand. When it comes to Burgundy & Bordeaux, there's only so much land that can produce these wines, and in for many in this segment Napa or Oregon no matter what one's view on these areas, are in reality not a substitute, especially for collectors.
Third you have limited production, especially in Burgundy with many plots of land having been subdivided over succeeding generations. Some producers have productions measured in hundreds of bottles not thousands. You can win here by avoiding those producers and purchasing from the bigger negociants who produce excellent quality such as Jadot, Drouhin and Bouchard.
Fourth, as far as those seemingly over-priced Bordeaux wines where the taste feels fleshy, overly fruity and can feel like that DDD sized stripper...well blame that on global warming and Robert Parker. Wines are sold by ratings and Parker helps sell wines. To get the top rating, they produce toward his style. And whether or not you agree about global warming, the truth is Bordeaux's climate has behaved more like Napa recently, so the wines begin to feel less about terroir than the fruit.
Fifth you can blame greed and hype, especially in Bordeaux where the producers hail every vintage as "must have" and very much attempt to extract top dollar. This is less the case in Burgundy where the vineyeards are more family owned and less corporate owned and producers tend to be very cautious until the wine is well past tank phase before making even guarded opinions.
So how do you pick, well knowledge is key. If you like Cabernet Franc which is less tanic than say Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc you can either go right bank and pay $50-$300 for a third, second, first growth bottling or you can go to an area like Chinon and get a really nice bottle for $15-$30 dollars. Or if you like Burgundy you can stay with high quality Bourgogne or explore the Wilamette vallley. And if you don't like oakey wines, then that's another easy way to save money, don't buy them. And if you do like Bordeaux or Napa the odds are you may like some of the Spanish Wines that go for a lot less.
And one last point, lots of wines get marked down at year end to make room for the new productions and often these new bottles are just not ready to drink. That Pomerol wine that everyone is talking about in the press, well they're buying it based on what they think/hope it may taste like in 12 years. Open it now and you're likely to be disappointed.
From the third or fourth post on this thread from 2-1/2 years ago -
"...Liv-ex 100 Fine Wine Index is the industry's leading benchmark..."
I just checked.
The value of the index as of 31 May 2009 was 214.04
The value of the index as of 30 November 2011 was 297.96
A return of about 40%+ over the past 30 months.
Not such a bad return....
You can thank Hong Kong for that.
Index is down 20% since this summer. But from 12/31/08-12/31/11 it's up 155% in pure index change, which contrasts with beats the S&P by leasp and bounds.
Everything you say about the Lafite is quite possible,Ive professed my ignorance to wines and was just relaying an experience.
I think the manner of your food example exaggerates where I was going with my comments but nevertheless, I understand and generally agree with most your saying.
But food is a bit too general, everyone (or 99%?) of people love food. So if you wanted to argue subcategorically about meat, or vegetables or fruits, etc., I think that would be more apropos.
I don't Love wine. I "tolerate" it. For me personally, the tannins so overwhelm me the way green pepper overwhelms a food dish, at least for me. It is so completely distracting to everyhting else that may be going on in the wine.
And so....while I should likely ammend my exaggeration that "any bottle over $100 is over-priced," it does not change that often rather than occasionally, paying a large sum for a bottle can still get you a bottle of crap.
To go food specific, buying chicken at Wendys vs (and you picked my fav restaurant) Eleven Madison Park, paying more guarantees a better tasting dish. On freshness alone.
And on that note, another story;
One night having dinner at 11 Mad, I wasnt feeling anything on the menu. And I kept looking at the chicken dish and said to myself, " I can't order chicken in a great restaurant, that's a "cheap" food and tastes the same everywhere, how much better can it be." But I succumbed it was one of the most memorable pieces I ever had.
A $25 chicken plate will nearly guarantee a far superior encounter with a flightless bird than a $5 plate. You cannot honestly say that with a $20 and a $100 bottle of wine.
truthskr10 -- some thoughts.
While I suspect your issue with tannins is reflective of your more "subtle" palate, part of it has to do with aging & how the wine was created. The more old-world and more high-priced a wine is, the more tannins they put into the wine, and the longer you need to age it. While a $10-20 red from California is usually ready to drink today and will likely be past-peak in 10 years, you don't really want to touch even a $10-20 Bordeaux for the first 10 years. Similarly, as most high-priced California reds hit peak age at around 10-15 years, most high-priced Bordeaux hit it 20+ years out.
On the 1976 Lafite drunk in the late 90's, the smoothness is how the wine should be: this is what's supposed to happen to the tannins. As for it not being as good as some $40 bottles you've had, you could probably find $10 bottles that taste better to you. If you look at ratings from some professionals, they certainly thought so. If you take a mediocre tannic wine and lay it down for 20 years, you end up with a mediocre smooth wine, $500 price tag notwithstanding.
I personally think it's actually pretty easy to find great wine at low price points. At high price points, it gets much tougher: the incremental quality vs. price is harder to achieve, the production quantities are lower, and people in the know snap up the quality inventory quickly. What's left for you to buy, in the store or in the restaurant, is the lesser stuff. Unfortunately, wine is very fickle and hard to produce consistently. So unless you buy wine for sport & store it, your best bet is to stick at lower price points.
On your chicken-in-a-restaurant story, I'm actually a big fan of chicken at restaurants. Making a great steak at home is easy: start with great meat and 6-8 minutes in a cast iron pan, you can't go wrong. Crab or tuna tartare: good meat, no cooking. Shrimp? Piece-of-cake. Chicken breast? The distance between "cooked through" and "dried out" is a minute or two and takes intimate knowledge of the thickness of the meat and heat used to cook. Add crisp skin and a pan sauce to the equation, it's no easy task.
When I go to a restaurant, I'm going for the experienced chef doing the hard work, not easy-to-cook quality ingredients I can have at home.
Actually tannins are just one ingredient. If it were only so simple. It's also about sugar content, so there's an incentive to let the grapes sit on the vine as long as possible. After that there's contact between the wine and the grapes, temperature, oak treatment etc. There are many great wines that are designed to be drinkable within years of bottling and not decades. This does not make them bad, just more accessible. And one more point, the vast majority of wines, despite being advertised to be stored are drank much earlier.
"Drank much earlier"? Sounds like you started already.
This is the ultimate movie scene for anyone into wine
Yes I think my palate is the biggest part of the problem, as it is stuck in teenage phase.
Meaning, as a teenager, all alcohol tasted harsh and only through age and repitition to maybe dullen some senses opened up doors to the details of taste.
This eventually worked for me with vodka, as I generally have a palate for vodka. I love Kettle One, I find it the smoothest, along with Belvedere. Grey Goose is hardly "the best tasting" vodka. A true marketing lie.
Of course, the very first vodka drink offers the most ability to suss out difference in taste. Each subsequent glass diminshes this ability. :)
At my age, I think my wine palate may be etched in stone, no matter how much I drink.
But thank you for some of your explanations on the tannin aspect, it opens the door for more wine questions. I see how there can be confusion buying wine in the store, knowing what you should be drinking, and what you should be storing. But a restaurant should be serving strictly what's ripe to drink.
SO if a restaurant (using your Bourdeaux example) were offering a $50 2008 Bordeaux, in one's mind, the whole wine list should be buyer beware as the owner's knowledge of wine is suspect?
Yes that experience got me off my fowl snobbery at restaurants. And your right, as I generally dislike chicken white meat, an experienced pro will make it good.
At home, I have a fool proof method for chicken thighs, something I grill at least 2 days a week in warm months, bone side down for the majority of the cook time (@30mins) until the top side with the skin appears cooked. Then flip for 10mins cooking on the skin side. Its the same juicy result everytime.
Actually 2008 Bordeaux is called a "restaurant vintage"
"Layer Cake". Available at Crush Wine on E. 57th St.
$16.99 a bottle. Juicy, fruit-foward. Serve chilled. Delish with pizza.
Not very hip or edgy but tastes good.
In connection with the wine talk, I wonder if anyone's given any thought to food pairings. Pauillacs don't go well with Italian pasta dishes(especially vegetarian ones)
@ Monza, in Eataly, we had pasta dishes and suggestion was fruity Tuscan red from Maremma, called Sughere Di Frassinello. But these were meaty past dishes. For veggy pasta dishes maybe a fruitier red, like a Valpolicella?
RvrSdr, if you reverse back a step, ask Monsieur Google for a Gooey Wild-Mushroom Lasagna recipe from the times at end of Nov. Fab recipe that would pair perfectly with the red you search.
interesting. I would've picked a lighter style Pinot Noire or a Barbera.
>lighter style Pinot Noire
I can't 2nd Crush enough... great shop for lower to high end wine. Great customer service. www.crushwineco.com
Chambers Street Wines is another great shop for less-popular but spectacular wines. www.chambersstwines.com
"SO if a restaurant (using your Bourdeaux example) were offering a $50 2008 Bordeaux, in one's mind, the whole wine list should be buyer beware as the owner's knowledge of wine is suspect?"
I think you should treat all wine lists as buyer beware. There are some restaurants that go out of their way to make sure what they are serving is uniformly great, but these are few and far between. With age-worthy wine, it becomes harder. Suppose you are a restaurant where offering 10-20 year aged Bordeaux is not practical. Are you going to offer absolutely no Bordeaux? Doubtful, as customers "want" it even if it's unaged.
wine is a fad. it is not an economic indicator. there's chocolate wine now. just about ever state in the country has a vineyard(to go wine tasting-social). There is a lot of cheap wine out there. that's why they flavor some with chocolate now
Wine is not a flash in the pan. It's been made , produced and collected fo centuries.
And I would disagree on another level, during hard economic times, restaurants are apt to sell cheaper wines or sell less period.
Back in 2008 a number of retaurants moved away from expensive wines and pushed less widely known varietals such as Fiano
memito: Drew thanks you.
The "Layer Cake" is so good that when Drew goes out someplace and wants to bring a nice red he gets the Layer Cake. He's Drew Nieporent and he owns Crush. He knows wine and food pairings.
Next time you go in, visit Ian back in Fine Wines. He's the Fine Wine buyer.
in relation to wine lists, i had lunch a few years back @ nougatine. i saw they had a reasonably priced savennieres on the list, and thought it might go nicely with a spicy chicken dish that was the main course. Sommelier admitted he loved savennieres and he had one older vintage bottle left that was not on the list, and he would discount it for me. Off I went, and it was delish. Nice when you find a wine list created by people with passion for lesser known varietals (chenin blanc is not really lesser known, but not always on every wine list).
Savennieres is great!
tell me, how long have they been making chocolate wine? Wine is just marketed better these days. not any type of indicator.
Had a stellar inexpensive Bordeaux the other day.
Le cloitre du chateau prieuré lichine margaux 2004
But it's score of 84 of wine-searcher reminds my palate stinks.
Has anyone encountered this wine? Would love an outside opinion.
Billard-Gonnet Bourgogne 2009. A little soft but very balanced, no over-oaked fruit bomb. This is something to try if you don't want to break a $20 bill.
Probably tastes like watered down Cab.
Not at all. Very much a Pinot. And at that price point a cab would taste like drek. Actually you need to spend multiples of that to get a decent Cab, but I can't see why one would want to when you could get a 1st Crus Pommard with that steak.
This is what caught my eye. This and a Clives Coates review.
Among the reds, our best value at $17 was also our favorite, the Billard-Gonnet Vieilles Vignes, a textbook red Burgundy, with pure, sweet red fruit along with a touch of herbal and mineral flavors for complexity’s sake. Both our No. 2, Gérard Mugneret, and No. 3, Virgile Lignier-Michelot, showed more intensity of flavor, but lacked the finesse and balance of the Billard-Gonnet. These top reds, too, are good values and worth seeking out.
How about the price of a candy bar from a street vendor?
IF there is one investment that has more to do with the heart than the head, it’s vineyards. It is also one that lends itself to jokes whose punch lines are always about losing money.
But that risk has never deterred wealthy people. Nor has the current economic malaise damped their spirits. These are people who made fortunes in profitable industries like shower doors and title insurance but define success in the winemaking business as breaking even. And most seem to accept the prospect of losing a manageable amount of money over many years.
The wealthians love to own vineyards. If they aren't wealthy enough to own one then ifthey are a celeb they get a naming deal.
red wine,white wine drinkin' wine
spirits are out , wine is in
Super rich are spending. Have a friend who works at a houte couture house where little dresses start at 10k, she says business is booming. Th regular rich though who spend let's say 1k on a dress, not so much according to latest figures.
Lucille, you deserve only the best.
just so we're clear, you are offering to buy me a 10k dress?
lots of these items go to people pretending to be rich. They buy one blow several months savings, all for the illusion. If only rich people shopped at these rich shops most would be out of business.
Best $30 Burgundy bar none. Contains grapes too young for clos de mouches
Driving up the price and they're getting bad wine.....WTF?
But you knew that. Did you know that a wine’s can be chemical structure can be permanently altered within 18 hours at 86 degrees F (30 decrees C)? And did you know that 90% of wine shipped from France to China reaches 86 degrees, according to one analysis?