Tag Archives: wine

The Wine Whine

Over the years, I’ve worked at some very nice restaurants that have expensive wine lists. I’ve sold lots of bottles costing hundreds of dollars, even a bottle of wine for $1,500.

I thought a $1,500 bottle couldn’t possibly be 100 times better than some wines selling for $15 a bottle; or could a $150 bottle be even ten times better? Wine prices seem to be driven higher mostly by scarcity.

Expensive wines tend to be from smaller vineyards and over time there’re fewer and fewer bottles for sale as they’re consumed or squirreled away.¬†Then the mystique increases around certain wines driven by reputation as well as the expectation of goodness that comes with a price that high.

Over the years I’ve attended lots of wine seminars, some were informative and others a lot of foolishness. But the situation with wine often becomes one like the king that has no clothes. Everyone has to go along with the highest status person’s opinion in the room.

I’ve been listening to the Freakonomics Radio audio podcast. It’s really good. If you enjoy “This American Life,” you’ll like this show, the hosts even sound the same. Anyway, each show digs into a different subject attempting to shine the light of reason on that subject’s often unexplored nooks.

One show asked “Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?” The short answer is just what I’ve always thought, no. And most of the “experts” don’t have much more sophisticated taste buds than the rest of us. Sure, they’re up on region and varietal names, know who’s who, and how to describe what a particular wine tastes like. But, when it comes to choosing which wine is which in blind tastings they don’t do too well. Have a listen.

Some of the best advice I’ve heard about wine is to drink what you enjoy and to try branching out and try different types of wine.

And who buys a $1,500 bottle of wine? No idea who he was, but he just drank a couple of cocktails, not the wine, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy them.