Wine Snobbery: Can Cheap be Chic?

I was listening to a freakanomics podcast the other day...
(click that link to listen if you'd like to hear it)
The podcast discusses something I've often wondered,
is expensive wine really better than cheap wine?
We are introduced to two men who both put this question to the test.
One, an economist and the other, a food & wine writer.
The podcast made me think of our Fall trip to Calistoga/Napa/Yountville.
We visited Charles Krug.....
Charles Krug has good wine that is still reasonably priced
and cheap wine that still tastes good.
We got a private tour of the cellar... was pretty cool.
We also visited Robert Mondavi.
We enjoyed the views but did not taste.

Then we moseyed.
I've always been suspicious of expensive wine.
Probably mostly because I'm cheap.
That said, although I appreciate that quality ingredients absolutely make a difference in the end result of a recipe, doesn't personal preference count for something too?
Take for example, Opus One.
A single tasting (which we were told is big enough for two) is $50.
Yes.  That would be $50 for one glass taste of wine.

No wonder their digs are so nice.
We didn't taste at Opus One.
And I have to ask, can the wine really be that good?
I mean, seriously.

WTH are they putting in that shiz?  Golden grapes?
(They weren't telling)
We moseyed again.
But first we took a picture just to prove we'd been there.
And then we went to Silver Oak.
We did taste here.
I think it was something like $30 for both of us to taste.
Plus we got two really nice wine glasses to take home. 
Not bad by Napa standards.
Personally, I prefer to taste in the Sierra Foothills,

where tasting is FREE.
Yes, I said free.
Plus, it's slightly closer to home.
So, without ruining the podcast for you, I'll tell you this:
it seems money "taste's" good,
and cheap wine also tastes good (if we don't know it's cheap).
Apparently, if we know wine is expensive, we'll say it tastes better than cheaper wine.
But if we don't know it's expensive, (think blind test), we'll probably pick a cheap wine.
One thing is for sure,
there is not enough wine in the world
to make your husband want to sit and pose for a crap-ton of pictures.
Here is my take:
I've done a blind tasting.  
It was a champagne tasting, actually.
The winner was a $3 bottle of Andre.
Not kidding.
I agree that a lot of people base their "taste" for wine on its price.
I don't agree that pricey is better.
That said, I don't think super cheap is the best either.
Have you ever had a Two Buck Chuck hangover?
Just sayin'.
I think you can get a good bottle of wine for $10-$20.
I also think, it just depends on what you like.
What's gross to me may be delicious to you, right?
So let me share with you my sure-fire method for buying wine.

Pick what's almost gone.
That's right.

If it's almost out, it must be good.
It hasn't failed me yet.


P.S.  This last winery pictured is Quixote.  It was pretty cool, but you had to have an appointment, so we just wandered around a bit.   It is worth checking out, off the beaten path for sure.

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1 comment:

  1. Sarah,

    This post made me laugh! So great. Overall though, very informative post!



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