Wines That Over Deliver

ChTourSalvetThinking about Value in Wine
Value is a funny thing. When we hear value, we tend to think of lower-priced wines (many of which do not deliver value) but low-priced wine is nowhere near the whole story. While it may be hard to think of $75 bottle of wine as a value, the fact is that many (which is not to say most) are. Saying that a wine offers value means that it over-delivers at its price point. Once viewed in that light, it becomes clear that there are values – wines that over-deliver – at every price point, just as there are wines that under-deliver at every price point.

What is hard for me is to say that “this $25 wine is ‘as-good-as-that’ $75 wine” – because in the vast majority of cases, it isn’t. If it were, the market would have pushed up the price of the $25 bottle and pushed down the price of the $75 bottle. Or both. If, over the long term, both wines are stable at their price points (meaning that they have achieved market equilibrium), then, at least for those who are buying them, they deliver at least fair value at their respective price points.

While much is made of the occasional blind tasting where a cheaper wine trounces a flashier bottling, it happens less often than you might think. You hear about it because it’s so unusual and because it becomes news. An expensive wine trouncing a cheap wine isn’t news (and so is not reported) because that’s what’s supposed to (and most often does) happen. So you read about the cheap wine that won. And you wonder if it really is better.

When I read about something like that, I ask some questions:
– How where the wines tasted and presented?
– Were they tasted or drunk?
– How much time did the tasters have with each wine?
– Could they directly compare back and forth?
– Did the tasters know the prices of the two wines?
– Was there an interest in the outcome or bias on the part of whoever was conducting the tasting?

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BORDEAUX By The NUMBERS

FIVE CHATEAUX – THREE VINTAGES – FIFTEEN GLASSES – ONE GOOD TIME

On Monday, August 24th at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for BORDEAUX by the NUMBERS, a unique Bordeaux tasting featuring three-vintage verticals from five of my favorite chateaux: Cantemerle, Cantenac Brown, Gruaud Larose, Grand Puy Lacoste, and Calon Segur. In a virtual south-to-north tour of classified chateaux of the Haut Medoc, we’ll taste the 2010, 2011, and 2012 vintages from each of these properties. Each chateau represents its appellation with great quality at fair, un-hyped pricing. These are the sort of wines that make me love Bordeaux.

Why? Because I am intrigued to taste these wines as verticals. It will be fun and informative. The cost of this unique tasting will be $100.00 per person (Cash or Check) or $105.26 regular. The course will meet at 7pm on Monday August 24, 2015. To reserve your spot, please contact Susan at 713-854-7855 or coburnsusan2@gmail.com.

L’Alliance Française is the French cultural center in Houston. Located at 427 Lovett Blvd., l’Alliance is on the southeast corner of Lovett and Whitney (one block south of Westheimer and two blocks east of Montrose).