11/12/2009

Can't Buy Me Love

Posted by The Wine Whore |


What's the most expensive bottle of wine you ever bought? Was it worth it?

I am sure most people have me beat on this one, but my most expensive bottle would have to be a 2003 Opus One (~$170). Honestly, I was a bit dissapointed. Perhaps this is a bottle of wine that is better enjoyed with more age. Don't get me wrong, it was complex, rich, and enjoyable... but aside from the experience of getting to taste the hype, I just don't think it was worth the pricetag.

Has anyone else found that money can't buy them love when it comes to the grape?


Cheers!



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19 comments:

Kevin Glowacki said...

I think the most disappointing wine I've had was a particularly highly rated 2004 single vineyard Pinot Noir. It wasn't THAT expensive, somewhere around $60 or $70, but the 96 point rating it got left me wondering what the hype was all about.

At trade tastings, you taste a lot of very expensive wines that are just too young to be given a real evaluation, so I was lucky in that regard.

The point remains, price and points are no guarantee of pleasure.

The Wine Whore said...

I like your last statement: "Price and point are no guarantee of pleasure"

I was discussing this with a buddy the other day... he seemed to believe that you HAD to spend at least $30 to get a "good" bottle of wine.

Obviously this is NOT always the case!

Cheers!

Scott Abernethy said...

I've never spent more than about $60 for a bottle, but have tasted a couple wines retailing for over $100. I have mixed feelings about the expensive wines, and find it difficult to justify spending that much money if I can get the same enjoyment from a wine at 1/5 the price. A good example: Barnard Griffin's Tulip Merlot ($14) just won Best of Class at a wine festival against 27 other Merlots, many of which were much more expensive. Widely available, yet the favorite of 6 highly respected judges.

The Wine Whore said...

That just goes to show you that price doesn't mean anything when it comes to choosing a bottle of wine.

I am curious to know what factors wineries actually consider when it comes to pricing their wine...

Thoughts?

Scott Abernethy said...

WHAT FACTORS WINERIES ACTUALLY CONSIDER WHEN IT COMES TO PRICING -- Most wineries target a specific market. If it's a high end market, they buy premium grapes, new barrels, a lot of hands-on, age longer, etc. Other wineries go for mid-range market and adjust accordingly. Then there are those that get the leftovers and produce a lot of junk as cheaply as possible and end up on the bottom shelf at the supermarket. It starts in the vineyards with the grape growers long before the wine ever gets into a cheap or expensive bottle.

The Wine Whore said...

That makes total sense... I once did a tasting where the winery actually asked the tasters how much they would pay for the wine. I thought this was cool because the wine hadn't been released yet. Now, I couldn't tell you how much influence myself or anyone else that was surveyed actually had on the price in the end.... Do wineries actually take advantage of consumer opinion BEFORE they price a bottle of wine?

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

RE: Dear Winery: What do you consider when pricing your wine?

Costs, competitors, supply/demand and how much that new Audi will set me back.

Jamie Irving said...

I completely agree with Kevin that points are no guarantee of pleasure - in that respect it's always good to align yourself with a critic who has a similar palate.

In terms of price I think it can be an indicator. I've never had a great wine in the sub-$8 range, but I've had plenty of $15-20 wines which, in my opinion, were better than $50+ wines.

Having said all that, I am a collector of Penfolds Grange. I don't know if it's the quality or the fact Penfolds have done good marketing on me, but I always enjoy the buzz that goes with opening one.

The Wine Whore said...

Jamie, I like your point about the Penfolds... you collect them because you actually ENJOY the wine. That's not only really cool, but it's also what it should be all about!

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy collecting wine and have a modest, growing cellar. It doesn't contain any Scream Eagle or 1st grown Bordeaux (even though it is my favorite region). The most expensive being 2004 Gaja Langhe sperss (Barolo) retails about 250.00. I have found that when buying bordeaux a lot of the 2nd growth chateaux are producing on the same level as the 1st. anyways, I guess for my purposes price takes a differnt context. I will get years...decades of enjoyment out of building my cellar, tracking the wines, purchasing future vintages for verticals, then finally opening a bottle on what I have deemed to be a fitting occation. And when my son turns 21 or graduates from high school (which ever comes first lol) I will have the perfect bottle from his birth year to celebrate. So your question about worth is a difficult one.

The Wine Whore said...

I really enjoyed reading your comment... the only thing more important than a nice collection of wine, is the story behind it. In you case, you have both!

Can I ask which bottle of wine you will be enjoying for your son's birthday?

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Probably 1998 Leoville Las Cases or rieussec which are the only 2 bordeaux I have from that vintage and bought online from an older vintage site because I havent been collecting that long and wanted something for this occasion. I have a couple of barolo from that vintage but I doubt they will live that long. I really don't know of any other wines outside of bordeaux that would still be drinking well 21 years after its conception. married in Sept. so I'm hoping the 2009 vintage will end up as good as you say they were raving on your trip. Matt

The Wine Whore said...

That's really cool! I don't know of any other wines that can stand up to age as well as some of the better quality Bordeaux wines. My fear about collecting wine for an occasion is that I would hate to wait for years only to find that the bottle I was saving went bad. I guess that even if the wine did go bad, it would still be pretty cool to be able to open an old vintage to commemorate a special occasion. Maybe I'd just have a back-up bottle handy, just in case! : )

I hope I am right about the 2009 vintage too. The good news is that I know other people who know more about wine than I do who have gone out there and confirmed what I heard and saw about the 2009 vintage... time will tell!

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Yeah I try to buy at least two of everything (budget provided of course) but i do only have one of each of these :(

The Wine Whore said...

Two of each would be awesome but if budget doesn't provide, which is tough considering the cost of these types of wines, I would just have an old faithful on hand to enjoy in case things don't work out. Doesn't have to be anything crazy... just something to enjoy while you laugh about what just happened and celebrate the moment!

Anyone else have a funny moment from a collected vintage gone awry?

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

1970 La Mission Haut Brion - totally ruined
1985 Dunn Howell Mountain - past its prime... sour cherries, oak, no finish

I'm ashamed to admit how much I paid for these disappointing bottles

The Wine Whore said...

LOL! I won't ask how much, but I have to know... did you buy them when they were just released and held on to them... and if so, how long did you wait?


Cheers!

Richard Auffrey said...

I definitely agree with everyone that price does not guarantee quality or pleasure. The most I have ever spent on a bottle of wine is $125. I considered it worth the price, though I have tasted wines worth much more than that, which I never would have bought.

Another factor to consider is that some of the more expensive wines do require some getting used to in order to best appreciate them. If you have not tasted a lot of older Bordeaux, you may not fully appreciate a quality one. But if you have a lot of such experience, you may value a wine more highly than someone else.

That may apply to less expensive wines as well. What if you have only tasted very fruit forward Pinot Noir? Would you truly appreciate a Burgundy if it were the first one you tasted? Maybe or maybe not.

It is still best to taste a wine, if possible, before buying it, especially if you are paying a lot of money for it.

The Wine Whore said...

Appreciation of quality definitely adds to the perceived value! Unfortunately, a lot of times, people allow labels, names, and hype to also influence the perceived value. Like you said, I agree that the best thing to do before making an expensive purchase is to taste the wine first.

That being said, I can see occasions where you may say "screw it" and just order an expensive bottle merely to enjoy trying something new or even celebrate some sort of occasion.

In the end, as long as you are enjoying the wine, the company, and the good times... nothing else really matters! :)

Cheers!

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