Friday, January 27, 2006

What does price mean on a bottle of wine

The first question that should come to mind is “what is the difference between a 20 dollar bottle and a 50 or 100 dollar bottle?” Simply it is all about the complexity of the flavors and whether or not the wine is aggressive or smooth. Wines have various flavors that can be perceived while drinking the wine. First is the smell. Taste is in great part determined by smell. So the bouquet needs to prepare your mouth for what you are about to taste. The tip of your tongue will pick up certain flavors, then the palette and finally the residual wine will have a more delicate after flavor.

A good wine should not have a hard bite. Usually this is an indication of a wine that needs to breathe to allow the tannins to attenuate. A red wine should also not have sweet and fresh fruit base, this is usually an indication that the wine needs to age more. There are red wines specifically designed to be very fruity, they are Novello (new wines) and some Barbera. Finally its all about balance, the flavors should not contrast, instead they should compliment each other.

The more a wine meets these criteria the more it will cost. Usually because flavor, smoothness and balance require selecting grapes (less available product), longer aging periods, and various time consuming processes (increased labor and storage costs). Generally if you do not drink 50 $ bottles of wine do not purchase a 100 dollar bottle. Most people will be happy with a 15-30 dollar bottle of red wine and special occasions can mean a 45-60 dollar bottle.


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Blogger Leigh said...

Thanks for reinforcing what I have secretly thought about pricing. I buy $15-$25 bottles on sale, if possible and spend a little more for special occasions because that is what the budget allows. Pretending to know wine beyond my budget is, well, pretentious! I love it when our local wine shop will open some higher priced bottles for sampling at wine tasting. Occasionaly, I will splurge just for the experience with a like-minded friend.

8:30 PM

Blogger 淑美 said...


I am Sook Mei from Malaysia

found your blog from New Journey :)

Nice blog!!!!

Sook Mei

3:11 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Divas - your plan is the right one. First of all not every individual is able to distinguish the subtle flavors even after years of fine wines so not everyone can appreciate the differences.

For those who have the physical capability to taste the nuances then it is a matter of time. What a difficult journey it is: drinking wine, with friends and figuring out which foods are most appropriate. Then the year changes, a new production and you have to start all over again. Yes, the wines can change significantly from year to year.

My life it sooo tough...

6:26 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Sook Mei - I have the greatest appreciation for Malaysia. I spent 6 months travelling Malaysia and Singapore speaking at high-tech fairs, yes I am a geek, and had the opportunity to try the wonderful foods there and to meet some really great people. Your site Sugar N Spice is a definite great read and suggest all to take a look. I hope you will publish some of the recipes for that great food.

Thanks for stopping by.


12:25 PM

Blogger George Larson said...

I have no sense of smell (since birth).

I went through a period of time when I tried to become educated about wine. I got everything from the books that I read; I failed miserably in application.

Today, I like a cheap Chianti or Shiraz. I like the stuff that smacks me in the face.

I realize that I might as well be telling you that I am torn between 'Ripple' and 'Lambrusco'.

I appreciate your insight despite the fact that I cannot appreciate your insight.

My two cents are free. ;)

10:12 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

George -

I talk about wine in the context of living a good life through understanding and knowledge. Knowing yourself is a very important part of a good life. You understand what you like.

Lambrusco can be extremely good and some of the top wines in the world are Chianti, so you do have very good taste in wines.

Please check out the blog in the future. I have just about finished talking about Piemonte in honor of the Olympics and will soon start on Carnivale!

Thanks for your thoughts.


5:29 AM


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