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Can You Tell The Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Wines?

I know it’s been a minute and I technically have been an awful blogger thus far but the thought of writing more informative pieces with no one reading them was a tad bit awkward so after my initial launch I spent a bit of time advertising. Not to say I have a ton of traffic yet but atleast I’m not just talking to myself.

The question posed in the title is one that people have asked me many times and a question that I’ve been curious about myself as I’ve had superb and subpar wines at various price points. There’s so many factors and isn’t tasting subjective, anyways?

Bianca Bosker explores this question in her book, ‘Cork Dork’. I’m alittle over halfway done and so far it’s one of the best wine books that I’ve ever gotten my hands on. Writing about wine in a way that’s uber informative while not making the reader bored to tears can be hard to do but BB pulls it off.

She started by posing the question to wine economist and NYU professor, Karl Storchmann. He states that price does indeed correspond with quality but only up until to his estimated price of $50 or $60 a bottle; the point in which the location, production, harvesting, aging techniques and general quality control are taken up a notch.  Storchmann’s Journal of Wine Economics collaborator, Orley Ashenfelter was quoted saying that “Anything that costs $500, is not about wine. You’re not buying wine. That’s a collectible.”

Wine consulting companies that make use of “quality recognition software” are discredited as the formulas they use to figure out which wines are ‘the best’ will usually only pertain to a certain type of palate. Same goes for wine critics, who score wines based on their own personal taste alone.

During the first season of Uncorked, the sommeliers were asked during a challenge to identify what wines were village, premier cru and grand cru. They all nailed it.

On the flip side you have instances where people are drinking the contents of a spit bucket and think it’s some masterpiece of a bottle. Ew…..

So perhaps the ability to decipher cheap and expensive wines is possible but entirely individual. Overall, I do believe that a distinction can be made between wines that we as individuals think are good and wines that are actually high quality. Looking at the 3 key attributes of balance, complexity and finish one can determine how sound a wine is. Quality wines will have an array of flavors, that are in harmony with eachother and the wine will linger on the palate after you’ve swallowed it.

What do you guys think?