Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wine Prices

I attended a special wine tasting last week that got me thinking about wine prices.  Several members of my AWS chapter trucked down to the Spirited Gourmet in Belmont, MA for a tasting of very high end wines from Gaja, a winery in the Piedmont region of Italy.

For those that haven't heard of Gaja, please do go to the link above for more information, as the Gaja family (particularly Angelo Gaja) has been an important force in promoting the Barbaresco wines of the Piedmont region to become world renowned for high quality.  If nothing else, the tasting was a fascinating historical lesson of the Piedmont region & the impact of one family on the region's growth in the wine industry.  Although Angelo got his start in Piedmont, he has since spread to other regions of Italy to produce an larger line-up of wines.

Gaja makes wine that has received numerous accolades from various wine reviews, including James Suckling formerly of Wine Spectator, who is known for his love of Gaja wines.  I would have to agree with James--the wines that I tasted were spectacular examples of Barbaresco wines.  As you would expect from very excellent wines that have received excellent reviews, these were not cheap wines.

The line-up of the evening:
2010 Gaja Rossj-Bass Chardonnay, Langhe region of Piedmont    $100
2006 Gaja Sori Tilden Nebbiolo, Langhe region of Piedmont         $500
2006 Gaja Costa Russi Nebbiolo, Langhe region of Piedmont       $500
2006 Restitua Brunello di Montalcino "Sugarille", Tuscany             $200
2009 Ca Marcanda "Magari" Bolgheri, Tuscany                            $85

I'll pause a moment and let you pull your jaw back up of the floor.  You read that right...I got to taste 4 wines priced >$100 and 2 that were priced at $500 a bottle.  All while standing around a small table in the back of a small wine store in Belmont, MA.

Folks, the Nebbiolos were probably the best nebbiolo wines from Piedmont that I've ever tasted.  Still very young, they could age for an additional 30-50 years.  Extremely well crafted--I was in awe.

However, $500 a bottle?????  Obviously, these wines are not aimed at the average wine consumer, but intended for the oenophiles who could truly appreciate these wines (and be a member of the 1% that could afford to purchase them).  Still, at what point does a wine truly deserve & command a price tag of $500?

Historical reputation definitely plays a part, as does supply & demand.  But I still doubt that I would ever be able to rationalize spending $500 on a bottle of wine.  What lofty event or meal would ever entice me to open it?  Would I actually ever consider sitting down on a Friday night in the year 2042 and opening that bottle--assuming I still senile enough to enjoy wine at age 71?

I leave it to my readers--what's your price points for wine?  Price for an everyday drinker vs that special occasion?  Do you have a bottle of wine planned for that 50th or 60th birthday, retirement day, grandchild's birth, or divorce/marriage?


p.s.  The main question I have is how to I manage to sell my wine for $500/bottle?  Heck, I'd settle for >$75! 

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