Cheap or Chère?
Can wine experts tell pricier wine from cheaper wine? We put two pros to the test.
Ned Towle, Westchester Wine School
Glenn Vogt, Crabtree’s Kittle House
Do more expensive wines taste better than lower priced wines? Ned Towle of the Westchester Wine School and Glenn Vogt, wine director at Crabtree’s Kittle House, blind-tasted three California Cabernet Sauvignons—one that costs $11, another $40, and still another $60. Could they tell the difference? Did quality follow price?
“The price of a bottle of wine primarily depends on branding/marketing, scarcity, and provenance,” Towle says, “not necessarily its quality.” Still, Towle notes that, in general, a higher-quality wine is “balanced, has more complexity, and a long finish, and, while you might be more likely to find these components among higher-priced bottles, by no means is it exclusive.”
After much twirling, snuffling, sipping, eyeing, and spitting, both testers identified A as the lowest-quality bottle. Vogt chose B, the medium-priced wine, as the highest-quality wine, while Towle picked the most expensive wine, C, for the top spot.
The lesson here, if there is one? “Tasting wine is very personal,” Vogt says. “It comes down to what you like.”
|Least intensity, least balance. Juicy, fruity quality. Alcohol was obvious. |
|“Most interesting, highest-quality nose. Not as complex as C on the palate. Tannin structure needs time to soften a bit. It should age well.” |
|“I detect spice flavors—vanilla, pepper, eucalyptus. Mid-palate complexity. Nice, long finish.”|
|Least complex. Lightest in presence. Most fruity. |
|“Most structure of the three. Lots of tannin. A complete experience.” |
|“Ripe, shows more fruit, softer tannin. |
Wines generously provided by Grapes The Wine Company (731 N Broadway, White Plains 914-397-9463; grapesthewineco.com).