I was struggling a bit about a topic this week, but then my coaching buddy Jim inadvertently gave it to me at practice this afternoon!
He mentioned going into a local pub’s wine store looking for a red wine to drink with something on the barbecue…California Cab was his focus, and something that wouldn’t break the bank. He was looking around and saw a blend from Bennett Lane for under $25…and it was a 2006! He did a double take, checked the price, and bought a bottle to try.
He said it was – in a word – amazing! So I went there after practice, bought a bottle…and definitely confirmed his initial impression.
But does that make it a bargain?
Well, let’s think about that word…and what it really means!
For some people, it means something “cheap”. That is not a wrong answer, including when it comes to wine. If you can find a $10 wine these days that actually tastes like the grape it is made of, then you have definitely found yourself a bargain!
But it doesn’t have to mean “cheap” either.
At its most basic definition, a “bargain” means getting something at a lower price than you expect to pay. So, technically, that means the actual price doesn’t mean anything at all!
That works for me at the $20 – $30 range. While that is more than I usually pay for “everyday” drinking wine, I can somehow justify it if the wine tastes like it should cost twice as much!
I use the same philosophy with respect to the wines I buy for my cellar. Usually I won’t go over $50 a bottle, and the wine must be rated over 90 points by Parker.
But if I see a wine I love…like Chateauneuf du Pape, or Barolo, or Barbaresco…and it is rated over 95 points…I can justify paying 10 – 15 dollars more because I think it is a “bargain”!
However, I draw the line at wines priced much more than that. Personally, I can’t justify a wine that is $70 or more, no matter what the rating. Yes, it may be a bargain for that kind of wine (Bordeaux or Burgundy comes to mind). But for me…that is just too dear!
So after all that, what is the definition of a bargain? Well, like many things in life…it depends.
But in wine, it comes down to what you like, value…and are willing to pay for!