Swirl it around, let it waft and talk all you want about depth of flavor and high notes, but sometimes it’s just that: talk.
So, you brought a pricey wine to your friend’s dinner party. Someone else showed up with what looked like a $15 bottle, and everyone loved it.
Did you waste your money going all out? Is there really something much better about expensive wine but everyone was turning a blind eye? Maybe not.
According to Katie Kelly Bell writing for Forbes.com, “At the end of the day what matters most is who you are enjoying your wine with and where you are enjoying it.”
Blind Taste Test
It’s worth noting, (before you roll your eyes and snub your nose), that Bell’s comment is built on several years of experience as a food, wine and travel writer. It’s also backed by some of the interesting stories she’s heard and lived.
And there are many. Things like a connoisseur’s wife filling a bottle with the ‘dump bucket’ of unused wine at a tasting, and serving it up as a ‘special wine she wanted them to try’. Everyone gushed over it and she never revealed the truth.
Or, that of a white wine being tinged with food coloring to make it red, and none of the professionals noticing.
And then there was the time the wine world was upended at the Judgment of Paris. A blind taste test performed by European experts had a famous, old French Bordeaux lose out to a small upstart wine from California. (Aghast! How could France have voted against itself??)
The thing is, when it comes to buying a bottle to share with friends on a warm summer’s eve, getting something that suits your wallet is very likely a safe bet. You’ll be happy and so will your guests.
If the new brand you’re eyeing has successfully made its way onto the shelves at your local wine seller, it’s already gone through some tests. Someone thought it should be there. And it could very well be as good as the classics.
Because there’s a difference between a wine made by people who know what they’re doing and an inexperienced wine.
If you’ve ever been to a wine festival to try some local concoctions still en route to greatness, you’ll know what I mean. Some are definitely truly dreadful, there’s no doubt about it.
But let’s be honest: tasting some of these recipes is like trying the wine your neighbor is brewing up in the garage, from scratch. Chances are, it’s a little ripe around the edges, if there are any noticeable boundaries to be found in the glass, at all.
While I have much respect for great wines built on centuries of tinkering and fabled family traditions, when it comes down to it, sometimes it seems that maybe the whole process isn’t such a complicated secret.
With some talent, patience and care, $15 might taste just as delicious (and be just as beneficial for your health) as $115.
Photo credits:Dmitrijs Dmitrijevs /Bigstock; LightField Studios/Bigstock; fotoru