Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wine Price Levels

I recently got an email from someone who read my blog and was a little frustrated at the price of wines I had posted for tasting. "$34.95 for a bottle of wine!!" he wrote." I can't afford to go out and buy expensive wine all the time. I'll have to cut back on diapers". The wine he was speaking about was a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape which can be a little pricey. Why so expensive?
 Well....the wine market is basically divided into price levels or hierarchies. There is certainly a big inventory of wines in the under $20 price range that will satisfy a good percentage of the wine drinking population. You can also find many varietals like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir that crossover into the $35 to $75 range and are obviously of better quality. However, you'll only  find premium wines like Barolo, Brunello, Amarone, super Tuscans and Chateauneuf-du-Pape in this upper price range because they use special vinification or harvesting techniques to produce a higher quality of wine. A good example of this type of wine is an Amarone. Three different grape varietals are dried on straw mats before they are crushed. This produces a more intense flavour but the wine is produced in smaller quantities. Anything over $75 are premium wines produced in limited lots from high end wineries or dessert wines like icewines or Sauternes.
 Feel free to stay in your price comfort zone but treat yourself every once and a while to a Brunello or Chateaneuf-du-Pape to taste the higher end production value.

Here's this weeks picks

D'OH - Dolcetto, Piemonte Italy DOC

This wine is not for everyone. It's a light to medium bodied ruby red wine with aromas of strawberry, pepper and some spice. It is a little high in acidity which gives it's raspberry fruit a tarty taste but the 12.5% alcohol level and mild tannins would make it a nice red wine to drink on a hot summer night. This wine would pair well with a creamy tomato based sauce or pork tenderloin.
Price - under $13 (LCBO)

  2012 Fairhall Downs Sauvignon Blanc - Marlborough New Zealand

A light yellow Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region with signature  aromas of grapefruit pith, lemon zest, herbs and that hint of New Zealand vegetal bouquet. The wine has good acidity which gives it that long grapefruit finish. This wine would pair well with most seafood like deep fried clams, shrimp or grilled salmon on the BBQ.
Price - Under $19 (LCBO)