Cheap Wines vs. Expensive Wines

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Hoot Owl, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Is there really that much of a difference in expensive wine and cheap wines?

    I'm having a second glass of this evening which is extremely rare for me, but it's helped me relax after a very hard and emotional day.

    I've tried both and honestly, I just dont' really think the expensive wine is that much better. Is it just a personal preference? Tonight I'm having a local Merlot.

    A friend of mine occasionally drinks the Franzia wines which are really cheap, and I liked them too.

    Any wine connoisseurs?
     
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  3. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    It is personal preference, I suppose. I can tell a difference, in general, with depth of flavor. The more trained your palate is, the more you can pick out the depth and body in a wine, and once you can do that, a lot of the cheaper wines just taste flat. If you haven't really tasted enough variety or haven't trained your palate, it is probably hard to notice differences. But some expensive wines are way overpriced and some inexpensive wines are very reasonable. A lot of Chilean and Argentinean wines are excellent and only $7 a bottle.

    The only thing that matters is that you like what you drink!

    I've taken a few geography/geology of wine courses in college, and they were fun, but I mostly only cook with wine. Just not much of a drinker.

    My roommate is a total wine snob. He has packages whizzing here from Woot.com weekly. Even he has to admit that the $5-10 wines I get from the Whole Foods special offer bin are pretty decent.
     
  4. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    My favorites are from a local winery, so I pay about $10 a bottle.

    I'm worried about what I'll do when I move in a few weeks though. I may have to have my family bring me bottles if they come visit and/or load up when we're home for holidays!
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Personal taste is everything. Some love oak-finished wines while others compare it to licking a tree. It depends on your palate and also on what you're eating while you're drinking.

    The absolute best suggestion I can make is to talk with the people who work in your local wine shop. I used to work at one that had a huge bin that I called, "Omigod we're selling it so CHEAP" wines. They were good quality, too.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I love local Long Island wines.. I'm a big Pindar fan.
     
  7. Erin Elizabeth

    Erin Elizabeth Groupie

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    Agreed!

    I am working on developing my palate, and I go to wine tastings pretty frequently (I am SURROUNDED by wineries in all directions!) so I am beginning to be able to differentiate between wines as far as quality. I find a big difference between Franzia or Target's Wine Cube wine and a nice bottle. BUT - if you like it, then don't let any wine snobs bully you! Most of my wines fall between the $10-20 range, but I've found a few excellent ones for $5.99.
     
  8. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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  9. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    I like the oak tasting wines and many Australian ones too, I had a bottle that had a black pepper taste and don't remember the name of it. I didn't know Target had a wine club.
     
  10. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I was born in the Napa Valley. I actually lived on a winery. When I was 5 my grandfather used to let me push the button that made the crushing machine go.

    So I know what I'm talking about.

    The difference between a $6 bottle of wine and a $20 bottle of wine can be very great. I've found that when you go above $20 a bottle, the difference in quality starts to diminish. In other words, some of the best wines I've ever had have been in the $20-30 range. I've tasted $50 wines and thought "That's nice, but not $50 nice."

    At the other end of the spectrum, you can find very good wines at the $6 pricepoint. They tend to be Australian, Chilean, or South African. My advice is pick a varietal you like - shiraz, tempranillo, etc - and when you see a good deal at Bevmo, grab a bottle and take it home and try it. Use it to for cooking if you don't like it.

    Right now, the most underrated California wines are from places that are not named Napa. Lodi, Clarksburg, Capay Valley, Amador, and the Alexander Valley.
     
  11. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    We are blessed in the USA with a bounty of inexpensive drinkable wine. That said, in general, you get what you pay for. Expect a $10 bottle to be better than a $5 bottle, expect a $20 bottle to be better than a $10 bottle. Of course, it isn't linear. A $20 bottle isn't necessarily twice as good as a $10 bottle.

    There are a lot of exceptions. Sometimes you are paying for the name. Sometimes you get more than you paid for. I have seen wineries market the exact same wine under two different labels at two different prices when they had a glut of good wine.

    As mentioned above, some of the best deals are California wines from places like the Sacramento delta and Sierra foothills.

    Of course, the important thing is to drink what you like. If it is inexpensive, all the better.
     
  12. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

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    I think it goes to personal taste. I am right now trying wines from all the local (Temecula) wineries. I tend to like sweet wines and so far have not found a favorite so I keep trying.
     
  13. TennisPlayer

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    I don't order wine when we're out somewhere because I don't like most wines I've tried-- too tart/sour but we get them as gifts. The one we have now which I'm enjoying is a huckleberry flavor along with grape. It's delcious and called Huck.
     
  14. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    If you want to get into reading about wine, I recommend Windows on the World Wine Course by Kevin Zraly. We actually used it as our main "textbook" for the geography course I took last semester.
     
  15. Erin Elizabeth

    Erin Elizabeth Groupie

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    It's a Wine Cube. A boxed wine in a cube-shaped box. It's actually quite tasty for a cheap wine. I like to get one to take when I go camping. It doesn't break and one cube holds 4 bottles.

    I am a big fan of Shiraz! They can have almost a savory kind of taste. Could be peppery! I had one long ago that reminded me of Worcestershire sauce. It was delicious.
     
  16. Erin Elizabeth

    Erin Elizabeth Groupie

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    Oh, where my parents live near Mt. Rushmore, there is a winery called Prairie Berry, and they make wine out of all sorts of berries, but not grapes. Very unique and tasty! I'm going to visit it this July.
     
  17. Erin Elizabeth

    Erin Elizabeth Groupie

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    I totally agree with Sarge about the price points. As far as places that aren't Napa...don't forget Shenandoah Valley! Oh, I was in Lodi just 3 weeks ago. I met David of Michael David. He was pouring.

    Wow, I've got a lot to say about this...can you tell that I'm drinking a glass of wine right now? ;)
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    There is a BIG difference between cheap and expensive wine. You can however get a rather pleasant inexpensive wine.
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I haven't been to Lodi in a while. Our favorites are Bogle in Clarksburg, Toogoode in Amador, Rominger and Putah Creek in Davis. The last two are walking/biking distance from my house.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Bogle makes a great chardonnay- the color is lovely and the taste is buttery and oak...

    Just looked this up online- its a white wine with huckleberry juice added...seems to me like those wine coolers we used to drink...A little sweet for my tastes but a nice cool summery beverage....
     
  21. lilmisses1014

    lilmisses1014 Comrade

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    I love Riesling-- have you tried that? My favorite is made at a winery in Washington state (Snoqualmie), and it's REALLY cheap.

    I'm a total wannabe wine snob.... :D
     
  22. MS Candy

    MS Candy Comrade

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    I am currently on Riesling and Moscato...I am into trying all the brands at my local grocery chain(my own comparison)...I miss California though-they had so many more choices!
    I had a friend in college who worked at a winery (in Cali-Santa Cruz area) and he tried to teach me....I was way too young. I did enjoy all the samples, though. ;)
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm more of a dry wine drinker- chablis, chardonnay, cabs, merlot... brut champagnes...I'm also somewhat seasonal- whites in summer, reds in fall/winter. White zinfidel is definitely not my cup of tea (glass of wine?)...eek, too sweet. Even a riesling is a bit too sweet at times but I will use it to make a white sangria.
     
  24. MissJennifer

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    I'm a big Shiraz fan as well as Pinot Gris and I do like a Riesling as well. I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon - which is wine country- so we like to try local wines. I can taste the difference between inexpensive and expensive wines now, but a few years ago I couldn't. Most of the wine we buy is in the $10 - $15 range though because we get it locally. Although I do enjoy a good bottle of Kendall-Jackson Merlot occasionally and my FAVORITE Cabernet Sauvignon is from Sterling Vineyards in Sonoma. Our favorite local wines are from Willamette Valley Vineyeards, Sweet Cheeks, Viridian and Airlie Vineyards.
     
  25. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    All this is making me really want a glass of some dry, fruity rose` wine. I've had a fantastic French one for $4.99 a half-bottle which usually goes for $5 a glass at the local wine bar. That may answer a few questions on this matter.
     
  26. KinderMissN

    KinderMissN Companion

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    I am loving Riesling! I almost exclusively drink Riesling. I usually cruise World Market to try new ones. I used to pick based on the one that had the neatest bottle (and not afraid to admit it!) but now I am getting better at finding favorites.
     
  27. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Oooo, do you remember what it's called? I love rose. I tend to stick to the French or Italian wine at the supermarket that's usually between $7-11. I went on an education tour in Italy a couple of years ago and we probably tried 20 wines in 10 days . . . always ordered at lunch and dinner. I can tell you without looking whether it's an Italian wine or not. When in Italy . . . :lol:

    My current favorite is the Merlot or Rose by a French winery called Red Bicyclette (bicycle). I love bold reds and sweet roses, anyone have U.S. wine suggestions for me?
     
  28. MS Candy

    MS Candy Comrade

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    Oh yes! I love the different colors of the bottles-shapes and the labels...the big blue Riesling bottle is my fave!
     
  29. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I love to pick new wines by their names--"Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush" (white from New Zealand) or "Little Penguin" (Australia) are a couple I love. "Yellow Tail" Shiraz from Australia is my comfort wine of choice--we consumed numerous bottles after my dad passed away.
     
  30. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I just drink my $5 Verdi from the bottle. Does that count? haha
     
  31. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I'm a big Arbor Mist fan. It's-what-$4 a bottle? And it's fizzy. Mmmmm. I'm a cheap date.
     
  32. KinderMissN

    KinderMissN Companion

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    That one is really good! There is also one from a German Winery that uses a frosted bottle with a picture of a landmark inside it. Last week I found one with a picture of the Alamo (I'm from San Antonio) and thought it was so cool!
     
  33. MS Candy

    MS Candy Comrade

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    Last week I found one with a picture of the Alamo (I'm from San Antonio) and thought it was so cool![/QUOTE]

    Oh yes, that would be nice, so did you save it or not???
     
  34. KinderMissN

    KinderMissN Companion

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    Nah, I didn't get it because I already had a bottle waiting for me at home!
     

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