Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fine Wine is Better than Cheap Wine

Really, it is. And I know that by experience now.

I have been accused of being cheap. But I prefer the word "thrifty." Though I try not to sacrifice quality, I see no reason to pay more than I have to. I'm not very knowledgeable about wines, but I do know a little bit.
Cheap Sauvignon Blanc is undrinkable.
Cheap White Zinfandel is either too sweet or too sour.
There is not a whole lot of difference between cheap Merlot and less cheap Merlot.
You can get a well-made cheap Cabernet S. that tastes about the same as a lot of less cheap Cabs.
If you don't want to pay a lot, you can't afford to be snooty about screw-off lids.
Inexpensive wine-in-a-box is usually decent, but never surprisingly good.
Less cheap Chardonnay is always better than cheap Chardonnay.
If you ever get stuck with undrinkable white, you can always make wine coolers.
If you ever get stuck with undrinkable red, you can always make Sangria or beef stew.

A few weeks ago we went wine-tasting with some friends at Fenestra winery in Livermore. We must have sampled two dozen wines, white, red, and dessert. It was fun to compare them and decide which ones seemed better. Then... I tried a Cabernet that left me speechless. It was dark, rich, smoky, smooooth, complex, interesting from start to finish. I made the mistake of raving about it before I checked the price. $34.95 a bottle. Gulp. My husband would not obey me and went over and bought me a bottle.

Did I mention that I've never spent over $10 for a bottle of wine? My rate schedule is Cheap- $2 to $5, Less Cheap- $5 to $7. Expensive- $10.

I took it home and saved it for something special.

Something special came up when it came time for my daughter to move to the university where she was transferring. It didn't really matter whether we were celebrating her brave new adventure or the fact that now I could finally have my own office/sewing room. (you guess) So I bought things for a special celebratory meal for my husband and I; lamb chops, spring salad mix, Gouda cheese wheel, and rice pilaf. I set out the special wine with 2 thin crystal wine goblets. I was secretly afraid that I had misrembered the incredible flavor of the wine, but I need not have worried. It was excellent. It was gorgeous.

I divided $35 by $3 (the current price of Foxbrook, my favorite Cheap Cabernet) to get 11 and a half. I think that it is possible that I could consider not buying 11 and a half bottles of Foxbrook, holding out for one bottle of very good wine.

I think I will have to add that to my list of known facts about wine.

"Fine Wine really is better than Ceap Wine."


  1. hahaha... "Fine Wine is better than Ceap Wine"

    I know that *I* have discovered that, as you put it, merlots really don't differ much (for me), but cheap whites are nasty. I didn't even know I liked white until I sprung for a bottle of Robert Mondavi---beautiful!!!

  2. Stay tuned- we went wine tasting with Gary and Val yesterday. There may be a blog entry there...