Most of you already know this, but it bears repeating: The big story in wine is the one in your glass. We're drinking the greatest wines ever made, and they will only get better.
New and better wines keep coming from everywhere and anywhere. Because of that competition in the market, prices for many wines are not only stable, but also coming down. Maybe not for the most sought-after wines—those with a special cachet—the frenzied demand for those wines supports their astronomical prices.
No, the action is more in the middle ground, where wines with little or no pedigree size up favorably with the elite.
And even among the highest-priced wines, competiton between regions is fiercer than ever. Nowhere was that more evident than at the New York Wine Experience, where several tastings were perfect venues to compare wine quality.
If you wanted to size up California Pinot with red Burgundy, there was Matt Kramer's presentation of Sonoma Coast Pinots after Bruce Sanderson and his Burgundy panel. Both tastings featured the 2009 vintage.
Curious about how California Cabernet stacks up against Bordeaux? Caymus' Chuck Wagner poured his 2005 Napa Valley Special Selection, and two 2007 Napa Cabernets, from Revana and Altamura were in the Top 10 tasting. For comparison, Christian Moueix presented the 2005 Pomerol from Château Trotanoy, and at the event's final seminar, Bordeaux's five first-growths each poured two vintages of their choice.
What struck me was that while some of the high-priced wines at the Wine Experience were truly stunning, others were far less so. Even while Bordeaux as a whole has gotten better, and even more expensive for these wines, the rest of the world has more than caught up.
What the rest of the wine world lacks is that cachet, the kind of depth and history that is so romantic and captivating about regions such as Burgundy and Bordeaux.
In our final issue of 2011, with the Top 100 on the cover, the average price for a wine in that Top 100 list was $43; the average score: 93 points.
Another listing of values showed dozens of great wines, with an average score of 90 points and an average price of $16. The values are there, but not always where you might expect. Imports offer the widest range of value. California, where values should reign supreme, is still underperforming.
You can drink well without overpaying. You just have to pay attention. And that's what makes being into wine so rewarding.
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento, CA — December 30, 2011 12:16am ET
John Wilen — Texas — December 30, 2011 5:14pm ET
Russell Quong — Sunnyvale, CA, USA — December 31, 2011 2:53pm ET
Bernard Kruithof — San Antonio, Texas — January 8, 2012 12:18am ET
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