One of the worst mistakes you can make in buying wine from a winery is to assume the higher priced wine is the better wine.
I came across a perfect example of this the other day in one of my blind tastings. I sampled a new wine (for me) called Fisticuffs, a 2005 Cabernet from Napa Valley, and it was wonderful. Cloaked in toasty, spicy oak, but with delicious pure ripe currant and berry fruit, with great balance and finesse.
I later learned it’s the second label of Hourglass, whose wines I typically like. But the 2005 Hourglass Cabernet
pushed ripeness too far for me and even in the best bottle I tried (87 points, which puts it in the very good range) the flavors strayed into overripe balsamic notes.
I don’t know if the bottles of Hourglass I tried were representative of the entire production. But it just didn’t suit my tastes and at $135 is expensive.
The Fisticuffs, though, did appeal to me and this is the kind of dichotomy that makes me wonder how winemakers decide which wine to bottle under the main label. In this instance, clearly the riper wine was chosen for the flagship wine. But to my taste the better wine is the Fisticuffs, which happens to sell for $28.