The Basics of Enjoying Wine 101.2

(This is the second installment of a four-part question and answer series about wine. To read part I, click here.)

by Jeff Siegel*

Is wine from France better than wine from California? How do I know where to buy it from?

Good wine is good wine, no matter where it comes from. Some Missouri wine can make a French or California bottle taste like it was made in a bathtub. Real estate matters for price and style of the wine. A great wine is a combination of the skill of the wine maker and the quality of the grapes.

That sounds pretty esoteric – the skill of the wine maker and quality of the grapes. What does it mean when I need to take a bottle to my boss’ house for dinner?

That’s where the price/value ratio comes in. Today, wine fits into four price/value ranges – $15 or less, $15 to $20, $20 to $30, and really expensive. There are wonderful wines in the first group, some really terrific wines in the second group, a lot of overpriced wines in the third group, and very little wine in the fourth group that most people would drink if they had to pay for it. After all, is a $100 wine four times better than a $25 wine?

It’s also where real estate matters. Wine from regions with less expensive land – the south of France and Alsace, Australia, South America or Spain – is usually a better value.

*Jeff Siegel is the wine columnist for the Star-Telegram newspaper in Fort Worth, Texas, and Advocate magazines in Dallas.

(To read Part III, please click here.)

(Photo by Peter Dutton of Forest Hills, NY via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)

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Anonymous said...

Glad to have these articles on wine.

Anyone who wants to parlay a love of film into a better understanding of wine should watch the film Sideways, which to me hits the nail on the head.

A good wine can make a great meal even more enjoyable and I like Jeff am a one time (and still am) beer guzzler who finds no appeal in the snobbish aspects of wine consumption. I just stumbled into my love of wine thanks to a girlfriend who had a sincere love of wines.

Nothing like a nice dry red with a good steak to really add to a meal for example. The best part is that the only way to learn is by trial and error.

I would also note that in many parts of the earth, price and quality are not necessarily mutually exclusive. A good wine can cost less than €10 a bottle and often does.

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