Robert Godfrey, part owner of the Handsome Cab, walks us through how to properly taste wine. Sean Heisey
I have to tell you about the first time I purchased a $100 bottle of wine.
At the time, I was working in California working and went to dinner with a friend. ProTip: Monday evenings are a great time to attend many restaurants, as you can find excellent bargains, and this time was no exception: all bottles were priced at 50 percent off, the menu said.
I looked through the list and spotted exactly the right one — Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. I had heard about this wine many times, but never had the guts to pay that much for a bottle. Since I was sharing with a friend, we ended up obtaining 2 glasses each and only had to pay $25.
Yes, it was an amazing Cabernet Sauvignon.
Since then, I have had many bottles of wine in the $100 price range. I have enjoyed each, unique in their own right and always a treat.
Are some bottles of wines really worth $100? Does a $10 bottle taste just as good?
You can purchase a great bottle of wine for $10, but more often than not, you will obtain a wine that can be difficult to drink and poor in quality. At the price point of $100, the wines are more intense with big, bold flavors and a smooth finish that often lingers. Very few wines costing $10 can compete with one that costs $100.
Growing grapes and making wine is an art of a winemaker that uses experience, science and creativity. Drinking wine is not only something I enjoy, but an adventure down a tasting lane that awakens your palate to a new experience.
Quality of the grapes, branding, terroir (environmental factors such as climate, soil, terrain and tradition), oak barrels, supply vs. demand, equipment all add to the cost of making wine, so you have to ask yourself: do you want quality? Do you purchase name brands like Tiffany, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, or do you buy White Stag, Sam’s Choice or Mainstay? Yes, the brands are very different, but so is Two Buck Chuck and Silver Oak.
Sometimes things in our society are made to be disposable. An item of lower quality may have to be purchased 5 to 10 times because it wears out or goes quickly out of style. Other items you pay more for and they last a lifetime or give you a lifetime experience.
I have been called a wine snob, but I am willing to try wines at all price points and you should be, too. I like to say I am more of a "wine geek" who enjoys the challenge of finding that next great bottle for $10, and being treated by a great wine that costs $100 or more. Yes, I have wines that I like and tastes I enjoy more than others, but don’t we all? This doesn’t make you a snob — just someone who knows what they enjoy!
I have several of my favorites to share with you. California’s Napa Valley makes amazing Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2013 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine costs $165 and has won 98 points from Robert Parker, as a wine that is almost perfect.
The other selection is a 2013 Ehlers Estate 1886 Cabernet Sauvignon for $110. It is a deep dark red that you can almost chew and doesn’t need to pair with any food.
On the other end of the spectrum, try Carnivor Cabernet, which is big and bold in style. It is a deep aubergine color and has a velvety feel as you drink it, following with a long, silky finish. It won a coveted 90 points rank from Wine Enthusiast, and is available for only $12.99 at all local Wine and Spirits stores.
Enjoy your wine journey in finding that next great wine, and don’t be afraid at any price point. Don’t forget everyone deserves a treat now and then, too — we are all worth it.