Is Expensive Wine Actually Better?

This has been a controversial question for quite a few decades and even today, opinions differ. Some believe that there is little or no difference between a 15$ bottle of wine and a 150$ one. In order to prove their point, they conduct all sorts of “blind” tasting experiments that usually embarrass the experts. Others however firmly believe that there is a substantial difference between cheap and expensive wine, taking into consideration several factors such as yield, processing, storage or age. A point that everyone agrees on is that drinking and tasting wine is a very intimate and subjective experience, which can be often influenced by a person’s mood, company or surroundings.

Some say the price tag is meaningless

             Is Expensive Wine Actually Better?

Is Expensive Wine Actually Better?

Many journalists and even scientists set out to answer the question of whether expensive wine is actually better. The majority of studies seem to show that the price tag attached to a bottle of wine is mainly the result of marketing and that there is very little difference in taste.

This is how a study would usually proceed. It starts off with anywhere from two to two hundred people tasting different wines without knowing which is which. These people can be experts or just the ordinary consumer. Most of the time, regular people can’t tell the difference between the cheap wine and the more expensive one. What’s more, in some cases, studies have shown that the normal consumer will actually prefer the taste of a cheap wine. True enough, people with some experience in wine tasting were mostly able to correctly identify the more expensive wine and its characteristics.

But there have been some embarrassing experiments as well. For instance, during one study, two experts were served the same white wine. However, red food coloring was added in one of the glasses and it turned out that the experts could not tell the difference. They went on describing the white wine by using terms usually associated with reds. A similar situation was created when people were served the same wine, but under different labels – one was said to be expensive and one was supposedly cheap. The result was that the majority of testers considered the “cheaper” wine worse than the “expensive” one, even though they tasted the same thing. The temperature of the wine was also demonstrated to have a great impact on the taste.

Others believe the price of the wine is proportional to its quality

             What some experts argue is the fact that most of these experiments described above reveal nothing more than exceptions, which are turned into a rule by journalists in order to have a greater impact on the public. Of course, it takes an experimented palate to tell the difference, but that doesn’t mean the difference isn’t there.

They say that discerning the quality of a more expensive wine is as easy as taking a look at its production process. The grapes used in the production of cheap wine, for instance, are cultivated on flats. On the other hand, for expensive wines, grapevines are cultivated on the hillside, because drainage stresses the hill and the grapes, forcing the vines to yield fewer crops. This, in turn, means that the flavour of the grapes will be much more concentrated. The use of pesticides or chemicals is another clear-cut difference between expensive and inexpensive wines. Storage is another important factor. In the case of expensive brands, the wine is kept in oak barrels, which means that, in time, the flavours of the oak (such as vanilla or baking spice) are transferred onto the wine. Furthermore, about 2% of the wine kept in such a barrel evaporates every year, making it even more concentrated and powerful.

Clearly, valid points are present on both sides of the argument, which is why the issue is still debated today. It seems that, at present, the decision of whether or not expensive wine is actually better is up to you. This is why any expert will recommend that you go out there and experiment with different tastes, regardless of the price tag!

What the Most Expensive Wines Have in Common?

Wine racks

Expensive Wines

Besides the heavy price tag, there are many commonalities between the most expensive wines in the world. The collectable bottles of wine are usually Bordeaux or Burgandy but the most expensive wines can be Chardonay, Pinot Noir, Merlot or any other type of wine. If you find a fine wine with the following characteristics, you might just have a wine that is considered to be among the most expensive wines.

One distinction the most expensive wine have in common, is the ability for the wine to withstand time and hold well over time. This ability is a factor of many variables including the quality of the wine ingredients, the wine making processes, and wine storage. As with most things, the ability to withstand time can add value to a product as it does with the most expensive wines.

Another distinction the most expensive wines have in common, is a strong consensus between wine experts. Even wine auctioneers and wine collectors can have an input in this distinction. It is one thing if a wine is made well or has an eloquent taste. It is a much larger deal when a whole panel of wine experts agree on a bottle and taste of the most expensive wines. Other factors that may contribute to this distinction is when the most expensive wines get publicity from a prominent individual owning a bottle, or a famous individual is seen with a glass of a certain kind of wine.

One more distinction is how the most expensive wines are made. The most expensive wines usually use well defined and rigorous wine making processes which require much attention and care. Wine making is indeed a process which require quite a bit of work and a certain level of skill. In addition, the highest quality of ingredients are used to make the most expensive wines. The manner in which wine is stored, can also play a factor in this distinction of the most expensive wines.

What Makes Expensive Wine Expensive?

What makes the most expensive wine expensive? Is it the taste? Is it the lack of taste? Is it the type of wine? Is it because most expensive wine may be rare? Is it the way expensive wine is made? What about how the wine is stored? Maybe it has something to do with who owns the bottle of most expensive wine? Maybe who touched the bottle of wine? How about all of the above?

There are many factors that make the most expensive wine expensive and these factors change from wine to wine. Sometimes the most expensive wine is produced in very small quantities and kept over a long period of time. After years have passed, sometimes hundreds of years, just a few of these wine bottles remaining can help make it one of the most expensive wine. Time and age alone, though, does not make a wine one of the most expensive wine. Take a cheap red wine, for example. That cheap bottle of red wine is not going to make many friends over hundreds of years. Cheap wine is cheap wine regardless of age. Sure it may gain a little bit in value but it certainly will not become one of the most expesive wine or a collector’s bottle of wine.

In addition to the age factor in wine, there is wine that is recently produced and sold but carries really heavy price tags. In these cases, sometimes the most expensive wine is based off of limited quantities, the type of wine, the brand of wine, the age of the vineyard, the wine making processes or other factors. While age can play an an important role in adding value to wine, especially the most expensive wine, it may not be everything.

Sometimes the most expensive wine is based off of taste and quality. It is no secret that higher quality of ingredients such as wine grapes and the processes used to make the wine has a lot to do with the taste. Add hundreds of years of wine making experience to the mix and a wine vineyard that has been around for as long and watch the value of the wine grow. Taste can play a very important factor with the most expensive wine.

Then again, the most expensive wine can have a lack of taste, and still demand a heavy price tag. Case in point: the most expensive bottle of wine in the world according to the Guiness Book of World Records – the 1787 Cateau Lafite – . This wine is so old that it is considered undrinkable. In fact, it is undrinkable by almost 150 years. Still, it is considered to be one of the most expensive wine partly because of its previous owner and the fact that it is a rare wine.

Expensive Wine Purchases: When Is It A Good Idea To Splurge?

splurging on wine

Fine Wine Purchases

Many people around the world like to try the finer things in life. These opportunities are seldom a common experience and are likely to be cherished for years to come. The taste of a fine, expensive wine is among those experiences.

Several studies have shown that when it come to tasting new foods or drinks that the price is actually an important factor in the final verdict. You see, many people will easily dismiss the experience of tasting “everyday” food or drinks, as they are a common occurrence and don’t take much in the way of planning. However, when the price of the item increases exponentially, people do take the time to notice the intricacies and finer details of the experience. Think about it? When was the last time that you remember having take take-out? This happens nearly weekly for most people. On the other hand, do you remember the last time that you celebrated a special occasion at a fine dining establishment. I bet you could tell me the price of your entree and the color of the walls. The same holds true for a fine wine.

There is a huge variety of inexpensive and expensive wine all over the world. Choosing one is likely going to be the most difficult endeavor. When looking for a fine wine take the time to do the research. There are a plethora of outlets online where you could gather this information and make a wise choice. Always consider the person you are buying the wine for. Do they enjoy reds or white? You will find that on many occasions the red wine tend to be the most expensive variety as they take the best to aging which is what tends to drive the prices up. White wines, with the exception of sweeter varieties, tend to peak within 5 years or so.

So go out and splurge a little, you will likely remember the experience for years to come.