Tasting the price tags of wines
Price does not always equate to quality and it is very true for wines; there are some serious wine bargains in wine world, especially those from Castilla y Leon, Spain or Languedoc-Rousillon and Northern Rhone, France. At the same, there are many wines that rode their fame to a ridiculous price tag while their tastes struggle to justify it.
In Sonoma Valley or Napa Valley alone, each region boasts over 425 wineries and each winery usually offers more than one wine. In Bordeaux, France, there are over 9,000 Chateaus (or producers); nowadays, if you’re in the mood for a glass of wine, your options are endless -well, only if your wallet can handle it. With hundreds of thousands of wines there are on the market, how can you tell their price tags without actually looking at the receipt?
Other than good marketing and high demand, when it comes to taste, what separates a decent bottle of wine from a good one or even a great one.
- Flavors and aromas -a good bottle of wine possesses a lot of flavors and aromas, each can be distinctively tasted and enjoyed on the palate. Lower quality wines do have flavors but they are more muted, flat and seemingly mushed together. Great wines are very expressive and intense in flavors and have a lot of them.
- Complexity -complexity is flavors and aromas in different shades. Great wines not only have attractive aromas but also have many layers of them. Their flavors evolve over time while tasting (usually between 1-3 hours). Fruits darken into more rich and marmalade-like, more your taste, the more you wonder. It captures your senses. On the other hand, lower quality wines are one-dimensional and doesn’t grab any attention.
- Structure -How does the wine feel on your palate, lower quality wines won’t have much of a body, they are flat, sometime watery leaving behind very little to taste. With higher quality wines, they feel more full, round and sometime chewy on the palate. Great wines will have you smacking your lips after each sip so that you don’t miss out on any bit of their flavors.
- Balance -How does everything come together? When flavor, aromas, tastes, body and feel working in harmony, balance is achieved. Great wines can be intense, powerful in flavors and aromas yet remain supple on the palate and not overpowering in anyway.
- Finish -How long does all of the above last. This is what wine lovers pay an arm and a leg for. Long lingering finish somehow have a captivating effect on them. Great wines could echo their flavors a good minute after each sip. Nevertheless, this is the impression it leaves behind, no wonder all wine reviews talked about the finish. Without it, wines will certainly not be as intriguing and borderline addictive.