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The Adventures of Like This Love That in the Wine World

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December 3, 2012 Wine , , ,

We Need to Talk About Value

This week I’m tackling a hot topic, and one that can mean many things to many people. It came to me a couple of weeks ago when drinking one of my wines of the year, the 2010 Oakridge LVS shiraz. It’s a blinder, and while we were enjoying it I asked Mrs Like This Love That how much she thought it was worth. She correctly answered ‘about $35ish’ (as opposed to a more expensive guess), which got me thinking…

It’s a common selling point to say ‘Wine x drinks like a more expensive wine’ – which implies a certain value in the lesser priced product. But that’s not really true, because a properly valued $50 wine will, and should, taste different to a properly valued $30 wine. So let’s ask the big question:

What

Is

Value?

Many a wine business has made plenty of money by drawing consumers in with the promise of ‘amazing deals’. And I’m not just talking about the supermarket chains with their loss leaders which are akin to a baited hook (I’ll stop here before I rant about these chains). I’m also referring to the wine ‘deals’ that you see everywhere: Ninety-something points! Was $50, now $16! Huge Deals Today Only!

This guy got a great deal on his crime-fightin’ armour, but is it good value?

But do these ‘bargains’ offer any real value to you, the consumer? Generally not. Whilst there are always exceptions to the rule, I see these deals as closer to what economists would call a ‘correction‘ as opposed to a bargain. Why? Let me digress.

Part of my ‘mission’ as Like This Love That is not just to find people different wines, but to help show them the best wines for their taste at every price point. You won’t find many of these wines on discount (or even in stock) at your local Dan Murphy’s, but I’ll absolutely back that they’re going to be better drinking than many a higher priced wine that is on special. And this is the crux of what real value is. The relationship of price and quality should be set by the top performers in the class, not lower performing wines with a higher price tag that have been heavily discounted to give the perception of value. The $50 wine that has been knocked back to $25 may have had some more expensive oak treatment in the winery, but is unlikely to be nearly as exciting as a $30 wine that is at the top end of the class. When viewed this way, the supposed ‘$50’ wine is not truly worth the $50 price tag while the $30 ‘high performer’ is correctly valued. So keep that ‘pinch of salt’ in mind when evaluating the myriad of deals on ‘offer’, all of the time – or talk to me about finding some great value wines that may be hidden, or may be hiding in plain sight

So hows about a couple of examples?

11 Hunky Dory ‘The Tangle’ Pinot Gris/Gewurtztraminer/Riesling – This knocked me over when I first tasted it, and I’ve had nothing but great feedback from customers who have bought this wine. It’s crisp, fresh and steely; with a little flourish of perfume and aromatics from the Gewurz. Incredible with Asian takeaway and a blinder for a warm afternoon

09 Ocean Eight ‘Verve’ Chardonnay – Just. incredible. A long time favourite of LTLT This wine helped winemaker Mike Aylward win last year’s ‘Young Gun of Wine’ award and is just starting to bloom (This is last year’s vintage but I held a few bottles back to show them with a bit of development). The aromas of baked citrus and wet-stone are perfectly matched to the palate which is starting to show a touch of waxiness but not without maintaining great focus; thanks in no small part to some lovely delicate acid.

Next week’s post will be a little later than usual as I’m spending the weekend at the Meredith Music Festival in country Victoria. Followers of @LTLTwine may be in for a few sideways tweets and I’ll post my annual Meredith review on the blog when I’ve recovered from the inevitable hangover.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Happy Drinking,

Peter