Aaaaaaaaand, we’re back!
It’s been a busy couple of months at chateau LTLT so I took a little while off the writing to do things like… parenting of a newborn…. y’know, that kind of stuff. But I’ve been missing my regular column and I hope maybe some of you have too *crickets*
Self deprecation aside, let’s get on with it.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately espousing the virtues of the $20-or-thereabouts wines I stock at LTLT and it’s time to focus on what I consider to be a bit of a sweet spot in wine retail, the $30-40 bracket. So let’s start with an overview – what are you getting for your money?
Well, whilst broadly you get what you pay for in terms of quality, the sheer number of wine brands means that not all equivalently-priced products are created equal, nor will they be to your tastes – which is exactly LTLT exists – so I’m going to focus on what I look for when stocking wines in this price point. For me, I see a bit of an exponential rise in quality somewhere around the $25 mark that starts to slow down a bit before you get to $50. Below $25 and I *generally* look for wines with great up-front appeal that are built with good quality parts, over $50 and I’m *generally* looking for complexity with the structure to develop well if aged (not to say you can’t age cheaper wines, far from it, but there’s a whole blog I could write about that). Up the top end, this can often translate into wines that are a bit precocious when young and need some time to really settle into their skin.
At $30-40 you’re getting what could fancifully be called ‘gateway wine’. You’re getting the peak of the ‘quality rise’ and are seeing wines with an extra layer of both flavour and structure when compared to your knockabout $20 bottle. In this way you’re getting a glimpse into what is possible at higher price points but still in a way that is easy to appreciate and understand. I love it when people have that: “Wow, I really see the quality in that” moment; and this price range is often when this happens as it’s a bit of a step up but not so much as to be intimidating.
So I guess you’re waiting for some examples yeah? Well why not.
Right now I’ve got 3 wines from LTLT favourites BK WINES that all sit at $30 and are all. just. delicious. I don’t have much left of the 2012 Skin n Bones white but on top of my effusive praise I’ve received a huge amount of positive feedback from my customers about it, and the 2013 Cult Syrah and One Ball Chardonnay are textbook examples of how good wines can be at this price: true to varietal and with a little extra somethin’ somethin’ that makes them worth the spend
As featured in a recent mail out, the 2012 Alpha Box & Dice Mistress and 2011 Paxton Graciano Grenache are both blends that show their quality with the amount of ‘stuffing’ packed into each mouthful – bucket loads of spices, everything in balance, some great tannin – meaning that if you stop and think about it you’ve got a heap of flavours in your mouth but the overwhelming experience is one of harmonious bliss.
Other LTLT favourites in this bracket include the luscious 2012 Ocean Eight Pinot Gris and the sumptuous and rich 2012 Jamsheed Rousanne, which are unique, iconic, and the sorts of wines that you will find by-the-glass in a tonne of top restaurants due to their malleability with a range of different flavours and food textures.
I can generally include at least one of these wines in a dozen with an average bottle price of $22+ so next time you’re looking to stock up why not consider an extra one (or more!) of these wines to help you see why life really begins at thirty-something.