The $15 bottle or $55 bottle?

While wine is undoubtedly the first alcohol I ever consumed it has really only been over the course of this past year that I have taken up drinking it regularly and developing an appreciation for the complex tastes that can come from the bottles (I credit a lot of this to 1). Natalia, who has a much better taste for wine than I do and 2).  Sassafras and it’s half off bottles on Wednesday night — which is tonight btw if anybody is interested).  Still I am no where even remotely close to being a wine expert or even claiming to be any good at distinguishing brand subtleties.  Sure I’ve had some glasses of wine where I just cringe and others that are absolutely pleasing but all and all I have a basic idea of what I like and tend to try and stick with it.  All around a big deciding factor for me when purchasing a bottle of wine is the price tag.  Not being made of tons of money I am more than willing to settle for less expansive bottle such as a Yellow Tail or an Alice White (both Australian brands).  Not having invested in a real pricey bottle (I suppose one of the half off bottles at Sassafras may have been upward of $50 once — full price — but restaurants mark up anyway) I cannot say if the more expensive stuff is really any better than my $12 bottle, and I probably wouldn’t even be able to tell even if presented with an expensive wine.  So that is why Eric Asimov’s article in The New York Times today interests me.  Sure it makes sense that somebody who has made a living of comparing the subtle differences in wine flavors will likely prefer the more expensive bottles (which we can hope are higher priced at least partially due to superior quality) but it is also interesting how cost can actually cause a psychological reaction in which we are bound to assume something is better even if it might be not be any different.  This kind of reminds me of how Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (I’m pretty certain it was he who said something like this) explained why he charged such amounts for his Transcendental Meditation classes.  If we don’t feel like we are paying for something then we are often skeptical about its value and/or quality.  Personally when it comes to wine I am pretty pleased if it doesn’t taste bad and gives me a bit of that heady happiness after a couple of glasses.

~ by Nathaniel on May 7, 2008.

One Response to “The $15 bottle or $55 bottle?”

  1. I’ve got a $25ish dollar bottle of Franciscan merlot I bought as a gift but never gave. I remember it being very good the first time I drank it in CA years back. I’ll have to remember to bring it to the next drinking occasion and we can do a blind taste test to a $10ish bottle.

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