$8 vs. $108

Friday, November 2, 2012

Our Scoop the Spectator 2012 contest runs for another week so you still have time to get your guesses. We're playing for a $200 gift card. $200! Check it out and if nothing else you'll find some great wine picks.

I've updated each of the entries (hit the comments and look at the replies for each wine) with wine-searcher.com links to make it easy to check retail availability of each of the wines. I'm sensing some panic buying occurring for wines like Donjon with folks sensing they want to buy their favorites before they might win and prices shoot up. Combined with Parker releasing his 2010 Rhone ratings yesterday these 2010 CdPs are hot.

If you're like me, you buy wines at all price points. Sometimes you might feel like you need to spend more than $30 to get a memorable bottle of wine. Other times you find a tasty value wine and you wonder why you'd ever consider spending $50 on a bottle of wine.

I thought it would be fun to compare two seemingly incomparable wines. A $100+ Tuscan red and a well regarded sub-$10 value play from California.

2006 Setti Ponte Oreno
96WS/$110 Release Price/3,250 Cases Produced
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese

This shows shades of brilliance but at its core it's still a Tuscan red: Brooding and relatively reserved aromatically, especially in its youth. Layers of aromas -- inviting dark fruit, tar, bay leaf -- reveal themselves bits at a time, but this may need more time to come out of its shell. Rating it for now.

91 WWP: Oustanding


2011 Apothic Red
Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon
Around $8

Sweet fruit, brambly berries, and a hint of briar patch dustiness on the nose. This continues on the palate but are joined by a touch of appealing earthiness, hard candy, and caramel apple. The skeptic might sense some artificial influence here. But if it's manipulated, it's well manipulated.

88 WWP: Very Good

Purchased At

You know what? I may have enjoyed the $8 a bit more at times. Lots of delicious flavor. No fuss. No guilt. I'm not saying the Apothic Red is better than the Oreno. I'm just saying that sometimes $10 is all you need to spend for a perfectly enjoyable bottle of wine. And if you don't find yourself in a situation to truly enjoy a wine like the Oreno it may be a waste of money.

Footnote: What's up with the price of Oreno in Massachusetts? It sells for over $100 here and I regularly see it offered in other states for around $50. Even as low as $40. And often in California - further from Italy. I know it's different distributors offering it at different prices in different states so retailers aren't to blame. But c'mon - how can consumers be expected to buy from local retailers with price disparaties like this?

What do you think?


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