If you are reading this column, you survived the holidays. Congratulations. It also means you likely will buy wine during the 362 days remaining in 2018.
While hard-edge rules about wine have not applied for 6,000 years, the following breaks down what wine price segments vaguely mean.
• Extreme value (less than $4): bulk wine with no distinction beyond if you drink enough you will get drunk at the wedding or class reunion. It also likely will be poured from a plastic bag housed in a cardboard box.
• Value ($4-$10): Basic bulk wines from wine factories, but may have a redeeming virtue. They also are more likely to be poured out of a bottle.
• Popular premium ($10-$15): Large production, decent quality, basic typicity (tastes correct for the variety), often made to fit a consistent flavor profile targeting a specific audience.
• Premium ($15-$20): Nice quality, good typicity, some expression of terroir (reflects the location where the grapes were grown).
• Super premium ($20-$30): Quality wines that reflect terroir and typicity; maybe hand-made, maybe lower production, often the entry-level offering of a winery that plays in the loftier segments that follow.
• Ultra premium ($30-$50): Good to very good quality; typicity, terroir, sometimes cellar-worthy.
• Luxury ($50-$100): Excellent wines from better wine regions made by upper-level producers; usually no questions about typicity, terroir, winemaking skill, and cellarability.
• Super luxury ($100-$200): Top wine producers offerings from top sites reflecting precise terroir, generous attention to detail from bud break through bottle aging.
• Iconic ($200-plus): Top-of-the-pyramid wines.
There is no doubt you can find wines that pour above their price point and wines that are overpriced, but if you want general insights for your vino investments this new year, now you have them.
• I Colle Merlot 2013: Uncomplicated, easy to enjoy, classic merlot smoothness. $5-8 Link to my review
• Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2015: Consistently true typicity from Washington’s State’s leading maker. $12-15 Link to my review
• Hess Collection Allomi Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015: Delicious, impressive depth, density. $28-30 Link to my review
• The Prisoner Wine Company The Prisoner Napa Valley Red Wine 2015: Fruit-forward, classic Napa zin-led blend. $44-47 Link to my review
Last round: I decided to break all my New Year’s resolutions on January 3 so I can enjoy the rest of the year.