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Friday, July 29, 2005 

$10 Wine can be good!

Who Knew a $10 Bill Had Such a Nice Bouquet?

Eric Asimov in the New York Times looks at cheap wine. Well, not cheaply made wines, but wines that can be had for $10 or less per bottle. He gives the results of the testing, hands out several recommendations and concludes thusly:

While we were pleased to discover all of these easygoing pleasures, $10 wines have clear limitations. Like inexpensive cars that with few thrills or creature comforts, these wines are fine for accompanying basic meals. They are not complex, and they don't have the cerebral or soulful appeal of much better and invariably more expensive wines.

Just as the cheap wines of old are occasionally romanticized, some people contend that what sets a $100 bottle apart from a $10 bottle is little more than pretension, reputation, hype and the compulsion of gullible people to pay the higher price.

For the most part, that's ridiculous. Better wine often costs more because it is more expensive to produce. Is it possible that you will like a $10 bottle better than a $100 bottle? Of course, and not just once in a while. After all, some expensive wines are as abysmal as others are wonderful. Are some $100 bottles of wine big, pumped-up frauds that depend on the willingness of fools to part with their money? Absolutely, and they are easy to find. But the argument that the price bears no relation to quality is often founded on a specious salt-of-the-earth desire that all wines should be created equal.