Consumer Reports: Wine you can get when you spend $100
on 27/10/11 at 11:59 amWine
Consumer Reports’ Ratings of wine, available to subscribers, primarily aim to identify fine values: pleasing bottles that typically cost $8 to $15. But it’s instructive—as well as fun, of course—to survey, occasionally, what you can get from bottles that cost 10 or so times as much.
That’s what Maxine Siegel, who leads Consumer Reports’ wine-testing program, and I did this past weekend at the New York Wine Experience. The show, put on by Wine Spectator magazine, featured samples of select bottles the magazine had rated at 90 points or higher, a level WS deems to be “outstanding.” The price of the wines started at around $50 a bottle, and while most seemed to be in the $90-to-$130 range, there were even a few $200-plus bottles.
Here are my wine-stained notes from the event, based on sampling only a fraction of the show’s wines:
Most of the very expensive wines were extraordinary. That might seem obvious, given their price tags of $100 or more. But Consumer Reports’ tests quite often turn up wines priced at $25 or more that score below those costing a fraction of that. And skeptical consumers often ask me if I think there is any true distinction to wines with three-figure prices.
Admittedly, our sampling at the show—we took small tastes that we spat out, to maximize the number of wines we could try—was far less rigorous and authoritative than the tests we undertake at CR to rate wines. And the two wine experts who evaluate wines for us taste multiple samples of each wine in “blind” tests, whereas we were tasting single samples and were aware of the brand in question. Nonetheless, Maxine and I found many of the wines to be memorable, with many possessing a special character that was striking and deeply satisfying.