Good NYT "The Pour" wine column by Eric Asimov today, raising a question that I often ask about the QPR balance between affordability and wine that's actually "interesting," not merely "palatable." I'd like to think I can find that spot in the $10 to $15 range, more often than not, but Asimov places the crossover point at $20. (Thinking out loud, though, when I buy a QPR mixed case from Chambers Street, I generally end up paying a little over $200, with the case discount, which comes mighty close to $20/bottle at that. Hmm.)
Here's the intro, with a link to the rest. Where does the QPR "sweet spot" fall for you?Wine’s Sweet Spot Is a $20 BillBy ERIC ASIMOV
Published: July 24, 2012
WHAT’S the right price for a bottle of wine? Silly question, I know. All sorts of prices are right, depending on the quality of the wine, the scarcity, the demand and other economic, social and psychological imperatives.
Strictly speaking, a wine can be a great value at $10 or $200, though for most of us, a steal at $200 is small consolation, like a $5 million apartment deemed an excellent deal because its price has dropped by half.
Beyond the realm of the theoretical, though, there are wine bull’s-eyes where high values intersect with low prices. On the low end, that sweet spot ranges from $15 to $25; practically speaking, let’s call it $20.
Now I admit: $20 a bottle is not cheap. For that price, you could buy 10 bottles of Two-Buck Chuck, headaches no extra charge! For a little more (say, $10 a bottle), you can find wine that is perfectly palatable. But is palatable good enough?
Not for me. I want wine that excites me, that feels so good to drink that one sip urges on the next and the next after that. I want a wine that tells a story of a place and a people and a culture, that is not the predictable equivalent of a franchise restaurant but more like a little mom-and-pop’s, where you’re not always sure what you’ll find but you know it can have the capacity to inspire.
You might be able to find a bottle like that for $10. But it’s rarer than you think. At $15 to $25, though, the odds swing decidedly in your favor. With a little experience, you can find dozens of joyous bottles, plucked carefully from the ranks of the routine.The Pour: Wine’s Sweet Spot Is a $20 Bill