Saturday, July 11, 2009


I was talking to a customer this week, who is in a bit of a spirited challenge with a friend. This friend of his believes that the only good wine is expensive wine. He has a burgeoning cellar of high-priced wines, and, according to my customer, seems to think he knows what he is talking about. The gentleman in question has his heart in the right place, but I kinda feel he’s taken the wrong information and run amok with it. My customer seems to agree, and is going head-to-head with several selections from several appellations, a high-priced trophy wine vs. one of his more-bang-for-the-buck surprises.

I’d like to be a spectator to this one, because most people are always under the impression that “the more it costs, the better it is.” Especially in these dark times, that’s just crazy talk. With the WSJ discussing the whole “trading-down” trend in the wine world, everyone seems to be looking for a good value – except my customer’s friend.

One of the best surprises I have come across is the Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from Santa Ynez Valley. With winemaker Paul Hobbs serving as consultant, it is going to be good, but I dare you to put this wine up against the Caymus Special Selection, or the Joseph Phelps Backus, and see if you can taste a difference. If you can’t, and you think that the Caymus or Phelps is a better wine, you my friend, have been paying WAY too much for a bottle of California Cab. (We currently carry the Star Lane Cab for just $39.99, Caymus SS is currently $120 and Phelps Backus is hovering around $200.)

There are a lot of amazing bottles of wine out there for a helluva lot less than you would expect to pay for one of those “marquee” brands. Think outside the box for once, and you will most assuredly be pleasantly surprised. Hell, you might even start believing that less truly is more.

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