$225 Cab discussion

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MatthewT
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$225 Cab discussion

#1 Post by MatthewT » May 21st, 2020, 2:32 pm

I'm new to this game. And have a hard time tasting the difference between a $100 Cab and a $225 Cab but I haven't had much $225 Cab in my life, to be fair. I work in the stock market and approach this discussion from that perspective. When there is a hot IPO, you can't get allocation to it. And it's underpriced and it opens much higher for a sure thing. Of course, Wine is not much different. Wines with long waiting lists are underpriced and command premiums immediately on the secondary market. If the priced them at market, the wait list would vanish.

My question/debate is this: Any expensive current vintage wine, in the $100+ price point but really $200+, if it's readily available to anyone day 1, and if you can buy older vintages at cost or very close through retail, why would anyone buy this wine day 1? Isn't the market clearly saying it's overpriced? Can't you just wait to see how the wine reviews and buy it years later at near cost or cost? What is the rational besides hoping to get access to something not overpriced aka something that does sell out immediately/has a wait list later in the year?

I've seen a lot of these $200+ Cabs been readily available since I started looking at them.

I am only buying wine for consumption not for investment. But I also don't want to pay inflated prices for wine. I can name you some vineyards that apply to above but you know who they are. There are many. Is it relationships that keep you buying? Is it you feel the value is there based on the taste and the rest is irrelevant?
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#2 Post by Mark Y » May 21st, 2020, 2:40 pm

Macdonald. $165. Really compares well to much more expensive stuff.
Not widely available tho.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#3 Post by Andrew K. » May 21st, 2020, 2:56 pm

A lot of producers have been testing the theory that if you price the release at Market the waitlist will vanish. More and more the last few years prices have risen and are getting very close or are at Market. One perfect example is Harlan. Used to be a great value to be on their list and be able to flip some of the wine for enough profit that you could drink the rest for free. Now they price the release at essentially the market price it makes no sense to even be on their list. I think a lot of people are figuring out that there are very few lists that have any value these days. Buying on the secondary market and cherry picking the best vintages leaves you with no commitment and doesn't really cost anymore than building up a large vertical with many vintages that you don't even care for.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#4 Post by HoosJustinG » May 21st, 2020, 2:56 pm

Are you saying that the ability to buy a wine without “trying hard” that it’s evidence that it’s overpriced? I don’t think I agree.

I do agree there are lots of cabs out there in the $150-300 ballpark — many of which are overpriced relative to quality. It’s expensive land or fruit, so unless you’ve been there a while, it’s hard to put out a bottle of anything noteworthy aged in 100% new French oak (as most of them seem to be) for under 100 bucks a bottle. In terms of buying higher priced cabs from Napa, find yourself a good trust agent to pre-screen bottles (I like ACME in St Helena), trust your palate when you taste stuff, and don’t overbuy something simply because it has a high price tag and you’ll probably be fine.

But yeah, if you want to find $75-100 cabs just as good as most of the $200 cabs out there you certainly can. Chappellet, Frog’s Leap, BV, Stags Leap, Smith-Madrone, Clos du Val, Mayacamas, etc ... not sexy names, but places that have been there a while and don’t have those massive start up costs baked in to every bottle.

ETA (we were posting at the same time, so I didn’t have the opportunity to reply):
Andrew K. wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:56 pm
A lot of producers have been testing the theory that if you price the release at Market the waitlist will vanish. More and more the last few years prices have risen and are getting very close or are at Market. One perfect example is Harlan. Used to be a great value to be on their list and be able to flip some of the wine for enough profit that you could drink the rest for free. Now they price the release at essentially the market price it makes no sense to even be on their list. I think a lot of people are figuring out that there are very few lists that have any value these days. Buying on the secondary market and cherry picking the best vintages leaves you with no commitment and doesn't really cost anymore than building up a large vertical with many vintages that you don't even care for.

It’s a balance, I suppose. On the one hand, you have to see the producer’s POV watching wines they’re selling for $400 go for $1000 basically the next day. OTOH, yes, if you release it at the market value, then there’s really no need to be on the list and buy wines on softer vintages ... which in turn diminishes the perceived cachet of the brand since the wine is now attainable so quickly. Sounds like a fun MBA project...
Last edited by HoosJustinG on May 21st, 2020, 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#5 Post by NED VALOIS » May 21st, 2020, 2:58 pm

Mark Y wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:40 pm
Macdonald. $165. Really compares well to much more expensive stuff.
Not widely available tho.
At that price, has to be from your brother !

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#6 Post by Mike Reff » May 21st, 2020, 3:17 pm

HoosJustinG wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:56 pm
It’s expensive land or fruit, so unless you’ve been there a while, it’s hard to put out a bottle of anything noteworthy aged in 100% new French oak (as most of them seem to be) for under 100 bucks a bottle.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#7 Post by MatthewT » May 21st, 2020, 3:21 pm

Mark Y wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:40 pm
Macdonald. $165. Really compares well to much more expensive stuff.
Not widely available tho.
Yah well that has nothing to do with what I posted, lol. Anything you can't get day 1 is underpriced by definition of the market.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#8 Post by MatthewT » May 21st, 2020, 3:24 pm

Andrew K. wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:56 pm
A lot of producers have been testing the theory that if you price the release at Market the waitlist will vanish. More and more the last few years prices have risen and are getting very close or are at Market. One perfect example is Harlan. Used to be a great value to be on their list and be able to flip some of the wine for enough profit that you could drink the rest for free. Now they price the release at essentially the market price it makes no sense to even be on their list. I think a lot of people are figuring out that there are very few lists that have any value these days. Buying on the secondary market and cherry picking the best vintages leaves you with no commitment and doesn't really cost anymore than building up a large vertical with many vintages that you don't even care for.
That is *exactly* what I'm saying. And it seems any of the producers that have wines available day 1 to *anyone* have not priced at market but are overpricing actually. And why should we buy? Can't I just buy a few years from now after I see how the wine develops?
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#9 Post by MatthewT » May 21st, 2020, 3:26 pm

HoosJustinG wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:56 pm
Are you saying that the ability to buy a wine without “trying hard” that it’s evidence that it’s overpriced? I don’t think I agree.
Nah, it's not about trying hard. Not even sure what that means. I'm saying the wine is overpriced. Supply > demand (substantially) at the price point they charging and you can just wait and buy it years later if you want it. You're taking the risk w/o any real reward.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#10 Post by Philip G » May 21st, 2020, 3:30 pm

I've mostly stopped buying wines from the winery that later show up cheaper on the secondary market. Shafer is a good example of that. The downside is if they pop out an RP Hundo then the price doubles but hey, lots of good wine out there. Their wines should either be in high enough demand that the price is higher on secondary market or they should provide a discount to list members to reward you for loyal buying.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#11 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » May 21st, 2020, 5:22 pm

Matthew, start laying down some Ridge Monte Bello. Sign up for the futures program - these wines will only get more expensive with time.

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#12 Post by Ed Steinway » May 21st, 2020, 5:46 pm

Sc0tt Fitzger@ld wrote:
Matthew, start laying down some Ridge Monte Bello. Sign up for the futures program - these wines will only get more expensive with time.
+1 on the Ridge Monte Bello. And you may also be able to find back vintages that are in your $225 price range target to get an idea of what kind of style the wine is and if it suits your tastes. We have been buying Monte Bello for several years, FWIW. A great, great wine, year after year.

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#13 Post by Steve Crawford » May 21st, 2020, 6:23 pm

MatthewT wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:32 pm
I'm new to this game. And have a hard time tasting the difference between a $100 Cab and a $225 Cab but I haven't had much $225 Cab in my life, to be fair. I work in the stock market and approach this discussion from that perspective. When there is a hot IPO, you can't get allocation to it. And it's underpriced and it opens much higher for a sure thing. Of course, Wine is not much different. Wines with long waiting lists are underpriced and command premiums immediately on the secondary market. If the priced them at market, the wait list would vanish.

My question/debate is this: Any expensive current vintage wine, in the $100+ price point but really $200+, if it's readily available to anyone day 1, and if you can buy older vintages at cost or very close through retail, why would anyone buy this wine day 1? Isn't the market clearly saying it's overpriced? Can't you just wait to see how the wine reviews and buy it years later at near cost or cost? What is the rational besides hoping to get access to something not overpriced aka something that does sell out immediately/has a wait list later in the year?

I've seen a lot of these $200+ Cabs been readily available since I started looking at them.

I am only buying wine for consumption not for investment. But I also don't want to pay inflated prices for wine. I can name you some vineyards that apply to above but you know who they are. There are many. Is it relationships that keep you buying? Is it you feel the value is there based on the taste and the rest is irrelevant?
what wines do you like? value is important, sure. but start first with what you like. if you're buying for consumption and not investment, then stop thinking so much. plus there is zero US wine right now which is an investment at the $100 price point. even at 225 you can count all the US wine investments on less than 5 fingers.

if it's readily available to anyone day 1, and if you can buy older vintages at cost or very close through retail, why would anyone buy this wine day 1? because of provenance, and i want to try the current vintage. older vintage might be younger vines, different winemaker, different grapes/section of the vineyard, just not apples for apples.

Isn't the market clearly saying it's overpriced? fück the market. who cares.
Can't you just wait to see how the wine reviews and buy it years later at near cost or cost? maybe. but scores are overrated. besides jeb.
What is the rational besides hoping to get access to something not overpriced aka something that does sell out immediately/has a wait list later in the year? i buy wine that i like and can also afford and really don't consider whether it sells out or how long the wait list is.

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#14 Post by Mike Reff » May 21st, 2020, 6:58 pm

Ed Steinway wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:46 pm
Sc0tt Fitzger@ld wrote:
Matthew, start laying down some Ridge Monte Bello. Sign up for the futures program - these wines will only get more expensive with time.
+1 on the Ridge Monte Bello. And you may also be able to find back vintages that are in your $225 price range target to get an idea of what kind of style the wine is and if it suits your tastes. We have been buying Monte Bello for several years, FWIW. A great, great wine, year after year.

Ed

Purchased Monte Bello as 2008 futures when my son was born, paid less than $100.00 then, latest wine-searcher shows $225.00 what does that equate to after 11 years on release? newhere
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#15 Post by R. Frankel » May 21st, 2020, 7:21 pm

Ridge is a good example of a consistently great wine priced attractively for release buyers. And yes, it’s the only guaranteed annual buy list that I’m on.

But what Matthew asked about was why people buy on lists that are fully market priced, often available later at a significant discount. My guess is that it’s many many things - relationship with the winery/wine-maker, access to otherwise unavailable experiences (tastings, dinners, other events), price insensitivity (a huge one!), lack of interest in wine as a hobby that leads you to hunt down deals after release, access to guaranteed quantities (some things are really hard to buy by the case after release), access to larger bottles, importance of social markers (I.e. desire to impress others - or yourself - with labels) over cost, laziness (“I tried it, I liked it, I’ll just buy it every year so I don’t have to think about it”) etc. Those are just off the top of my head.

And they are all amplified when you combine with massive amounts of disposable cash. This board is not generally a place where billionaires hang out - the “the cost of wine is inconsequential to my net worth’ crowd. Instead WB is more filled with the white collar world in which a $300 bottle might be a special occasion wine, $150 is approachable for faves, and finding those deals in the $50-$100 range is pretty damn exciting to spice up the $25-$50 regular drinkers. It’s hard to understand how the other half (i.e. the uber wealthy) live. But certainly price matters a lot less than many other things.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#16 Post by Ryan A » May 21st, 2020, 8:41 pm

I think it’s a bit more complicated than a simple demand supply curve/invisible hand, etc. There are subtle items in play (think currency fluctuations as they impact securities that are offshore) to larger (think impact of oil as they relate to the equity market). Add it’s a tangible non-durable commodity (or asset depending how you look at it) that you actually take possession of (actually have your corn futures contract delivered vs having your gold contracts delivered) that’s durable (how was it stored, delivered, etc) and a ‘market additive’ can occur or subtracted on the open market due to the above unknowns ++. Further, good thing I am drinking now (a Bordeaux (VCC) to further complicate things as they price differently), styles and how they age and their followers palate preferences can impact positively or negatively in post release pricing.

I am active in both release (some) and after market as a way to make sure I get what I want at a reasonable price vs best price as many times I want to make sure I get what I want (why work so hard to only get leftovers so to speak).

When I started out I would pool money with friends where we would spend $500 ($125 per person) every two weeks. Brown bag the wines and the buyer could buy 1 $500 bottle or 10 $10 bottles and one $400 bottle and everything in between. It gave you a great sense of age, vintage, regions, styles, etc and the sometimes exponential cost for finite gain per $25 (although sometimes you could really tell the difference). It gets even more fun/nuts when Bordeaux wines are in play.

While I don’t agree with a number of wines mentioned in this thread as suggestions- that’s the beauty of it, I don’t have to. Plus your palate changes just when you think you figured it all out :)

My five tiers (release price not inflated or discounted) for Napa Cabernets/Bordeaux blends are as follows (very different in other regions and grape varietals):
1) $75 - $100
2) $100 $150
3) $150 - $200
4) $200 - $250
Not much on the $251 - $499 tier (yes they exist just not a significant enough amount to matter).
5) ~$500

Ask for suggestions, taste at release (better yet go to Napa and go to tastings) and as they age and then venture into secondary market or Vice Versa. Not sure if any of what I wrote has value but I guess you get what you pay for. Cheers.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#17 Post by Philip G » May 21st, 2020, 10:24 pm

Mike Reff wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 6:58 pm
Ed Steinway wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:46 pm
Sc0tt Fitzger@ld wrote:
Matthew, start laying down some Ridge Monte Bello. Sign up for the futures program - these wines will only get more expensive with time.
+1 on the Ridge Monte Bello. And you may also be able to find back vintages that are in your $225 price range target to get an idea of what kind of style the wine is and if it suits your tastes. We have been buying Monte Bello for several years, FWIW. A great, great wine, year after year.

Ed

Purchased Monte Bello as 2008 futures when my son was born, paid less than $100.00 then, latest wine-searcher shows $225.00 what does that equate to after 11 years on release? newhere
S&P 500 was at 1300 in 2008 and now it's at 2900 so if you had put that $100 in a simple S&P type fund it would be worth $223 and you could buy that wine but you'd have to pay capital gains taxes and you wouldn't know where it's been for the last 12 years. If you had bought it and tried to sell it now you would have to ship it to an auction house and they would take a cut of the sales. So if your interest is in drinking it you're better off buying it when it was released if you want to make money on it you're probably better off putting your money in a mutual fund.

I'm interested in drinking wine but want to make sure I'm getting the best value, which is subjective, for my dollar.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#18 Post by Steve Crawford » May 22nd, 2020, 1:53 am

Philip G wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 10:24 pm
Mike Reff wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 6:58 pm
Ed Steinway wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:46 pm


+1 on the Ridge Monte Bello. And you may also be able to find back vintages that are in your $225 price range target to get an idea of what kind of style the wine is and if it suits your tastes. We have been buying Monte Bello for several years, FWIW. A great, great wine, year after year.

Ed

Purchased Monte Bello as 2008 futures when my son was born, paid less than $100.00 then, latest wine-searcher shows $225.00 what does that equate to after 11 years on release? newhere
S&P 500 was at 1300 in 2008 and now it's at 2900 so if you had put that $100 in a simple S&P type fund it would be worth $223 and you could buy that wine but you'd have to pay capital gains taxes and you wouldn't know where it's been for the last 12 years. If you had bought it and tried to sell it now you would have to ship it to an auction house and they would take a cut of the sales. So if your interest is in drinking it you're better off buying it when it was released if you want to make money on it you're probably better off putting your money in a mutual fund.

I'm interested in drinking wine but want to make sure I'm getting the best value, which is subjective, for my dollar.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#19 Post by Dan_Fusco » May 22nd, 2020, 4:42 am

I'm surprised nobody mentioned DiCostanzo yet, seeing how popular they are in the WB community. I grabbed their entry level 2017 DICO for $55 each during WB11 and it definitely lived up to the hype. Their single vineyard bottles run in the $95-$125 range, which is still a great "deal" for Napa.

The other bottle that immediately comes to mind is the Bevan Ontogeny, which never disappoints at $95.

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#20 Post by Cary Rosner » May 22nd, 2020, 4:58 am

I don’t drink a lot of Cabernet these days but Spottswoode to me can go up against most of the higher end cults year after year! Macdonald is pretty solid though extremely difficult to find under 2x the release price in the secondary market!

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#21 Post by MatthewT » May 22nd, 2020, 5:23 am

R. Frankel wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 7:21 pm
Ridge is a good example of a consistently great wine priced attractively for release buyers. And yes, it’s the only guaranteed annual buy list that I’m on.

But what Matthew asked about was why people buy on lists that are fully market priced, often available later at a significant discount. My guess is that it’s many many things - relationship with the winery/wine-maker, access to otherwise unavailable experiences (tastings, dinners, other events), price insensitivity (a huge one!), lack of interest in wine as a hobby that leads you to hunt down deals after release, access to guaranteed quantities (some things are really hard to buy by the case after release), access to larger bottles, importance of social markers (I.e. desire to impress others - or yourself - with labels) over cost, laziness (“I tried it, I liked it, I’ll just buy it every year so I don’t have to think about it”) etc. Those are just off the top of my head.

And they are all amplified when you combine with massive amounts of disposable cash. This board is not generally a place where billionaires hang out - the “the cost of wine is inconsequential to my net worth’ crowd. Instead WB is more filled with the white collar world in which a $300 bottle might be a special occasion wine, $150 is approachable for faves, and finding those deals in the $50-$100 range is pretty damn exciting to spice up the $25-$50 regular drinkers. It’s hard to understand how the other half (i.e. the uber wealthy) live. But certainly price matters a lot less than many other things.
You get exactly what I was trying to get at. And you're right, if you have unlimited disposable income then this is all irrelevant. I was coming to this question assuming 99% of us do not? And the "unlimited" income crowd is small enough to where these wines are still available day 1 to everyone with no wait list at the offer price.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#22 Post by MatthewT » May 22nd, 2020, 5:28 am

Philip G wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 10:24 pm
Mike Reff wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 6:58 pm
Ed Steinway wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 5:46 pm


+1 on the Ridge Monte Bello. And you may also be able to find back vintages that are in your $225 price range target to get an idea of what kind of style the wine is and if it suits your tastes. We have been buying Monte Bello for several years, FWIW. A great, great wine, year after year.

Ed

Purchased Monte Bello as 2008 futures when my son was born, paid less than $100.00 then, latest wine-searcher shows $225.00 what does that equate to after 11 years on release? newhere
S&P 500 was at 1300 in 2008 and now it's at 2900 so if you had put that $100 in a simple S&P type fund it would be worth $223 and you could buy that wine but you'd have to pay capital gains taxes and you wouldn't know where it's been for the last 12 years. If you had bought it and tried to sell it now you would have to ship it to an auction house and they would take a cut of the sales. So if your interest is in drinking it you're better off buying it when it was released if you want to make money on it you're probably better off putting your money in a mutual fund.

I'm interested in drinking wine but want to make sure I'm getting the best value, which is subjective, for my dollar.
I actually think this is a good way to look at it! No, it doesn't have to match the S&P 500, but I'd hope it came close! It's also much easier selling the S&P 500 when you want to unload! Also I think the $225 is the asking price not clearance price. Would need to value it at clearing price after all fees.

But of course, the purchase in 2008 was not to sell but to drink with your son one day. So it is rather irrelevant if it was a good investment or not.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#23 Post by MatthewT » May 22nd, 2020, 5:29 am

Dan_Fusco wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 4:42 am
I'm surprised nobody mentioned DiCostanzo yet, seeing how popular they are in the WB community. I grabbed their entry level 2017 DICO for $55 each during WB11 and it definitely lived up to the hype. Their single vineyard bottles run in the $95-$125 range, which is still a great "deal" for Napa.

The other bottle that immediately comes to mind is the Bevan Ontogeny, which never disappoints at $95.
I agree with DICO. Very very impressed and will be buying a lot more.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#24 Post by Dennis Borczon » May 22nd, 2020, 6:05 am

Philip G wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 3:30 pm
I've mostly stopped buying wines from the winery that later show up cheaper on the secondary market. Shafer is a good example of that. The downside is if they pop out an RP Hundo then the price doubles but hey, lots of good wine out there. Their wines should either be in high enough demand that the price is higher on secondary market or they should provide a discount to list members to reward you for loyal buying.
There are no more Parker Hundos. There are only Lisa Perotti Brown Hundos or some other reviewers. It used to be back in the day, when most winemakers in Napa did not understand "the formula" (really ripe grapes+lots of French oak to hide any blemishes+small production, good PR perceived shortage building on FOMO) that there were just a few wineries that would blow doors off most of the competition. Ah yes, I remember the 90's. Now the degree of separation between many of these wineries has gotten reaaaaaaly small in the uber ripe lush styles. Many cab based blends are almost impossible to pick out in blind tastings as unique. There are a few exceptions based on unique sites (Pritchard Hill) or unique patrimony and vine stock (McDonald, Scarecrow) or what is most surprising, a re-evaluation of producers who stayed the course and just produced nice, ageable, well balanced wines at a decent price (Corison, Frog's Leap, Flora Springs and I guess you could list Togni and Dunn in the "don't drink until 10 years old" category).

So if you take this approach and filter the wines into different categories, it will make a lot more sense. Occasionally you will run into the "unclassifiable" category of wines like Greer, William Cole, or a couple of others that cross some boundaries. There are always exceptions to every rule. Another dead giveaway is the owner who typically made a bundle of money in some other industry, wanted to move to the valley after it became a lifestyle destination, and bought a house with some grapes then hires a celebrity winemaker to produce a vanity project. These are almost always a wine that falls into the ripe grapes+lots of oak+ sexy label category. Kind of a dime-a-dozen these days. That is if your dime is valued at about $225.00.

In addition you can thanks Andy Beckstoffer for the relative flattening of the playing field, as he introduced a uniform pricing strategy for purchased grapes. Anything I missed to help a brother out?

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#25 Post by Philip G » May 22nd, 2020, 6:58 am

MatthewT wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:28 am
Philip G wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 10:24 pm
Mike Reff wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 6:58 pm



Purchased Monte Bello as 2008 futures when my son was born, paid less than $100.00 then, latest wine-searcher shows $225.00 what does that equate to after 11 years on release? newhere
S&P 500 was at 1300 in 2008 and now it's at 2900 so if you had put that $100 in a simple S&P type fund it would be worth $223 and you could buy that wine but you'd have to pay capital gains taxes and you wouldn't know where it's been for the last 12 years. If you had bought it and tried to sell it now you would have to ship it to an auction house and they would take a cut of the sales. So if your interest is in drinking it you're better off buying it when it was released if you want to make money on it you're probably better off putting your money in a mutual fund.

I'm interested in drinking wine but want to make sure I'm getting the best value, which is subjective, for my dollar.
I actually think this is a good way to look at it! No, it doesn't have to match the S&P 500, but I'd hope it came close! It's also much easier selling the S&P 500 when you want to unload! Also I think the $225 is the asking price not clearance price. Would need to value it at clearing price after all fees.

But of course, the purchase in 2008 was not to sell but to drink with your son one day. So it is rather irrelevant if it was a good investment or not.
Matt - Yes, pretty interesting that a 2008 MB matched the S&P! There probably is some correlation there between growth of wealth and premiere wine prices. Should be a great wine to share with your son, good choice!

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#26 Post by Philip G » May 22nd, 2020, 7:11 am

Dennis Borczon wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 6:05 am
Philip G wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 3:30 pm
I've mostly stopped buying wines from the winery that later show up cheaper on the secondary market. Shafer is a good example of that. The downside is if they pop out an RP Hundo then the price doubles but hey, lots of good wine out there. Their wines should either be in high enough demand that the price is higher on secondary market or they should provide a discount to list members to reward you for loyal buying.
There are no more Parker Hundos. There are only Lisa Perotti Brown Hundos or some other reviewers.
My point about the Parker Hundo, now RPWA Hundo, is that even without Parker's name on the review it will typically double or more the aftermarket price of the wine. So if you like that wine but usually buy it on the aftermarket at less than winery price you're going to pay more for it that year or spend your money elsewhere, i.e. "lots of good wine out there".

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#27 Post by Wes Barton » May 22nd, 2020, 11:16 am

MatthewT wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 3:26 pm
HoosJustinG wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:56 pm
Are you saying that the ability to buy a wine without “trying hard” that it’s evidence that it’s overpriced? I don’t think I agree.
Nah, it's not about trying hard. Not even sure what that means. I'm saying the wine is overpriced. Supply > demand (substantially) at the price point they charging and you can just wait and buy it years later if you want it. You're taking the risk w/o any real reward.
But, you said you're buying for consumption. Supply and demand determines the secondary market price. But, who gives a shit? What's relevant is how much you enjoy a wine, which should determine the value you put on that wine. If one wine is going for $400 and looks like it will appreciate in value, and another you enjoy equally is $60 and will just sit there, your consumption value is the same for both wines. The difference you have a hard time telling between a $100 and a $225 wine may be zero. Don't try to justify wasting money. Buy low, drink high.

As far as pricey Napa Cabs go for me, some seem worth the price, others seem gimmicky, extreme for extreme's sake, are often unpleasant to drink and leave me skeptical they could age well. Price does not equal quality does not equal enjoyability.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#28 Post by Steve Crawford » May 22nd, 2020, 11:23 am

MatthewT wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:29 am
Dan_Fusco wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 4:42 am
I'm surprised nobody mentioned DiCostanzo yet, seeing how popular they are in the WB community. I grabbed their entry level 2017 DICO for $55 each during WB11 and it definitely lived up to the hype. Their single vineyard bottles run in the $95-$125 range, which is still a great "deal" for Napa.

The other bottle that immediately comes to mind is the Bevan Ontogeny, which never disappoints at $95.
I agree with DICO. Very very impressed and will be buying a lot more.
there will be zero appreciation (investment wise) in these wines though.

there are clearly two separate conversations here which are getting fused.

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#29 Post by Bill G » May 22nd, 2020, 11:31 am

Andrew K. wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:56 pm
A lot of producers have been testing the theory that if you price the release at Market the waitlist will vanish. More and more the last few years prices have risen and are getting very close or are at Market. One perfect example is Harlan. Used to be a great value to be on their list and be able to flip some of the wine for enough profit that you could drink the rest for free. Now they price the release at essentially the market price it makes no sense to even be on their list. I think a lot of people are figuring out that there are very few lists that have any value these days. Buying on the secondary market and cherry picking the best vintages leaves you with no commitment and doesn't really cost anymore than building up a large vertical with many vintages that you don't even care for.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#30 Post by NickRut » May 22nd, 2020, 11:35 am

I can't think of many wines that depreciate significantly after the initial release price on normal to good vintages. Some of them will sell tax free from retailers at around the same price a few months later so you can save money that way. Plenty of napa cabs that appreciate almost 100% of the time though.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#31 Post by John Morris » May 22nd, 2020, 11:38 am

MatthewT wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:32 pm
I'm new to this game. And have a hard time tasting the difference between a $100 Cab and a $225 Cab but I haven't had much $225 Cab in my life, to be fair. I work in the stock market and approach this discussion from that perspective. When there is a hot IPO, you can't get allocation to it. And it's underpriced and it opens much higher for a sure thing. Of course, Wine is not much different. Wines with long waiting lists are underpriced and command premiums immediately on the secondary market. If the priced them at market, the wait list would vanish.

My question/debate is this: Any expensive current vintage wine, in the $100+ price point but really $200+, if it's readily available to anyone day 1, and if you can buy older vintages at cost or very close through retail, why would anyone buy this wine day 1? Isn't the market clearly saying it's overpriced? Can't you just wait to see how the wine reviews and buy it years later at near cost or cost? What is the rational besides hoping to get access to something not overpriced aka something that does sell out immediately/has a wait list later in the year?

I've seen a lot of these $200+ Cabs been readily available since I started looking at them.

I am only buying wine for consumption not for investment. But I also don't want to pay inflated prices for wine. I can name you some vineyards that apply to above but you know who they are. There are many. Is it relationships that keep you buying? Is it you feel the value is there based on the taste and the rest is irrelevant?
You're asking a lot of good questions.

Don't assume that price correlates with "quality," whatever that is (it's an individual thing). You should figure out what you like, then look at prices.

With expensive wines, a lot of the price stems not from inherent pleasure but from (a) scarcity and (b) Veblen-esque status display. That's not just California; it's true of many European wines, too. Once you're at $100 or more, you're dealing with a luxury product. It's no accident that LVMH owns a lot of iconic wine producers (e.g., Yquem).

If you really want to have a meaningful measure of value FOR YOU, you should blind taste a bunch of these wines at different ages. Then decide what you're willing to pay and which ones are worth it to you. Pay attention to the fact that you can't tell much different between a $100 and a $225 wine!

This isn't like a stock or a business where you can look at P/E or Ebitda multiples to judge value.

Personally, I find an inverse relationship between price and pleasure in Napa cabs once you get past $100 or so. Over that price point, they have to be super-extracted, very ripe and very oak, because that's what wins 95+ points from the wine press, which sustains demand. I don't like that style, so to me it would be just throwing away money on most of those. (Ridge Montebello and a few others would be exceptions.) And, if you do like that style, I still think if you taste $100, $200 and $300 bottles side by side blind, you're unlikely to find price and your preference correlates well.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#32 Post by John Morris » May 22nd, 2020, 11:41 am

NickRut wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 11:35 am
I can't think of many wines that depreciate significantly after the initial release price on normal to good vintages. Some of them will sell tax free from retailers at around the same price a few months later so you can save money that way. Plenty of napa cabs that appreciate almost 100% of the time though.
As a general matter, I think that is not true of Napa cabs, save for a very few. It certainly hasn't been true historically. Auction prices on older cabs rarely show a lot of appreciation.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#33 Post by NickRut » May 22nd, 2020, 12:03 pm

John Morris wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 11:41 am
NickRut wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 11:35 am
I can't think of many wines that depreciate significantly after the initial release price on normal to good vintages. Some of them will sell tax free from retailers at around the same price a few months later so you can save money that way. Plenty of napa cabs that appreciate almost 100% of the time though.
As a general matter, I think that is not true of Napa cabs, save for a very few. It certainly hasn't been true historically. Auction prices on older cabs rarely show a lot of appreciation.

For release price vs. what you pay secondary? There are not a ton but there are certainly more than a handful. Anything allocated that sells out quickly will usually appreciate, even if only a little bit. Realm has 3 bottles I can think of, Vice Versa SVDs, Maybach Materium, Memento Mori SVDs, Some of the Carter wines, some of the Myriad wines, Macdonald (obviously) and I'm sure there are more.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#34 Post by MatthewT » May 22nd, 2020, 12:33 pm

I think a bit of confusion in this thread. Yes, I do not want any wine for investment purposes. That doesn't mean I want to overpay for wine! I agree one person's $225 wine might be *worth* $1000 to someone else based on their tastes and net worth, despite it being readily available for $225.

Basically I want fantastic QPR to consume and it's hard for me to see a $225 wine that is readily available to everyone no matter how great it tastes is a great QPR based on it being overpriced vs supply/demand. I have much of less issue with a $50 wine like DICO which of course you can also argue is not priced right given it's readily available for $50. But the QPR is fantastic cause it's $50 not $225.

Does that make any sense?
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#35 Post by K. Tr@n » May 22nd, 2020, 12:54 pm

MatthewT wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 12:33 pm
I think a bit of confusion in this thread. Yes, I do not want any wine for investment purposes. That doesn't mean I want to overpay for wine! I agree one person's $225 wine might be *worth* $1000 to someone else based on their tastes and net worth, despite it being readily available for $225.

Basically I want fantastic QPR to consume and it's hard for me to see a $225 wine that is readily available to everyone no matter how great it tastes is a great QPR based on it being overpriced vs supply/demand. I have much of less issue with a $50 wine like DICO which of course you can also argue is not priced right given it's readily available for $50. But the QPR is fantastic cause it's $50 not $225.

Does that make any sense?
I think DICO is priced correctly. It seems like a good deal because everyone around it is inflated.
If you compare DICO to other high quality QPR bdx style wines, then it is just right. For example, in the same price range, you can try 2016 Domaine the Chevalier or Malescot St Exupery and you see DICO does not perform as well. It is equivalent to Lafon Rochet to me, and that is at $40.

Napa-wise, DICO QPR is right at 1. Basically if you can put a price on the quality of the wine, it matches with the selling price. It tastes like a $50 kind of wine, and it costs $50. Most of the $225 I have tasted are worth 100-150 to me. For example, Phelps Insignia is 225, but to me, it tastes like a 150 kind of wine, so the QPR is 0.67. It is increasingly rare to find a wine over $100 that has QPR higher than 1.

I am always looking for good QPR wines. It seems like that ship has sailed for the ones in the $200+ from Napa. Yet, I still buy some of them knowing I am overpaying.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#36 Post by Mike Van1 » May 22nd, 2020, 3:13 pm

So if a wine sells out in a day it’s underpriced. But if it doesn’t sell out in a day it’s overpriced? If not, then what is the amount of days it should take to sell out a particular wine in order to prove it’s priced right?
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#37 Post by Doug Schulman » May 22nd, 2020, 3:22 pm

John Morris wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 11:38 am
MatthewT wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 2:32 pm
I'm new to this game. And have a hard time tasting the difference between a $100 Cab and a $225 Cab but I haven't had much $225 Cab in my life, to be fair. I work in the stock market and approach this discussion from that perspective. When there is a hot IPO, you can't get allocation to it. And it's underpriced and it opens much higher for a sure thing. Of course, Wine is not much different. Wines with long waiting lists are underpriced and command premiums immediately on the secondary market. If the priced them at market, the wait list would vanish.

My question/debate is this: Any expensive current vintage wine, in the $100+ price point but really $200+, if it's readily available to anyone day 1, and if you can buy older vintages at cost or very close through retail, why would anyone buy this wine day 1? Isn't the market clearly saying it's overpriced? Can't you just wait to see how the wine reviews and buy it years later at near cost or cost? What is the rational besides hoping to get access to something not overpriced aka something that does sell out immediately/has a wait list later in the year?

I've seen a lot of these $200+ Cabs been readily available since I started looking at them.

I am only buying wine for consumption not for investment. But I also don't want to pay inflated prices for wine. I can name you some vineyards that apply to above but you know who they are. There are many. Is it relationships that keep you buying? Is it you feel the value is there based on the taste and the rest is irrelevant?
You're asking a lot of good questions.

Don't assume that price correlates with "quality," whatever that is (it's an individual thing). You should figure out what you like, then look at prices.

With expensive wines, a lot of the price stems not from inherent pleasure but from (a) scarcity and (b) Veblen-esque status display. That's not just California; it's true of many European wines, too. Once you're at $100 or more, you're dealing with a luxury product. It's no accident that LVMH owns a lot of iconic wine producers (e.g., Yquem).

If you really want to have a meaningful measure of value FOR YOU, you should blind taste a bunch of these wines at different ages. Then decide what you're willing to pay and which ones are worth it to you. Pay attention to the fact that you can't tell much different between a $100 and a $225 wine!

This isn't like a stock or a business where you can look at P/E or Ebitda multiples to judge value.

Personally, I find an inverse relationship between price and pleasure in Napa cabs once you get past $100 or so. Over that price point, they have to be super-extracted, very ripe and very oak, because that's what wins 95+ points from the wine press, which sustains demand. I don't like that style, so to me it would be just throwing away money on most of those. (Ridge Montebello and a few others would be exceptions.) And, if you do like that style, I still think if you taste $100, $200 and $300 bottles side by side blind, you're unlikely to find price and your preference correlates well.
This is excellent advice.

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#38 Post by R. Frankel » May 22nd, 2020, 3:42 pm

Somewhat unpopular to say so, but there are $225 class Napa wines that I’ve found to be excellent, and better than $100 Napas. There are also some $75 Napa cabs that I’ve loved and enjoyed nearly as much. And some $300 bottles that I didn’t much care for. All a matter of personal taste - so worth testing your taste hypotheses with vigorous sampling!

Specific examples? Above $200 I’ve found Colgin and Shafer to be pretty amazing. Greer and VHR as well. Depending on the vintage some of these can be found below release price. Still, I’m not buying these any more as my cellar is full and I’ve found some cabs at lower price points that scratch that itch.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#39 Post by MatthewT » May 22nd, 2020, 4:35 pm

Mike Van1 wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 3:13 pm
So if a wine sells out in a day it’s underpriced. But if it doesn’t sell out in a day it’s overpriced? If not, then what is the amount of days it should take to sell out a particular wine in order to prove it’s priced right?
No, really only referring to high priced $200+ cabs which I think are a lot of hype and the supply/demand imbalance is what drives it past that price point, if that makes sense.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#40 Post by J. Rock » May 22nd, 2020, 4:52 pm

I just pulled the trigger on a 2015 Shafer Hillside Select. I've never had a SHS, but I hope it's worth the $49 I got it for! I've yet to pay more than $200 for a bottle of wine, so I'm not sure how a lot of these high end Cabs stack up.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#41 Post by David Crow » May 22nd, 2020, 5:05 pm

J. Rock wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 4:52 pm
I just pulled the trigger on a 2015 Shafer Hillside Select. I've never had a SHS, but I hope it's worth the $49 I got it for! I've yet to pay more than $200 for a bottle of wine, so I'm not sure how a lot of these high end Cabs stack up.
Please share how you got SHS for $49

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#42 Post by Bdklein » May 22nd, 2020, 5:29 pm

David Crow wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:05 pm
J. Rock wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 4:52 pm
I just pulled the trigger on a 2015 Shafer Hillside Select. I've never had a SHS, but I hope it's worth the $49 I got it for! I've yet to pay more than $200 for a bottle of wine, so I'm not sure how a lot of these high end Cabs stack up.
Please share how you got SHS for $49
Maybe the 1 is missing ?
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#43 Post by blarmston » May 22nd, 2020, 5:29 pm

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#44 Post by J. Rock » May 22nd, 2020, 5:29 pm

David Crow wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:05 pm
J. Rock wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 4:52 pm
I just pulled the trigger on a 2015 Shafer Hillside Select. I've never had a SHS, but I hope it's worth the $49 I got it for! I've yet to pay more than $200 for a bottle of wine, so I'm not sure how a lot of these high end Cabs stack up.
Please share how you got SHS for $49
I referred a few of my friends and a couple people on here to Wine Access. $50 per referral; $299 original sales price; free shipping. Very happy with this deal. I've yet to try this wine, but it sounds like something I'll really love.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#45 Post by Br1an Th0rne » May 22nd, 2020, 8:01 pm

I’ve dropped off of every mailing list where I can get the wine on the secondary market for the same or less than I paid for it via the winery. I’ve had a few (Kapcsandy Grand Vin and Roberta’s Reserve comes to mind) that even after the RP/JD/AG hundo scores for certain vintages, they are still available cheaper at auction than via the winery mailing list. Maddening.

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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#46 Post by MatthewT » May 22nd, 2020, 8:38 pm

Br1an Th0rne wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 8:01 pm
I’ve dropped off of every mailing list where I can get the wine on the secondary market for the same or less than I paid for it via the winery. I’ve had a few (Kapcsandy Grand Vin and Roberta’s Reserve comes to mind) that even after the RP/JD/AG hundo scores for certain vintages, they are still available cheaper at auction than via the winery mailing list. Maddening.
I guess this was what I was getting at. Thanks!
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#47 Post by Mike Reff » May 23rd, 2020, 10:35 am

MatthewT wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 5:28 am
Philip G wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 10:24 pm
Mike Reff wrote:
May 21st, 2020, 6:58 pm



Purchased Monte Bello as 2008 futures when my son was born, paid less than $100.00 then, latest wine-searcher shows $225.00 what does that equate to after 11 years on release? newhere
S&P 500 was at 1300 in 2008 and now it's at 2900 so if you had put that $100 in a simple S&P type fund it would be worth $223 and you could buy that wine but you'd have to pay capital gains taxes and you wouldn't know where it's been for the last 12 years. If you had bought it and tried to sell it now you would have to ship it to an auction house and they would take a cut of the sales. So if your interest is in drinking it you're better off buying it when it was released if you want to make money on it you're probably better off putting your money in a mutual fund.

I'm interested in drinking wine but want to make sure I'm getting the best value, which is subjective, for my dollar.
I actually think this is a good way to look at it! No, it doesn't have to match the S&P 500, but I'd hope it came close! It's also much easier selling the S&P 500 when you want to unload! Also I think the $225 is the asking price not clearance price. Would need to value it at clearing price after all fees.

But of course, the purchase in 2008 was not to sell but to drink with your son one day. So it is rather irrelevant if it was a good investment or not.
Correct, once I decide to gift him the bottles, it is up to him to do with what he chooses, we can drink it together (hoping) or he can try and sell it. But the bottom line is that it is a gift and once given as a gift it is out of the gifter(s) hands.
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Re: $225 Cab discussion

#48 Post by Nathan Smyth » May 23rd, 2020, 11:20 am

I think a bit of confusion in this thread. Yes, I do not want any wine for investment purposes. That doesn't mean I want to overpay for wine! I agree one person's $225 wine might be *worth* $1000 to someone else based on their tastes and net worth, despite it being readily available for $225.

Basically I want fantastic QPR to consume and it's hard for me to see a $225 wine that is readily available to everyone no matter how great it tastes is a great QPR based on it being overpriced vs supply/demand. I have much of less issue with a $50 wine like DICO which of course you can also argue is not priced right given it's readily available for $50. But the QPR is fantastic cause it's $50 not $225.

Does that make any sense?
No, it sounds like you don't have any earthly idea what you yourself actually enjoy sipping on.

If I were you, and if I had a bunch of extra stockbroker shekels to burn, then I'd be tasting & tasting & tasting some more, until I figured out what floated my boat and what didn't. [Which means you've got to set aside a bunch of time & elbow grease & sweat equity for tastings, and that's HARD WORK.]

Beyond working on my tasting chops, I'd also try to remember to have the humility necessary to confess that my tastes are capable of changing over time, and that I might have been wrong in the past concerning my evaluation of a particular wine [or even entire categories of wine].

There are also two excellent data samples which have been posted on this thread:
It used to be back in the day, when most winemakers in Napa did not understand "the formula" (really ripe grapes+lots of French oak to hide any blemishes+small production, good PR perceived shortage building on FOMO) that there were just a few wineries that would blow doors off most of the competition. Ah yes, I remember the 90's. Now the degree of separation between many of these wineries has gotten reaaaaaaly small in the uber ripe lush styles. Many cab based blends are almost impossible to pick out in blind tastings as unique.
I'm seeing this everywhere now, from all cultivars of vinifera being grown in all nations which export to the USA: Perfectly perfect wines, all with exactly the same mouthfeel, the same acidity, the same sugar levels, the same everything. It's probably part & parcel of the larger psycho-sociological phenomenon of Modernity wiping out all remaining vestiges of irascibly non-conforming personality types [which likely is causing a mass convergence of both the personalities of the producers & the personalities of the consumers].
what is most surprising, a re-evaluation of producers who stayed the course and just produced nice, ageable, well balanced wines at a decent price (Corison, Frog's Leap, Flora Springs and I guess you could list Togni and Dunn in the "don't drink until 10 years old" category)
If Cathy Corison is now considered to be "Old School", then all hope is lost.

Her wines are pushing the envelope right out to the very edge of swallowable, and are almost toying with being outright spoofulated.

[I'm not saying her wines are bad, but they are at the far cusp of outstanding - if she goes any further, then she's falling off the deep end.]

PS: "Tasting" wines doesn't mean you have to swallow gallons of them. If you care about your gray matter, then work on small pours and micro-swallows, so that you minimize the damage done by the hangovers the next day.

PPS: If you want to support small businessmen & small businesswomen working exclusively with Cabernet, then contact this board member and this board member to see whether they can sell you something.

PPPS: If you still have big stacks of redundant shekels to burn, then invest in aged bottles and learn what cellars well versus what doesn't.

Look for magnums of 1960s/1970s Chappellets by Philip Togni, or magnums of the 1978 Mondavi Reserve, or, more recently, the 1991 or 1994 Tognis in 750ml.

[And if you have an yuge mountain of redundant stockbroker shekels to incinerate, then look for the 1968 or 1969 or 1974 Heitz Martha's Vineyard, and hope that the bottle is not counterfeit...]

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Mattstolz
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Location: South Carolina

Re: $225 Cab discussion

#49 Post by Mattstolz » May 23rd, 2020, 11:37 am

OP- i think wine may in some cases differ from the stock market in what you are asking, but most of the time you are probably right. there is not a huge incentive from a purely economic perspective for being on a list if I can walk into Total Wine (or, preferably, a locally run shop) tomorrow and buy the same wine, or even an older vintage of that wine, for the same price. there are some lists that ive said no to for this exact reason

that being said, the comparison to stocks breaks down in some cases with wine for two reasons: 1) that older vintage that you are buying at this year's release price is not the same wine. sometimes that older vintage is priced the same as the new one cuz it was a bad (or at least a not-as-good) year. 2) sometimes people are on lists for reasons that are not purely economics. for example: I am on Bedrock's list. I can buy Bedrock where I live for just about the same price as I buy from the winery. I stay on the list though because I would rather that Morgan and Chris get the entire price of the bottle instead of a bunch of middlemen taking cuts from their profits (in the case of wine, a distributor and a retail shop). There are actually several lists I am on for this reason. I only dabble in stock trading so Im pretty certain there is no stock market equivalent to this?
Last edited by Mattstolz on May 23rd, 2020, 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Victor Hong
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Joined: May 30th, 2009, 1:34 pm

Re: $225 Cab discussion

#50 Post by Victor Hong » May 23rd, 2020, 11:39 am

This thread reminds me to find a higher-paying job.
WineHunter.

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