The letdown of fine wines


I will not disappoint you – but I was witness when well known critics failed in blind tastings.

BTW: The most famous Burgundy critic did nor realize that a forger served him faked old Romane Conti. And the most famous Bordeaux critic did nor realize when a German forger served him fake Petrus.

Be careful.

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If it’s good enough to show extremely well, does it really matter if the grape juice you are drinking came from a different place? I’m sure there’s lots of fakes being enjoyed all over the world all the time. Maybe some people like the fakes better than the real stuff…


You would think the foremost critics would enjoy and appreciate the good stuff, as well as know the wines quite well from experience.

Would love to know what the forgers replaced the good stuff with.

You are not the only one here with experience. Assuming ignorance is never a good choice.



That’s irrelevant. That critics don’t always call wines blind isn’t the point. I’m sorry you appear not to have had a great bottle of Burgundy.

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I agree completely with this, for regular wine consumers and in particular for those who actively apply themselves to discerning the difference in quality(or terroir) amongst excellent producers will most assuredly see a difference between $100 and $500 bottles. But which is the better is routinely not connected to the price. Especially in regions like Burgundy where great vineyards are not necessarily owned by the most talented cellars.


I taste probably 80% of the wines blind. (Unfortunately) all my best wine experiences (the best 1% rated 100pts & 99pts) so far have been with high end wines, the only exceptions being probably a 1947 unknown private bottling of Rioja.

That doesn‘t mean that these wines are always on (I‘ve rated a recent Petrus 6 vintages vertical with 92.2pts on average), or every high end wine always beats much cheaper wines (many things have to be right for a bottle of wine to show its best).

Another data point is the Bordeaux vintage horizontals our group did over the past few years. All wines were tasted and rated blind. (Again, unfortunately) on the top there are mostly the high end wines (with only the occasional cheaper wine sneaking into the top 5).

Vintage horizontal blind tasting (group results):

61x Bordeaux 2010 - Top 5
Le Pin
Clos Manou & Cheval Blanc

47x Bordeaux 2009 - Top 5
Cheval Blanc

32x Bordeaux 2012
Pichon Comtesse

30x Bordeaux 2011 - Top 5
Le Pin

48x Bordeaux 2000 - Top 5
Le Pin

(Just to be clear: not all of the expensive wines performed best: Haut Brion #24 out of 61 only in the 2010 tasting, Ausone #40. Or in the 2009 tasting Haut Brion #39 out of 48 wines, Lafite #41).

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my point is that price does not reflect quality. To be more clear Romanee Conti is not 10 times more expensive because it is 10 times better than La Tache. Other things play a role obviously.

Nowhere did I say that i.e. Cheval Blanc or Rousseau Chambertin are bad wines. I say they are often great but the difference in quality to other top wines to a way lower price is not big and sometimes not existent at all.

I posted some quotes from scientists and knew they will cause a controversy. IMO because there is a hidden message behind. Someone who spend 2000 bucks for a bottle of wine is not interested to learn that he or she paid the extra for something else then the quality of the wine itself. And those who see wine as an investment are certainly not interested either to inform people that nobody has to spend a fortune for drinking superb wine. It is negative for the business.

Years ago a group called Grand Jury Europeen existed. Only top palates such as sommeliers of the world, well known wine critics and very experienced amateurs were members. Everyone was tested before getting access. All wines were tasted blind. At one point the First Growth Bordeaux did not deliver bottles for the tastings any more because these wines ended not on top of the list on regular base. Often wines with not much image were rated amongst the best. That was naturally not in the interest of First Growth Chateau. Behind the curtain the explanation of the managers was: see – these wines are “something special”.


Ah, ok. Agree, of course a 10x more expensive DRC RC is not 10x better than a 400.- GC Burgundy. I don‘t think that anybody who understands something about wine would dispute that.

Personally, I ignore price when I drink and rate wines completely as it‘s such a subjective criteria (500 more a bottle is an insane extra amount for somebody and not even 1/1000 of a monthly salary for somebody else). But price is obviously a consideration when buying wine. I‘m in the camp to rather spend 700 on one bottle of potentially magical Cheval Blanc than the same 700 on a 6pack of a very good to great Bordeaux.

This is the short list for the best of the best - throw in your best substations for a blind tasting and let the fun begin:

What on that list is more than $500? La Tache, Latour, Conterno Monfortino, Rayas?

The Unico and Corton-Charlie are close but you can get them in the $400’s. The Margaux Blanc is the Pavillion.

Let’s say the 1996 Latour, it’s going to be hard to get any halfway decent 1996 Bordeaux for $100 but maybe a Grand-Puy Lacoste is close. Certainly I would think most wine drinkers would tell them apart blind though. Maybe if you threw in a Pichon Lalande at 1/3 the price you would get people but that’s still probably a $400 bottle of wine.

And of course personal taste can play a part too. I wouldn’t expect to have a great experience from any of the first 4 bottles. Even if I won the lottery tomorrow the first 4 wouldn’t be on my list of wines to buy. But the 1982 HB would be.

I agree with Andy here… most people in this hobby knows this… I dont’ get why some people feel like they need to 'inform the masses".

I don’t think it’s that those people are not interested to learn. I think people who spend $2K a btl already knows what is in the btl and the relative values.

I gotta imagine for the most part, people who drink $2K a btl wines didn’t get into their current financial circumstances because they are oblivious/dumb to the realities of the world. Nor are they blindly spending money (sure i get expense accounts and trust fund babies, but for the most part?)

It’s more likely they are tired of hearing nonsense preaching from some random person professing obvious facts as if it’s some golden nugget of knowledge.

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  1. Nobody thinks that there is a linear relationship between price and quality. This is true of any product, not just wine. However, it’s equally true that there is a relationship. It’s quite clear that Mugnier’s Musigny is better than his chambolle. The question is where everyone wants to fall on that spectrum. Your argument is a red herring.
  2. Your argument isn’t causing any controversy, this is very old news. It’s absolutely true that people value a wine more if they have paid more for it - this is generally true of most things in life. Internalizing the sunk cost concept is hard on an emotional level! But there’s lots of wine drunk blind and there’s lots of wine drunk from friends or other people. This is why many of us drink wine blind - to avoid label bias. There’s no new or controversial information here.

Nobody thinks that there is a linear relationship between price and quality.

I doubt that this is actually the case.

I dont’ get why some people feel like they need to 'inform the masses".

Maybe as a counterpart to the ever escalating prices of so called cult wines in the secondary market and fraud which is part of this game? If someone like Aubert de Villaine hates this and fight against it I guess its ok when other people are in line with what he thinks and says.

  1. You can doubt it all you want, but no one has said this. You’re tilting at windmills here.
  2. First, these are not “cult wines”. Second, Aubert de Villaine* isn’t relevant to the conversation. Third, you’re making old points but want us to treat you like some kind of philosopher king leading us out of Plato’s wine cave. There are lots of people on this forum who have been drinking wine for a long time, we’re all set on wisdom, thanks.

*Aubert de Vilaine’s fight on this issue has always been quixotic and rather aligned to DRC’s profit motive, so you’ll pardon me if I don’t take his pronouncements at face value.


Your confusing a few things here, obviously. Wine as a speculation object: sucks for all of us wine lovers. Sure. No question. De Villaine hates it. But those wine lovers who buy a DRC for 10k to drink it don’t buy it because they think it’s 100x better than the 100$ bottle but because it’s better, it’s worth to them and it’s pocket money for them (you seem to forget that there are many rich people out there).

Juergen just wants to feel smarter than the rest of us fools, so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank him for the invaluable information I could easily have gotten from any bad article written over the last 10 years “disproving” fine wine (I think Vox did the last one).

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