Value experiment

An internet retailer I buy from (customer as well as supplier, so not named) recently offered a mystery case of 12 wines at $10 per bottle. I bit. A community event gave me a reason to crack a few. For me, the exercise is more about assigning a dollar value than a score… is the case worth over $120 to me? The first three were a mixed but encouraging bag.

2012 Uvaggio Vermentino Lodi – I don’t think of Vermentino (also Rolle) as ageworthy, but this was fine with good freshness and acidity, appealing white fruits and spices. Rated about 88, my value $16.

2014 Squadra Rosso, 70/20/10 Cab / Syrah / Merlot, IGT Sicily – Somewhat closed dull aromas of red fruit, medium bodied and simple on the palate, a little clumsy. No flaws but no merits. I don’t get it. Rated about 78, my value $5. However people who are not wine geeks did not complain.

2013 Siciliana Nero d’Avola – There is a fashion today for light, somewhat tart red wines. Not normally my thing, but I liked this just fine. Light color, vivid aromas of spiced red cherries, a fresh and invigorating palate. Rated about 87, my value $15.

I’m six bucks ahead so far!

Dan Kravitz

An interesting approach. I like it! Thanks. In my brown-bag group, the presenter of the wine often asks people what they’d pay for it before it’s unveiled. It’s always a useful exercise.

I don’t think 4 years makes it “ageworthy”. Add another 10 and call me surprised.

Our original tasting group used to do the same, though in those days the wines didn’t need to be served blind, I had virtually no ‘label’ knowledge’ so the ‘fair price’ was a pretty genuine and unbiased opinion.

to Markus S.,

I think that 95% of all wines are best consumed within 2 years of bottling… make that 98% for whites. And I happen to be a guy who likes whites with some bottle age (to the occasional dismay of my sales team during our national sales meeting dinners). So for me, an inexpensive white from a grape with little if any history of ageworthy wines that is really good at four years is a pleasant surprise.

Just opened another of the case, this time a 5 year white:

2011 Casamatta Toscana Bibi Graetz - Medium straw color. Simple pleasant aromas feature white fruit, white spices, a hint of pineapple. Still has good freshness, but I probably would have liked it better 2 - 3 years ago. Rated about 84 today, my value $9, I’m still up five bucks.

Dan Kravitz

Wait this is another last bottle thread???

Yes, I bought these from Last Bottle, but it is not a Last Bottle thread. I did not identify them because they buy wine from me sometimes and I do not write up wines I import or customers of my business. Sorry if there is any confusion.

Dan Kravitz

Out of curiosity, is the dozen all Italian? For the ones that look decent, I reckon it would be worth revisiting in subsequent vintages to see if they manage to maintain consistency.
Could you get a decent outcome if the same exercise was done with US wines at the same price point?

Hi Paul,

Not all Italian, just a coincidence that I popped those first. There’s only one more Italian… a Moscato. I won’t be opening it, will gift it to somebody who will like it.

One each French Mediterranean red and white.
Southern Oregon red.
Washington red.
one California that’s apparently a blend, and one Napa Valley Merlot.
A Montsant.

That’s a dozen. I’ll be posting on the rest (except for the Moscato) relatively quickly.

Dan Kravitz

2014 Domaine Poulvarel Blanc Costieres de Nimes - A blend of 40/30/30 Grenache, Roussanne and Viognier, this is a nice one. Reasonably vivid spicy aromas with floral hints. The palate is balanced and subtle, with good acidity and nice substance for an overcropped year. I’m not a big Viognier fan, but as a floral part of the blend it works well. Rated about 86, my value is $13. I’m up eight bucks. I hope to finish up at least 10 bucks for 11 wines, because the Moscato d’Asti will not be counted.

Dan Kravitz

2012 Efeste Syrah ‘Ceidleigh’

Inky black purple. The aromas feature black plums with hints of sage. Not the profile I expect in Syrah but very nice. This is opulent on the palate, with just enough acidity for balance. The flavors are plummy but with some hints of raspberry. This is a nice glass of wine. There is a little heat (label says 14.5%) and the finish is a little simple and short, but there is some precision to go with the lushness. Rated 89 points, could improve a little but not unready. Worth at least $18 to me, so I am getting well ahead of the game with this case. Now up sixteen bucks.

Dan Kravitz

Next up from the case:

2013 Folin RVR Rogue Valley Red Oregon

Never heard of ‘em, which I guess is part of the point. From their website, they grow GSM, Petite Sirah, Viognier and Tempranillo. Neither the website nor the label give a varietal breakdown for this wine.

This comes across like a good, rich Cotes du Rhone with a big streak of freshness and lift which leads me to assume that their Tempranillo figures prominently. Although rich and racy, this lacks the depth and intensity of the best Mediterranean reds, but is better than your average Cotes du Rhone. Rated about 87 – 88 points, I value it at $15. I’m building value momentum on this case, but nothing from it is going to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

Dan Kravitz

Two more from this case.

2013 Luna Merlot Napa Valley - I’m not a big Merlot fan (OK, you can force Petrus or Ausone past my lips), and I don’t think it’s Napa’s strong suit. This has a medium garnet color, simple plum aromas, a little bit of simple, ripe but insipid fruit on the palate, lacking in any complexity. The finish is rather short, the texture close to dilute. I drank a glass with some of the end of the turkey, poured the rest down the drain. There is nothing wrong with this but nothing right with it. Others may like it better. I find it extremely boring. Rated 72 points. I was up $21, I value this at $3, I’m now up $14. I’ll take the deal so far, just not this bottle.

2013 Casey Flat Ranch Estate Red - No idea what’s in this. Very deep ruby color. Shy but interesting aromas of mostly black fruit with some hints of spice. Medium to full bodied on the palate with simple black fruit, plenty of reasonably ripe tannins and a moderately long, nicely balanced finish. Rated 85 points, I value this at $12, so I’m now up $16.

Dan Kravitz

Nobody’s replying but people are still looking so I’ll finish out the case. One now and one more another day:

2015 Domaine La Milliere Cotes du Rhone - Good dark crimson color. Simple but ripe aromas of mostly black plum fruit with a hint of tomato and green herb. Medium bodied on the palate, well balanced, with plenty of simple fruits, more red than black. This is a textbook Cotes du Rhone from a good vintage, as pleasing as you could want on a cold rainy fall evening in Maine, with (thank god) the last of the turkey going down the gullet. Rated a solid 87, worth $14, I’m now up $20. Don’t know if you can still find this anywhere for $10, but if you can, it’s a great value.

Dan Kravitz

Thanks Dan, I have the same case, only difference the Nero I had was very much lacking, made the Squadra seem better.

Dan it’s been a good read and thanks for taking one or twelve for the team.

I got the same case too. No formal notes. Felt I got $120 worth. Would do it again.

Dan - Thanks for posting. This is an interesting approach. I was tempted by the mystery case offer not only in the goal of finding value but also it would have introduced wines I might not have otherwise tried.
Thanks for the notes on these.

I got a bunch of the 2007 of this from Garagiste way back when and it’s only now coming around to what I consider drinkable. And darn nice at that!

Thanks for the thread Dan. Enjoyable read!

Thanks to everybody for chiming in. Here’s my note on the 11th and last wine (I don’t drink no Moscato!):

2013 Cabirol Montsant - This is a good bottle, with the only irritant being the similarity to the name of my own wine (which IMO is much better, but this is not an unbiased opinion neener .

Healthy medium dark crimson color. The aromas are the best part, featuring some nice earthiness under pungent but simple red fruits (plum, with a hint of tomato). The palate is solid, medium in body with nice breadth. The flavors are foresquare, lacking nuance. This is not as good as the Cotes du Rhone of the previous bottle, but the finish is moderately long and clean. Rated 87, I give it a value of $12, putting me up $22. My net value is $12, because the Moscato is worthless to me (I should reconsider… Cheryl Ward provides our trash service and while she does not drink wine, her mother apparently has pretty good taste in dessert wines, based her comments on some duplicate Rivesaltes and Banyuls samples I passed on to her). OK, I’m valuing the Moscato at $3, because I’m happy to provide it to Cheryl’s mom, so I’ve come out ahead $15.

Note to Last Bottle: Next time you do this, I’m in again.

Thanks to all. Off tomorrow to sell wine, hope to open some good stuff that’s not mine and will post if I have the chance.

Dan Kravitz