Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Spectator Curse Reversed

Most of us read wine magazines to try to stay current with trends in the wine business. We also hope to get word of exciting new finds, especially in the value category. But when Wine Spectator suddenly discovers wines you know and love, it's no blessing. It's usually a curse.

Do you remember the 1996 Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepage? This is a very good Sonoma meritage that just a few years ago was selling for $28. Then, the 1996 turned out to be a truly outstanding wine that prompted Wine Spectator to declare it "wine of the year" five or six years back -- due at least in part to its very affordable price tag.

If you don't know the story you can probably guess the rest. Suddenly, you couldn't find the wine. If you did, it was marked up as high as $75 a bottle. Price gouging? You bet. But try to get government worked up about the (high) price of wine.

Recently, I thought we had another, if less dramatic, example of the curse. This spring, Spectator sang the praises of a terrific value wine, 2004 Falesco Vitiano, giving it 90 points. Now, I've been enjoying this wine for about 10 years. It's not a blockbuster wine, but it does deliver more complexity than the vast majority of $10 wines out there. A few months ago, I noticed that some bloggers were questioning whether this is really a 90-point wine. Maybe a fun blog topic, but there's no denying there's real value in this wine. So, I always liked to have some on hand.

I cringed when I saw the review. I just knew it was now going to be hard to find, though this is far from a limited production wine. Sure enough, I couldn't find it for months. I was sure it was the Spectator curse all over again.

Last weekend, however, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. There it was on the shelf at one of the wine shops I frequent. And, it wasn't marked up, either. Just $11. Turns out, I discovered, that a different distributor is now handling the wine in Connecticut. So, wine shops used to getting the wine from someone else were not finding it listed. Only recently have they discovered that they have to look to a different distributor to get it.

Like I said, not a blockbuster, so I wasn't going to lose any sleep if it wasn't available. But it is so worth the money and I'm so used to having it that I'm much happier now. Saved this time from the Spectator curse. But beware. It's out there, yet.


Anonymous Tony said...

Its really hitting the fan JD, Wine travelers are really SOL.
Mary Hitt
Slow Traveler
Posted August 13, 2006 3:51 PM
We flew home from Rome to Philadelphia and on to Pittsburgh on USAirways yesterday. Despite what the airline's web site and the news seemed to be saying, we were not permitted to have wine, grappa, olive oil or vinegar in our CHECKED luggqage. We had to abandon all of it! And of course, there were to be no liquids of any kind in carryon luggage. I suspect this was the USAirways rule, not an Italian rule. We ended up checking all of our luggage and carried on only our bare necessities -- wallets, passports, reading material and glasses. Technically, carryone luggage was allowed but they were clearly advising people to check everything in order to expedite boarding.

I know this doesn't apply specifically to France, but hope this information helps. I'd advise you to check everything.

Posts: 173 | Location: Pittsburgh, PA suburb | Registered: 04 June 2005

10:53 PM  
Blogger verspertine said...

I totally disagree with the profundity of these so called "finds" for ten bucks. There are many great $10-$15 wines out there with substancial depth. Check out Ajello's Majus Rosso 03 or Inama's Vin Soave, Suave Classico for like ten to thirteen bucks...I can't remember which. They are smokin' wines for smokin' prices. Hit me up if you want some more suggestions.


8:10 PM  
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