Insider (Wine) Trading

Finding alternative wine values and some insight behind the moves


With the help of instantaneous search results, anyone can pick out a good $100 bottle of wine these days. The real question is how to bluff your way to the blue chip crowd and how to look good doing it. The answer breathes with more sense than dollars and with the admirable confidence exuded by those who know a good deal when they smell it. Of course, I'm not suggesting that there aren't times to splurge or that certain wines aren't worth the extra money. However, those on the inside know that there are high quality alternatives to the commodities of wine. They also know when to "trade down" wine selections and how to justify the move with a little "street smarts."

The five following trades are guaranteed to both impress your broker and excite your favorite wine pals:
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1. Trade Champagne for Cava

Cava is Spanish sparkling wine. It's made by the traditional method and only produced in specific areas. It's usually made with a trio of varietals (Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel lo) although other grapes are now permitted. The best wines come from the chalk and clay soils around Sant Sadurni d'Anoia in the Penedes. Many of the best Cavas are only about half the price of basic Champagne, yet they often compete for quality. At that price, grab two bottles of Cava next time you're seeking some quality fizz.  

Cava, Avinyo "Brut Reserva", Penedes, N/V

2. Trade Vintage Port for Madeira

Madeira is one of the world's great fortified wines. It's produced on the namesake Portuguese archipelago and has important trade ties back to the Age of Exploration. Madeira is heated up and oxidized during the production process and as a result is immune to further deterioration from air contact. This makes Madeira an ideal alternative to Vintage Port or old Tawny Port, which should be consumed fairly quickly after being opened. You can also find old Madeiras that are substantially less in price than Vintage Port of the same age. Madeira comes in a number of styles from light and dry to full and sweet. The Malmsey style is rich and sweet with fig, raisin and caramel flavors and is reminiscent of a 20- or 30-year-old Tawny Port.     

Madeira (Malmsey), The Rare Wine Company "New York Malmsey", N/V

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  • Snooth User: kactuskath
    875637 76

    Thanks for that info

    Oct 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM

  • Snooth User: JSIGLOBAL
    1161320 33

    Just signed on the information is great.
    Cote du Rotie was a favorite years ago in the 1980's and still inexpensive.
    I will definitely search out the 2nd labels.
    Thank you

    Nov 28, 2012 at 7:48 AM

  • Well it looks like Gregory is ready to have fun during Christmas and New Years so lit it POP and ROLL.

    I have a question for the community. I want to buy a camcorder in the $400.00 to $500.00 range and wondered if any of you had any ideas. I like Gregory's film clips but do not know what he films with. Thank you for your comments. You can replay to

    Happy New Years to all and Gregory thank you so much for a great year of wonderful presentations.


    Dec 30, 2012 at 3:02 PM

  • Snooth User: messygonzo
    1327679 35

    Thats wonderful...

    Aug 02, 2013 at 6:11 AM

  • really good

    Sep 09, 2013 at 3:19 PM

  • Snooth User: cglaw2013
    1341096 33


    Sep 11, 2013 at 4:06 AM

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