Wines Then and Now: Part 1

Part 1 of 3: where wine prices are now and how to shop savvy





I have to consider myself to have been lucky, buying these wines for these prices when I did, but I am a little blue at the thought of no longer being able to add them to my cellar. It’s a good thing I am well stocked in that regard, but things might not be as dark as they seem. For starters, the producers listed in bold above are still selling their wines for prices that make them relative values. Buyers of these wines today will look back in 10 years and probably regret not having bought more. These are the great producers of our generation, and the appreciation in pricing for their past vintages bodes well for their future. Less so for those of us still hoping to buy these wines for under $100 a bottle though.

1999 Fratelli Brovia Barolo Rocche dei Brovia $55. The 2008 is $75
1999 Fratelli Brovia Barolo Ca'mia $55. The 2008 is $80
1999 Cappellano Barolo Piè Rupestris Otin Fiorin $55. The 2007 is $90


Another pair of producers are worth mentioning here, though I was unable to find current pricing for their wines from the 1999 vintage. I would anticipate seeing pricing close to $100 a bottle for them next time they appear on the market. Their current release pricing has shown increases that exceeded those of the previous set of wines, mostly because they were even greater values in the past and had more ground to make up to reach fair market value. I put Brovia and Cappellano in the same club as Conterno, G Mascarello, B Mascarello, and G Rinaldi. Interestingly, all of them are firmly traditional producers, a style of Barolo the marketplace clearly can’t get enough of. If you wanted to invest in Barolo, this is where I would suggest you put your money. If you wanted to build a Barolo cellar, guess what, with just a few additions, this is also where I would tell you to put your money!

So that’s my little take on Barolo. Some wines have attracted more than their fair attention and are outpacing the pricing of the region, dragging another set of wines up in pricing behind them. Is this something unique to Piedmont? A fair question, and one we should answer by repeating this experiment with the wines of other regions. Since we’re in Italy, lets take a look at Tuscany in our next installment.

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Comments

  • Snooth User: RUS
    119003 269

    95% of wine drinkers don't drink at $50+ bottle of wine from one year to the next.

    Jan 19, 2013 at 6:34 PM


  • Snooth User: jaybird75
    100123 98

    Right. The current "bargain" prices at $75-$90 are out of my range.
    SIde note - Since my first experience with it, i've always considered Barbaresco more comparable to Burgundy than Barolo.

    Jan 20, 2013 at 5:54 PM


  • Snooth User: Ken Arkell
    113629 13

    While not a purchaser of $100 wines as a general rule, I think GDP's analysis is sound. Whatever the reason for the steep rise in prices in $100+ wine from Barolo country, the rise in price will pull up less expensive wines at each price point. Interesting that if a wine I would have purchased for $10 would move to $15 in one year, I would still buy it if I liked it, but a wine that moved from $100 to $150 over TEN years would price it way outside of my comfort level. Both wines would increase by the same percentage, but for me the key is the ceiling (which shifts depending on whether its a Tuesday night wine or a once a year great occasion wine) and not as much the movement within that $100 ceiling. Thanks for this article it made me think about what I want out of a wine today. At this point, my interest in $100 wines is not nearly as important as finding interesting wines that reflect the people and place where they are made. My hope is to continue to find these wines at considerably less than the $100 or more price point. My goal is to sip and imagine this vineyard, this winemaker, this village.

    Jan 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM


  • Snooth User: steve666
    392767 150

    I don't buy $100 wines. I buy from $8 on a lark, to $50-70. I have noted the wines in the $20 and up levels are trying to jump up in price in the last year or so. I look at 2007s and 2008s I bought a few years ago and compare them to pricing for 2009s and 2010, and see definite price creep. Part of it is smaller harvests here in CA, but I think producers are trying to increase their profit margins. Which of course is their right under capitalism, but it is also our right to look for alternatives.

    Jan 23, 2013 at 5:46 PM


  • Snooth User: Ken Arkell
    113629 13

    In British Columbia, due to government taxes, we have the 2nd highest tax system for wine known to man. Combine that with a world economy that ground to a halt in the last four years, you would expect that wine makers would be pricing their wines to match the times. Unfortunately my perception is that your experience with price creep has only slowed and not stopped in BC. So finding wines that are approachable in price and have been created for cellaring has become almost a fantasy. There is a romance of cellaring that seems to have gone from the wine experience unless one has a wine budget that is available to "everyman" only as a fantasy. However, it is interesting to search out wines from other parts of the world to enjoy at reasonable cost. It is even more interesting to to experience these wines where they were created.

    Jan 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM


  • Snooth User: steve666
    392767 150

    Ken, as a practical matter what is to stop a BC resident from driving over to the nearest Costco in Washington and buying a few cases of wine and bringing it back as part of their next camping trip in Washington? Not saying it is legal to do so.

    Jan 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM


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    Aug 03, 2013 at 12:01 AM


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    Aug 03, 2013 at 1:32 AM


  • Snooth User: steve666
    392767 150

    Ken, even cheap wines benefit from cellaring -- almost any cab should wait at least 4 years from harvest... a good example is Martini Sonoma cab, $11 at Costco, or Coppola Rosso - often on sale for $8.

    Aug 03, 2013 at 4:29 AM


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    1331306 37

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    1341059 34

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  • Pricing in SA is a lot different from yours however the fluctuation of prices, weather rand or dollar etc doesn't change.

    Sep 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM


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    Sep 13, 2013 at 10:24 AM


  • Some of the best wines I have tasted before happens to been some of the more inexpensive ones, you don't necessarily have to break the bank for an excellent glass of wine, you just have to look for it first.

    Sep 17, 2013 at 2:27 AM


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    1368891 18

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