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Snooth User: nddave01

Accidental Wine Entusiast

Posted by nddave01, Dec 8, 2013.

Hi, I am an accidental wine enthusiast. As part of a major remodeling project including our family room I revived my interest and enjoyment of wine. Our family room was redone using dark hickory planking and the room has a short wall next to our fireplace. This wall has always presented a challenge to make use of the space. I researched and searched the web looking for a nice liquor storage cabinet/ bar. The one I found was ideal and it included a nice 16 bottle wine rack. Obviously that required purchasing some wine bottles to fill the rack. I have always enjoyed wine but never become more involved than buying a bottle occasionally polishing it off and waiting for the urge to return weeks or months later. Usually I would buy a Merlot based on price or label without much thought and no research.

Sixteen bottles of Merlot seemed excessive so I began to try to figure out how to expand my choices and explore some alternative wines. I am 63 and live in North Dakota so my access to wine specialty shops is non existent. As I purchased wines from various liquor/wine stores I began to read more on the web about wine and the perpetual hobbyist in me was hooked. First I found out that wine glasses could make a difference in my enjoyment. So two nice Riedel Bourdeaux glasses and four adequate Libby white wine glasses were added to my cabinet. Next I opened a bottle of Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin and found out there is something I like even better than Merlot. Later I discovered  Cabernet Sauvignon and I my fascination and enjoyment increased exponentially. My spouse being used to my enthusiasm for new adventures is watching in amusement as I have added a 40 bottle storage rack and a 28 bottle wine chiller to my orginal16 bottle wine cabinet.

I am slowly learning more about wines sense the Snooth will be a source of information and direction. I am currently a member of the Virgin Wine Club and the Tasting Room. North Dakota must have some interesting laws regarding shipping wine as I can receive wine from most wine clubs but not from on-line wine distributors or wineries. I am interested in comments from others who don't have easy access to wine specialty shops and how they have expanded their wine experience.

So far I have enjoyed Cabs, Shiraz, Zins, and Merlots the most and sweet white wines the least. I not sure I have learned/ tasted enough to really refine my choices but right now it is more about the adventure of trying wines I have never tasted before and simply rating them as to whether this is the first and last time to buy this wine or whether I want to add one or more bottles to my various wine racks to enjoy again and share with friends and family.

At least one learning theory postulated that confusion is the highest state of learning because we are ingesting large amounts of data with no previous experience maps to superimpose on them. That pretty much describes where I am at this time (although I do try to moderate the amount of wine I ingest.)

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Reply by EMark, Dec 8, 2013.

my access to wine specialty shops is non existent.

North Dakota must have some interesting laws regarding shipping wine as I can receive wine from most wine clubs but not from on-line wine distributors or wineries.

It sounds like one of Dante's 13 rings of hell.
 
Seriously, Dave, you have provided us with a very interesting introduction.  I very much enjoyed reading it.  I live in California.  I don't have anything like your problem. but I always have ideas to encourage people with their wine exploration.
 
First, of all, I think it is good to try all kinds of wines.  I am a red wine bigot, but when I was in a store yesterday I was very excited to find an Oregon Gewurztraminer at a very reasonable price.  It is now in my stock. I'm guessing that the wine clubs to which you belong sends you a variety of wines on some sort of a schedule.  Tasting a variety of wines is the best way to (1) validate your tastes and (2) point you in new directions.
 
Is it realistic for you to get in your car and cross state lines to expand your horizons?  Many of the people on this board regularly travel to different wine areas to expand their experience and their stock.  I mention traveling by car because it is fairly easy to fill up the trunk with cases of wine.  Traveling by air causes some issues because any wine you are transporting will have to be checked.  Make no mistake, those issues can be addressed, but it is annoying.  If you want to spend a couple days in California, you can search the archives of this forum for advice given to and reports from individuals who have traveled here.  However, you don't have to travel to California.  Are there any wineries in ND that you can visit?  I am a big supporter of "Drinking Local."  Another idea is to sneak across the border over to Minnesota.  I did a quick Google search and there appear to be a number of nice wine shops in Minneapolis.
 
Let's look at your local stores for a moment.  It sounds like you have been buying California wines (which I, of course, heartily endorse).  Do they have any French wines?  Please don't think I'm talking down to you, but if you find a red wine from Bordeaux it is, almost assuredly, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Also, do they sell Spanish wines?  Spanish wines are favorites of a lot of participants here on the Forum.  I like them, mostly, because they are consistently good and very affordable.
 
Again, Dave, thanks for joining us.  Please keep us up to date on your adventures and please feel free to ask questions.  We love to brag.
 
 
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Reply by nddave01, Dec 8, 2013.

EMARK,

Thanks for your response. The local stores in Bismarck carry quite a few wines and probably many of them are excellent. The staff is usually extremely busy when I am there and although always courteous I have not found them helpful in finding new wines to try. It is difficult to research wines while I am there and frustrating to go in with a list of wines I would want to try and find none of them on their shelves. I have found a number od Australian wines which I like including Black Opal Merlot and Willy Willy Shiraz. My brother also enjoys wines and having lived in Sacramento always suggests California wines. So far the most consistent thing in my taste for wine is that I have liked every Cabernet I have tried so far.I don't know if this is because I been fortunate in the Cabs I have tried (none of them very expensive)  or because all Cabs are similar enough that they appeal to me. My first shipment from Virgin Wines included Malbec from Argentina, Super Tuscan blend from Italy, Cotes du Rhone from France, Primitivo from Italy, Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, Tempranillo from Spain, and several others. I am let them settle from shipping before I taste them but it should broaden my experience.

The one concern I have is that with the clubs shipping the wines to ND they are on the trucks for several days at least in extreme weather conditions. (My Harry and David  pears are always frozen solid when I receive them as Christmas presents.) How cold does it have to get to  cause problems for wine? It is not unusual for the night time temperatures here to reach -20 or colder and stay in that range for several days at a time.

Again thanks for your response, I have enjoyed reading your post for several days now and appreciate your insight and sense of humor.  Tonight's wine is 2011 Bogle Old Vine Zin.

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Reply by JenniferT, Dec 9, 2013.

Welcome to the forum! It's beautiful country down in ND! I enjoyed your intro, particularly your comment re confusion and experience maps. I am also fairly new to wine and I'm starting to expect that this might be the most fun part of the learning curve - everything is still a new discovery; it's so stimulating!

I am often in Alberta for most of the winter so I feel your pain in terms of cold temps. I'll often find my self driving with some wine. When overnighting somewhere on a long drive, I have been tempted not to bother to take my wine inside my hotel room. It is my understanding that warm temperatures are far more damaging to wine than cold temps. One of the helpful and knowledgeable guys I know at a wine store said that I should make the effort to ensure my wine doesn't freeze in transit, but other than that cold temperatures aren't much of a concern. I would imagine some people on this forum could offer you better insight re temps than I, however.

Speaking of helpful retail people, maybe you should send an email to the stores you shop at most frequently? I've found that first step to be really helpful in setting up a relationship where I have good access to advice re wine selection or related questions.

 

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Reply by nddave01, Dec 9, 2013.

Thanks Jennifer. ND does have some beautiful country although it is suffering some from the oil boom with all of its stress on the infrastructure.

I have read the same thing about cold temps and wine. I am hoping some one can let me know at what temp most wines freeze. I know the issue is that the expansion when it freezes can push the cork out. The other thing I'm careful with is to try to minimize tthe temperature swings so I try to resist my curiosity and leave the wine in its packing for at least half a day so it come back to room temperature slowly.  The summer will be more of a problem because ND can go from its winters of -20 or less to days in July where it can top 100 degrees. I will probably not take in deliveries in July or August to avoid having the wine sit baking in the truck for several days before it gets to my house.

The two major liquor/wine stores in Bismarck do not maintain a website and to my knowledge do not provide their customers with email addresses. It would definitely improve my searches if I could see what they have in inventory from the comfort of my home and then do my research before I set out to do my buying. Oh well it adds to the challenge and with the long winters here I have lots of time to invest in this hobby, at least until spring when it will have to share time with my other hobby - golf.

EMark - Traveling to Minneapolis is certainly and option but it is a 7hour plus drive one-way so it will not happen often. There are some wineries through out ND I don't really know anything about them, so it may make I nice google search session.

 

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Dec 9, 2013.

Hi Dave,

 

I'm not sure of the temperature that wine freezes at, and of course it's a range based on alcohol levels in the wine but I do know that it is below 32F. Though the water in the wine will start to freeze at 32 so caution is advised. Nice to read your story. We all fall into this in one way or another. It's one of the world's great hobbies and brings together the best people!

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Reply by EMark, Dec 9, 2013.

Dave, if your wine is being delivered in non-insulated trucks in minus 20 temperatures, then, I agree, that there is the risk of expansion popping out the cork.  This may be blasphemous, but we will put a white wine into the freezer for a quick chill down.  In each case this has been a low-dollar wine.  On more than one occasion we have forgotten about it, and it has, at least partially, frozen.  My freezer is not cold enough to freeze it solid.  It looks more like a slushy.  There was one time when the cork popped up a bit.  In every case we drank the wine and feel we did not suffer from in.   

However, if it was delivered to me with the cork popping out, I would consider it to be damaged and would expect it to be replaced.

While I have no concern about wines being delivered to me at -20, I do share the problem of 100+ days here in Diamond Bar.  The only clubs to which I belong are those of various wineries here in California.  They will look at weather conditions and try to send only when temperatures are accommodating.

The recent delivery that you described sounds like a good selection of different wines and different styles.  I'm sure you will find some that you enjoy.

Again, I may be blaspheming here, but I don't worry too much about bottle shock.  In all honesty I wouldn't know if I tasted it.  If it was a 20-year library wine, then, maybe I can see that there would be sediment that could settle (and more than likely, I'm not going to pop that one with the tuna sandwich that I'm having for dinner that night), but all the wines that I have delivered are, pretty much, current releases.  So, if there are any particulates in them, they are probably pretty heavy and will settle in a matter of hours.

I know that Bogle Zin, and have enjoyed it.  Bogle consistently provides a very good wine at a very attractive price. 

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Reply by nddave01, Dec 9, 2013.

EMark, thanks for your response. So far no frozen wine and no exploded corks. The summer although short for ND can be fairly intense due to the long days in late June and July. Nothing will be shipped from anyplace nearby so everything will take 2-3 days to arrive. I pretty certain I will take some shipments in May and early June and then wait until September for the next shipment.

Nice to know that I don't need to worry about bottle shock they were several I was looking forward to trying but thought I needed to wait.. ( I'm better about waiting in my 60's than I was in my 20's .)  This brings up a new to the site kind of question. How do I know which wines are ready to drink within a year or so of their vintage and which ones will benefit from one or more years of storage? Ah, so much to learn. All the best hobbies have wonderful amounts of learning and enthusiasts who are willing to share their knowledge and experience. Snooth may well be one of my best discoveries.

 

GDP, Thanks for the greeting, I have enjoyed reading your posts and articles.

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Reply by EMark, Dec 9, 2013.

 I'm better about waiting in my 60's than I was in my 20's 

I guess I know what you mean, there.  At my age, however, I am now more concerned that wines like that Phillip Togni Spring Mountain Cab that I bought will outlive me.

How do I know which wines are ready to drink within a year or so of their vintage and which ones will benefit from one or more years of storage?

Dave, I truly hope that somebody else jumps in here and gives an opinion, because it would be nice for you to get a different viewpoint.  One of the interesting things about wine appreciation is that it is mostly opinion.  Here is the fun part.  I truly believe that most wine-centric questions can yield multiple answers.  Two diametrically opposed opinions can both be right.

For the most part 95% of all wine released these days can be enjoyed immediately.  In the case of white wines, the number is probably closer to 99%.  Sure, many wines will improve if stored properly, and that improvement may even be noticeable.  Some wines may not reach their full potential for 20 years--e.g., wines from Barolo, or Cote Rotie or from certain, cranky Napa Valley producers--but even if you do wait for those 20 years, there is no guarantee that you are going have a life-changing wine experience.  Notice I inserted the proviso "if stored properly."  That is very important.  There is also a phenomenon called bottle variation.  There really is no guarantee that two bottles of the same wine will taste the same.  The most common defect that will doom a bottle of wine is an inferior cork.  A cork that has TCA taint or some other defect will have a very negative affect on the wine that it is supposed to preserve.

Now, there is something called the "drinking window" which is a prediction of the optimal time to drink a given wine.  As you might guess, people who make predictions on the drinking windows are not held accountable.  (Not unlike on CNBC where the "expert" tells you that now is the right time to buy Acme,com stock.  When Acme.com goes belly up, CNBC never asks that guy, "How did you screw that up, so badly?"  Instead, he comes back on and says now is the right time to buy Ace Super Hot New Products Corp. stock.)  

Moving beyond my sarcasm, I'm going to point you to something that is, I have to admit, really fun. The internet is a wonderful thing.  You can find "drinking windows" for lots of wines.  Snooth, here, has a wine database, but I'm afraid that the drinking windows information is quite incomplete.  (Sorry, Snooth guys.)  There is a web site that a lot of Snooth guys also enjoy called Cellar Tracker.  There are quite a few features in Cellar Tracker--including a database of wines.  This is the kind of database that retired guys like me could just surf for hours, enjoying wines vicariously through the experience of others.  Here is a link to a sample entry.  Notice to the right of the picture:  "Drink between:  2014 - 2024."  I think that is exactly what you were asking about.  Notice that at the top of the page there is a box where you can enter another wine to see if they have information on it.

As usual, I turned a one-sentence response to your question into a multi-paragraph response.  

;-)

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Reply by nddave01, Dec 10, 2013.

EMark, Thanks for the answer I do hope some others will join in because I find this fascinating. How does one prophesy the drinking window. Does it depend mostly on the grape, or the vintner, or the growing conditions? Does the window become evident with the first tasting of that vintage? I had noticed the drinking windows in some of the reviews but had glossed over them, now I am really curious as to how anyone can predict something like that.

Lot 19 was offering a 2009 Bourdeaux and the window was something like 2015 to 2019.  So would it be barely drinkable this year and then become better and better until 5 years went by and then return to its barely drinkable state?                                                                          

Which brings me to my next question. Most of the wines I am currently buying are very recent vintages 2010, 2011, and 2012. Would my experience change alot with older wines?  I appreciate that these type of questions are opinion questions and not likely to have a right answer. That is certainly part of the attraction for me. I will eventually come up with my own opinions but in the meantime this type of discussion helps me decide what wines I want experience along the way. Thanks in advance to those who share their knowledge, experience and opinions.

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Reply by dvogler, Dec 10, 2013.

ND,

A good place to start is by "googling" your particular wine in question.  Many of the search results will be for price and availability (Cellar Tracker, Wine Searcher, Snooth, etc), but you might find information directly from the vineyard's website, or a site that gave a review of the wine, for example a decent newspaper wine reviewer.  In Canada we have a website called Icon Wine (Iconscores.ca) that has regular reviews of often BC wine, but lots of others too.  The nice thing is that they will re-taste a wine and update the review and sometimes adjust their opinions regarding cellaring ability.  Another I check often is a guy called Anthony Gismondi (columnist and wine expert) gismondionwine.com  He also has tasting notes that have helped me a few times to open something sooner than later.  Typically, these are wines that are $35+.  Here, anything less than that is really meant to enjoy anytime.  I have had a big BC meritage called Oculus, which typically retails for $70-80 and I had a 2002 that I opened last year and it was past it's prime.  It wasn't bad of course, but should have been fantastic.  I say this in response to your comment about wine returning to it's barely drinkable state.  Keeping it a few years past it's prime won't result in barely drinkable...it just may be dull, still a sin!

An experiment would be to buy four or five bottles of something interesting.  Hold it for at least a year (see if you can make it for two), then open one, take notes.  The next year open another and compare notes.  Then buy the current vintage of the wine you bought two or three years ago and open another of the older vintage and do a side by side with the current vintage.  You may be surprised.

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Reply by nddave01, Dec 10, 2013.

Thanks for your response. The cold winter months in ND are perfect for sitting by a warm computer after work with a glass of wine and mining information on wines, wine glasses, etc. I am resisting buying too many wines this early in my learning curve. I will have enough storage for 80+ bottles which sounds like a lot to someone just getting involved but I don't want to fill it with wines that I liked early on just to find that there ones that I will discover later on that I really want in my cellar. I'm sure as time goes on I will almost certainly want to increase my cellar. But that definitely will be few years in the future as my wife and I are looking forward to down sizing our home and probably moving when I retire in 3-4 years.

I'm sure I don't want to move a large cellar. Currently, we are considering a move to Spearfish, SD having visited there and finding the size (small) and pace (laid back) close to our current ideal for retirement. We will probably take several vacations there in the next few years to check out our first impressions. I would love to hear from any of you that live in Spearfish or the surrounding area.

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Reply by EMark, Dec 10, 2013.

Dave, have you followed the conversation about 1993 CdP?  The latest entry is from one of my favorite Forum correspondents, GregT.  GregT is very knowledgeable and very opinionated.  Thankfully, he also is able to support his opinions.  So, they do carry some weight with me.  Go over to that conversation and read his comments on drinking windows.

How does one prophesy the drinking window? Does it depend mostly on the grape, or the vintner, or the growing conditions?

I think a "Yes'" answer to the second question gives a reasonable answer to the first one.

Does the window become evident with the first tasting of that vintage?

Not in my opinion.

Lot 19 was offering a 2009 Bourdeaux and the window was something like 2015 to 2019.  So would it be barely drinkable this year and then become better and better until 5 years went by and then return to its barely drinkable state? 

Don't take anybody's opinion as sacrosanct--including mine, another load of which you're going to get right now.  I would think that that 2009 Bord would be perfectly drinkable the day it was delivered to your house.  Remember my 95% rule of thumb.  If you lay it down, it may improve, but it won't fall off a cliff on Dec. 31, 2019 and become undrinkable.  At some point in time, it will peak and, then, decline.  In reality, however, nobody can guarantee when that peak will occur--remember my comment about no accountability.  If you would like perform a test as Dvogler suggests, buy seven bottles of it, drink one bottle each year, and keep notes.  See if you can detect the change.  A lot of people here will buy multiple bottles (or cases) of a specific wine so that they can monitor it as it ages.  That is a good strategy, but it is not my strategy.  I want to try too many different kinds of wines.  So, when I buy wines, I'll generally buy a single bottle.  Personally, I am not on that quest to find the perfect time to open a bottle and enjoy it.  I open them up, see what's there and move on.  I buy them faster than I can drink them.  So, I do, in fact, lay wine down.  

Here is what may sound like a sad story.  If you dredge through the Watcha Drinking Tonight thread, you'll see that a few weeks ago I had two unsatisfying experiences with two 1978 Napa Valley cabs.  Both these wines were from well respected wineries, but the fact of the matter is that I either waited too long or I messed up on the storage.  Oh well, we move on.  FYI, I am going back to the well, tonight.  I have some lamb chops marinating in something that I whipped up using that '78 Mayacamas--it's still a good vinegar substitute--and we'll pull something else out of the cellar (probably, another CS) and try it.

Most of the wines I am currently buying are very recent vintages 2010, 2011, and 2012. Would my experience change a lot with older wines?

I guess my answer to that is "Yes."  In order to understand what happens as wines age, you have to try aged wines.  I suspect that the reason that most of the wines that you are buying are '10s, '11s and '12s. is because that is what is available to you.  

The other thing to keep in mind is that there are multiple aspects to the "age" of a wine.  Bottle age is one thing, but another aspect is "How long did the winemaker age the wine in oak barrels before bottling?"  It does make a difference.  Oak will add complexity and additional flavor nuances to a wine.

One fun and fairly inexpensive way to try some wines with some age on them is to look at Spanish wines.  Most wine producing countries have laws regulating what can and cannot be put on the labels.  In Spain there are very strict labeling regulations on the origin of the grapes and the age of the wine.  Here is what I think is the cool part.  The label on a Spanish wine can give you a very good clue on how long the wine was aged in oak by the winemaker.  From the Wikipedia entry on Spanish WInes:

  • Crianza red wines are aged for 2 years with at least 6 months in oak. Crianza whites and rosés must be aged for at least 1 year with at least 6 months in oak.[5]
  • Reserva red wines are aged for at least 3 years with at least 1 year in oak. Reserva whites and rosés must be aged for at least 2 years with at least 6 months in oak.[5]
  • Gran Reserva wines typically appear in above average vintages with the red wines requiring at least 5 years aging, 18 months of which in oak and a minimum of 36 months in the bottle. Gran Reserva whites and rosés must be aged for at least 4 years with at least 6 months in oak

The other day I saw a 2007 Gran Reserva Rioja in either Costco or Trader Joe's for, I think, $27.  I think that is a pretty good price for a wine that has at least 18 months of oak.

You may have seen the nomenclature "Reserve" on California wines.  You might want to be a bit careful there, unless you're familiar with the maker.  There is no U.S. or California law that defines the word "Reserve" on a wine label.  It means whatever the maker (or his marketing people) wants it to mean.  Interestingly enough, "Reserve" is legally defined for Washington state wines, but, in my opinion, and I am not a lawyer, there loopholes in that definition that are big enough to drive a fair sized tractor through.

I don't want to get too far down this road, Dave, without coming back my thought that as a person learning about wine, you are currently doing the absolute right thing.  Try different wines, and try to determine what you like and don't like about different ones.  Also, I think that wine is meant to be enjoyed with food.  Try a your Zinfandel with a steak.  Try it with a roasted chicken.  Try it with pasta.  Whatever combination works for you is perfect.  If they all work for you, then I may have discovered another Zinfandel buff. ;-)

I'm sure you will be quite thankful that I have no opinion at all on Spearfish, SD.  Although I would check their laws and make sure that you can get wine shipped to you.

Well, I'm off to work on dinner.  I did sneak out to the cellar and picked a wine--1995 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon.  Wish me luck.

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Reply by nddave01, Dec 10, 2013.

EMark, Thanks for sharing your opinion this exactly the type of discussion I was hoping to encounter. I find myself in sync with many of your thoughts. I want to try a lot of different wines, different grapes, different countries, different vintages, etc. For now I don't plan on buying more than 2 bottles of any one wine. I like the idea of having a second bottle to taste at a different time to confirm my impressions of the first bottle. Since I still work I'm sure their are nights when the impact of my day at work influence my impression. For the really tough days it is still single malt Scotch. Other days it is pleasant to unwind with a nice glass of red wine.

My undergraduate degree was in Philosophy so this type of discussion has a great deal of appeal to me and sight like Snooth that allows people to join in the discussion or tune it out  makes it easier to be a bit more long winded without generating a lot of flaming posts. I like the idea of trying it with various foods to further expand the experience.

I look forward to trying some more mature Spanish wines.  I'm open to suggestions. Right now as I'm learning and testing I like inexpensive wines but I'm willing to spend more if it will broaden my experience, but I don't see any one-to-one correlation between price and quality. What I'm looking for is value so that what I spend gives me access to a richer experience.

 

 

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Reply by EMark, Dec 11, 2013.

I'm sure their are nights when the impact of my day at work influence my impression.

I agree with that opinion.  I know that my emotions affect my judgement.  That's another reason why, after I've had a given wine once, I'm pretty nonchalant about having it again.

I don't see any one-to-one correlation between price and quality. 

There is only a weak correlation between price and quality.  It is certainly not equal to 1.  I've already mentioned that I enjoy wines made by Bogle--fairly inexpensive.  I can tell you that I have been unimpressed if not disappointed by some pricier wines.  

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Reply by nddave01, Dec 11, 2013.

BTW - How as your 1995 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon.?

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Reply by EMark, Dec 11, 2013.

It was OK, but not a wowser.  I have to say that I opened this one well after it had peaked.  It was quite mellow--tannins had been tamed--but it just didn't seem to have much character.  I'll finish it off tonight.

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Reply by EMark, Dec 11, 2013.

I should add, the lamb chops were outstanding.   :-)

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Reply by nddave01, Dec 12, 2013.

Ordered a coupe of bottles of 2007 Goats du Roam Rotie South Africa Red Blend for Lot18.  They keep giving me credits and I keep using them. The wine sounded interesting and at @ $8.50 each I can afford to let it teach me. Not sure what I'll learn but this early on there is almost always something to learn. Last night on an Allegiant Air flight to Orlando, FL, I learned that Sutter Hill Cab goes well with 3 hours of travel in an uncomfortable middle seat ;-)

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Reply by EMark, Dec 12, 2013.

I learned that Sutter Hill Cab goes well with 3 hours of travel in an uncomfortable middle seat

Interesting.  Who'da thunk it?

That $8.50 Rhone blend sounds like a good one to check out.  Let us know what you think.

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Reply by nddave01, Dec 12, 2013.

Another of those questions that may reveal my level of ignorance.  The Rhone blends were listed as $20 wines. Are these prices like the MRSP on jewelry and other items that are a price that is seldom if ever actually received for the product or a more accurate reflection of the market value? 

The Sutter Hill Cab was $5 for a small glass - so it is one of the more expensive wines I have tasted recently. No wonder it was so well matched to the ocassion.

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