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Snooth User: Callie Exas

Value Wines

Posted by Callie Exas, Nov 3, 2008.

Here at New York Wine Co., we are devoted to scouring the globe for what we think are the most well-made, best wines dollar for dollar. Paying no attention to critic scores, press, advertising or importer jargon, what we have represented on our shelves, cellar and dinner tables are the top value wines we can find.

Value is an important, but overused, term in the wine world. An $11 bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a value because of its harmony of fruit and simple pleasure it will bring tonight relaxing with a movie; or a $90 bottle of Merlot from Napa Valley is a great value because, if desired, could be cellared and shared with your newborn on his/her 21st birthday. However, a $45 bottle of Champagne is a waste of money (and frankly time) considering the 25 million bottles the house makes every year.  Knowing a wine with value can definitely be tricky and really the best way to determine value is to research producers and their production methods.  For a wine to have value, it's quality-price ratio should be equal or the quality should be higher than the price.

Here are a few key factors when determining wine values:

Cost- No matter if you're looking for a table wine or a collector item, more expensive doesn't always mean better.
Drinkability-Does the wine drink well now or will you have to age it.
Ageability-how well the wine will age if you store it for a couple of years
Character-you want a wine with great flavor, if its cheap but has no character then there is no real value.
So this is what wine critics spend their time doing.  They determine the value of all sorts of wines so that we don't have to go on wild goose chases trying to find something that we like.  Even though you can't always go by the critic, its good to know them just to reference and if you're ever in need of some feedback, Robert E. Parker and Jancis Robinson and Snooth (of course) have always proven to be extremely helpful to me.

I’ve taken the liberty to list a handful of wines that we've recently tasted at New York Wine Co., that I think are worth mentioning for their great value.  All of these wines are made by world class producers, taste great, but won't break the bank; thus making them all high value wines.

Value Wines


Thunevin 2005 Bordeaux "Presidial"
Region: Bordeaux, France
Varietal: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
A creation of Jean-Luc Thunevin, one of France’s great modern winemakers, "Presidial" combines lush Merlot inspired fruitiness with the structure of the classic 2005 Bordeaux vintage.

Hirsch Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir "Bohan-Dillon"
Region: Sonoma, California
One of the pioneers of the now famous Sonoma Coast, David Hirsch arrived in the late 1970's and planted his first grapes in 1980.  Currently, the vineyard has 47 plus producing acres planted mainly to Pinot Noir.  His vineyard quickly gained a great reputation as the fruit source for wineries including Siduri, Flowers, Kistler and William Selyem.

Quattro Mani 2007 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 
Region: Abruzzo, Italy
Quattro Mani, or "four hands", represents four celebrity winemakers each who express the character and strength of indigenous grape varieties, interpreted through their unique personalities. The Montepulciano comes from the Velenosi estate, one of the leading wineries in Abruzzo.

Blackbird Vineyards 2006 Napa Valley "Illustration" 
Region: California, USA
Varietal: Merlot
Poised to be the next big cult wine from Napa Valley, Blackbird is composed of 100% Merlot from Napa Valley modeled after the great reds of St. Emilion and Pomerol in France. A must try!

Michele Satta 2006 Bolgheri Rosso 
Region: Tuscany, Italy
Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah
A small family run estate along the Tuscany coast, Michele Satta crafts modern-styled reds. Based in Bolgheri, Michele Satta's wines are on par with some of greats from Sassicaia and Ornellaia (at half the price!).


Zarate 2006 Albariño "Zarate" 
Region: Rias Baixas, Spain
Varietal: Albariño
Albariño has emerged as Spain's hottest white wine export in the states. Zarate owns some of the oldest vines in Rias Baixes, packing power and complexity most other Albariños lack.

Sartarelli 2007 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 
Region: Le Marche, Italy
Sartarelli is one of the tops estates in Le Marche making fantastic expression of the indigenous Verdicchio. Crisp, clean and full of bright lemon.

Cairnbrae 2007 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc "The Stones" 
Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Cairnbrae is a boutique winery producing quality white wines in the favored Rapaura district of Marlborough, New Zealand, neighbouring the well known Cloudy Bay and Corbans Stoneleigh vineyards. After being established in 1980 and supplying grapes to negociants for several vintages, Cairnbrae started producing wine under their own label in 1992.

Callie Exas has just launched her wine career at New York Wine Co. in Manhattan. So far so good!


Blog comment by J. Smith, Nov 4, 2008.

Saw this the other day in the OC Register- what do you think?

Blog comment by Dan, Nov 4, 2008.

Great list, Callie. Thank you.

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