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quality vs cost?

your favourite tipple - wine, beer, spirits
Bubblesofearth
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quality vs cost?

#326658

Postby Bubblesofearth » July 16th, 2020, 6:24 pm

Any wine buffs out there know if there is a sweet spot regarding what you pay for wine? Various sources and ads seem to suggest that paying around £9 or £10 is optimal. £5 wines are poor quality and paying much more than a tenner is not worthwhile.

Thoughts/comments?

BoE

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Re: quality vs cost?

#326665

Postby dealtn » July 16th, 2020, 6:53 pm

Bubblesofearth wrote:Any wine buffs out there know if there is a sweet spot regarding what you pay for wine? Various sources and ads seem to suggest that paying around £9 or £10 is optimal. £5 wines are poor quality and paying much more than a tenner is not worthwhile.

Thoughts/comments?

BoE


Define worthwhile.

Assume we aren't talking restaurants but drinking at home, for me £10-£20 for normal, rising to £50 for special occasions or showing off! Although only £5-£10 Rose for the missus as she hasn't got a developed enough palette to justify spending any more on her.

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Re: quality vs cost?

#326668

Postby Lootman » July 16th, 2020, 7:02 pm

My eldest son worked front of house in a fairly posh French restaurant and went to various sommelier courses as a part of that. For his own personal consumption he pretty much goes by your £10 rule. When recommending wines to diners he generally advised in the £30 to £60 range, although you can figure that restaurant prices are three times retail prices.

I suppose it depends how sophisticated your palette is but for me I often find the more expensive wines to not be superior. Sometimes they taste worse to me. But cheap wines are routinely bad, as so much of that price is taken up with taxes, and so the actual value of the wine is trivial.

I do wonder how many self-styled wine experts would pass a blind testing of a £10 bottle versus a £50 bottle. My son has a few funny stories about diners showing off by buying the most expensive bottle and extolling its virtues, whilst my son realised it had gone bad but of course could not say anything as it would embarrass the diner.

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Re: quality vs cost?

#326702

Postby simoan » July 16th, 2020, 10:44 pm

Lootman wrote:My eldest son worked front of house in a fairly posh French restaurant and went to various sommelier courses as a part of that. For his own personal consumption he pretty much goes by your £10 rule. When recommending wines to diners he generally advised in the £30 to £60 range, although you can figure that restaurant prices are three times retail prices.

I suppose it depends how sophisticated your palette is but for me I often find the more expensive wines to not be superior. Sometimes they taste worse to me. But cheap wines are routinely bad, as so much of that price is taken up with taxes, and so the actual value of the wine is trivial.

I do wonder how many self-styled wine experts would pass a blind testing of a £10 bottle versus a £50 bottle. My son has a few funny stories about diners showing off by buying the most expensive bottle and extolling its virtues, whilst my son realised it had gone bad but of course could not say anything as it would embarrass the diner.


It's actually pretty easy to differentiate between expensive and cheap wines if you train your palate to do so. This can be learnt but like many things in life, some people are naturally better at it than others. My other half did the WSET Diploma four years ago and we both got to a stage where we could on a regular basis differentiate between the common single grape varieties and blends, identify where the wine originated from, and from that the price point reasonably accurately. You can only do this by regularly tasting which we no longer do. Having said that, I once setup a tasting of three white wines for three 1st year Master of Wine students and not one of them spotted the fact that all three wines were Chardonnay. In fact none of them spotted any were Chardonnay!! Your palate can have off days too...

The reason most people do not like more expensive wines is that they are made to last and designed for laying down and drinking many years later when at their best. For this reason they are often closed and tannic with underdeveloped fruit on release. Many expensive wines lack the immediacy of the fruit hit of cheaper wines which are made for short term drinking and tend to be over-extracted with lots of residual sweetness in the finished wine that appeals to those with a sweet tooth. You just need to accept their are markets for both types of wine, it doesn't need to be one or the other.

I always tell people to drink what they enjoy, whether it costs £5 or £50. But at £5 most of what you're paying is tax.

All the best, Si

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Re: quality vs cost?

#326715

Postby Mike4 » July 16th, 2020, 11:42 pm

simoan wrote: But at £5 most of what you're paying is tax.


And out of what's left, you have to pay for the bottle, distribution, retailer profit margin and probably some VAT.

Let's say 10p left to buy the actual wine.

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Re: quality vs cost?

#326761

Postby bungeejumper » July 17th, 2020, 8:47 am

Given the choice, and the budget, I'll buy burgundy. Below that, for everyday drinking, it's probably a Cotes du Rhone Villages @ £7.50 to £9.

But I do have a soft spot for £6 Primitivo, which is rough, warm and spicy, and which just hits the spot sometimes. The Sainsburys Taste the Difference one is particularly good when they're doing it at 25% off :D . The Di Marco from Tesco is nearly as good, but not at £8 a bottle. At £6 it's a goer.

I won't even open my mouth for any American wine, but maybe that's because we only get the crap stuff on this side of the pond?

BJ

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Re: quality vs cost?

#326769

Postby MaraMan » July 17th, 2020, 9:04 am

I think the £10 rules a good one, but be warned there are plenty of poor wines for sale at that price point (or higher, sometimes much), just as there are some half decent wines available between £6 and £9. It's rules of averages, more chance of a good wine £10 or above, more chance of a poor wine £6-9. Go to a tasting somewhere, Decanter do plenty when there isnt a pandemic on. They are excellent places to learn what you like and what to avoid.

MM

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Re: quality vs cost?

#326779

Postby simoan » July 17th, 2020, 9:29 am

Mike4 wrote:
simoan wrote: But at £5 most of what you're paying is tax.


And out of what's left, you have to pay for the bottle, distribution, retailer profit margin and probably some VAT.

Let's say 10p left to buy the actual wine.

I think you'll find it's more than that but not a lot. There have been threads about this before on TMF and from memory you end up paying 70p or so for the wine in the bottle. You then have to consider how much love and attention someone has paid when making the wine for that much. Not a lot, obviously, and it is normally bulk wine produced in a winery that looks like a huge chemical plant. More often than not the wine will then have traveled half way round the world in a huge plastic bladder and bottled on an industrial estate in the outskirts of Manchester (Irlam is a common one). Not quite the bucolic image of an artisan product the marketing shows...

Like most thing in life, you get what you pay for.

All the best, Si

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Re: quality vs cost?

#326792

Postby Mike4 » July 17th, 2020, 10:11 am

simoan wrote:
Mike4 wrote:
simoan wrote: But at £5 most of what you're paying is tax.


And out of what's left, you have to pay for the bottle, distribution, retailer profit margin and probably some VAT.

Let's say 10p left to buy the actual wine.

I think you'll find it's more than that but not a lot. There have been threads about this before on TMF and from memory you end up paying 70p or so for the wine in the bottle. You then have to consider how much love and attention someone has paid when making the wine for that much. Not a lot, obviously, and it is normally bulk wine produced in a winery that looks like a huge chemical plant. More often than not the wine will then have traveled half way round the world in a huge plastic bladder and bottled on an industrial estate in the outskirts of Manchester (Irlam is a common one). Not quite the bucolic image of an artisan product the marketing shows...

Like most thing in life, you get what you pay for.

All the best, Si


I see, thanks. At least with £5 wine one knows what to expect!

The biggest risk in my experience though, is that when spending the suggested minimum £10 expecting to get £5.70 worth of wine in the bottle, one gets fooled into shelling out ten quid for well marketed 70p stuff instead of just the fiver.

I do find personally there is little point in buying wine for £20+ as my palate is not well enough developed to know what I'm drinking. Maybe what one gets is better reliability and other less immediately obvious benefits for the extra dosh, too.

Another effect I notice is I buy a wine and find I like it, so I buy a few more bottles. As I chug my way through it I find myself enjoying it less and less. I think this is perhaps my palate developing and the more of a specific wine I drink, the better I recognise its shortcomings, but I'm not sure. Quite an annoying effect, whatever it is!

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Re: quality vs cost?

#326816

Postby kempiejon » July 17th, 2020, 11:57 am

Wine, I'm happy to drink plonk. I particularly like £30+ bourbon and some higher priced single malts but I can usually find something I enjoy on special so usually pay around £20. The £50 plus spirits are tasty but I don't want to spend that much on any booze; I sometimes get lucky at Christmas or birthdays.

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Re: quality vs cost?

#327329

Postby tsr2 » July 19th, 2020, 6:07 pm

Bubblesofearth wrote:Any wine buffs out there know if there is a sweet spot regarding what you pay for wine? Various sources and ads seem to suggest that paying around £9 or £10 is optimal. £5 wines are poor quality and paying much more than a tenner is not worthwhile.

Thoughts/comments?

BoE


£8 to £10 is normally my everyday drinking price range. At £20 there are one or two wines I know I particularly like that I will pay that much for occasionally.

My "pro tip" is that if you buy from the Wine Society, you know the wines are actually worth that and haven't just been marked up to twice their real value, so they can be sold at "half price" later. They also have some pretty decent wines in the £6 to £8 range.

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Re: quality vs cost?

#327532

Postby Rhyd6 » July 20th, 2020, 3:38 pm

I'm with tsr" re the wine society, they have enjoyable glugging wines for under £10 and you don't get ripped off. Because of the coronavirus OH decided that we really should attack our cellar - this is not necessarily a wine cellar you understand, but part of it is used as such. We've steadily been working our way through wines that we bought in France during the 80s, 90s and 2000s. We always bought directly from the vinyardsm usually small independent establishments because we couldn't afford the top class wines. It's been a thoroughly pleasant experience, the wines have, so far, aged well, certainly beyond expectation considering the price we paid for them originally.
Mind you I've thoroughly enjoyed our Adelaide Hills chardonnays which have cost under a tenner, we usually demolish one or two of these when everyone pops over for the Friday night "Pub", be it in the barn or if the weather is pleasant outdoors.

R6

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Re: quality vs cost?

#327548

Postby MaraMan » July 20th, 2020, 4:56 pm

I would third the rec for the Wine Society, I have used them for many years and they have outstanding wines at all price points.

To perhaps overextend this discussion it has made recall my one and only taste of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac (I love brandy and have tried many XO's). This currently retails at about £2,500 a bottle. It is a blend of a great many "eaux de vie" ranging in age from 50 to 100 years old. It is of course normally way beyond my pocket & good sense to drink this, but on my one and only try at poker while on a cruise I won just over $1,000 with my second hand of cards (a straight flush if that's the right term). I walked away with the winnings (much to unhappiness of the manager) and treated myself to a shot of Louis XIII with some of the proceeds. It was without question the most wonderful spirit I have ever tasted.

MM

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Re: quality vs cost?

#329630

Postby tsr2 » July 30th, 2020, 10:45 am

If you go into Sainsburys, look in the Spanish reds section for Porta 6. It's actually Portuguese and is easy to find because has a colourful drawing of a Lisbon tram on the front. I think it's really nice and well worth the usual £7.50, but my local Sainsburys has it reduced to £6.50.

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Re: quality vs cost?

#329907

Postby dspp » July 31st, 2020, 10:22 am

I would be interested to hear of comparisons between the Wine Society and Naked Wines and Majestic * and Tescos/Waitrose from the point of view of price, quality, and anything else that is significant.

To put things in perspective I probably buy about 24 cases (cases of 12 bottles) per year, split equally between red & white. The bulk of that is used for hosting events, and in today's pricing we would typically pay about £6.50ea per bottle. We ordinarily use Majestic, though we will also use Tescos/Waitrose if we see a good reason such as an offer. A certain amount of that is inevitably own-consumption, but we will also pay up to £10ea from time-to-time for own-consumption.

regards, dspp


* I am also interested in what is the current relationship between Naked and Majestic as even the staff are thoroughly confused

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Re: quality vs cost?

#329920

Postby MaraMan » July 31st, 2020, 11:22 am

I have been a member of The Wine Society for about 15 years and also use Majestic from time to time. There are good reasons why TWS has won numerous awards every year in my time with them, such as multiple winner of national wine retailer of the year and on-line wine retailer by Decanter Magazine, and numeous others from IWC ( https://www.thewinesociety.com/about-the-society-awards ). These are their outstanding quality and variety of wine, the excellent value (being a co-op they aren't there to make money) and their faultless customer service. So for all of these reasons if you are happy to buy wine on-line then TWS is by far the best choice. Majestic is great for picking up some emergency ready-use wines, their variety is pretty good, they do some good offers and the staff are usually helpful. But in terms of quality and variety they are not in the same league as The Wine Society, in my humble opinion anyway. Other opinions may be available.

To quote Decanter on The Wine Society last year: "'Top buyers, great wines, impeccable service… a national treasure.' & The Gruaniad: 'Not only is the quality of wines available consistently good, but most will be cheaper than on the high street.'

MM

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Re: quality vs cost?

#329927

Postby dspp » July 31st, 2020, 11:54 am

MaraMan wrote:I have been a member of The Wine Society for about 15 years and also use Majestic from time to time. There are good reasons why TWS has won numerous awards every year in my time with them, such as multiple winner of national wine retailer of the year and on-line wine retailer by Decanter Magazine, and numeous others from IWC ( https://www.thewinesociety.com/about-the-society-awards ). These are their outstanding quality and variety of wine, the excellent value (being a co-op they aren't there to make money) and their faultless customer service. So for all of these reasons if you are happy to buy wine on-line then TWS is by far the best choice. Majestic is great for picking up some emergency ready-use wines, their variety is pretty good, they do some good offers and the staff are usually helpful. But in terms of quality and variety they are not in the same league as The Wine Society, in my humble opinion anyway. Other opinions may be available.

To quote Decanter on The Wine Society last year: "'Top buyers, great wines, impeccable service… a national treasure.' & The Gruaniad: 'Not only is the quality of wines available consistently good, but most will be cheaper than on the high street.'

MM


Thank you MaraMan. Various members of my family are also long term WineSoc members, and invariably try to convert us by bringing around very nice bottles from time to time.

In many ways I think the real issue is whether Naked are better, worse, or equal to WineSoc and if so, how ?

(Otherwise our default is Majestic and our local one has good long term staff who we know, but the GF is getting trigger-happy on Naked).

regards, dspp

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Re: quality vs cost?

#329941

Postby dealtn » July 31st, 2020, 12:27 pm

dspp wrote: but the GF is getting trigger-happy on Naked).



!

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Re: quality vs cost?

#329994

Postby Lootman » July 31st, 2020, 3:57 pm

dspp wrote:our default is Majestic and our local one has good long term staff who we know, but the GF is getting trigger-happy on Naked).

Didn't Majestic buy Naked a few years ago?

I recall shopping at the original Majestic, which was under a railway arch in Wood Green. I was immediately impressed with it, and became a regular. I was a bit late buying shares in it, however.

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Re: quality vs cost?

#330310

Postby dspp » August 2nd, 2020, 9:58 am

Lootman wrote:
dspp wrote:our default is Majestic and our local one has good long term staff who we know, but the GF is getting trigger-happy on Naked).

Didn't Majestic buy Naked a few years ago?

I recall shopping at the original Majestic, which was under a railway arch in Wood Green. I was immediately impressed with it, and became a regular. I was a bit late buying shares in it, however.


Yes, but now there is some sort of spin-off going on, after the Naked founders exited, and the board of Majestic jumped into the Naked lifeboat they used shareholder funds to buy themselves. It is all very opaque.

regards, dspp


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