like love wine, but one of the great challenges is to find great wines on a budget. There are a huge number of wines out there, but it is hard to get reviews that aren’t compromised by commercial interests. The few real reviews that do exist are typically of wines tasted on their own and not with food. A wine that might standout when tasted alongside 200 other wines is often undrinkable with a meal. Because of this I have basically given up looking at reviews and have taken to buying random bottles that I think might be interesting. Of these about 25% are terrible and get tipped straight down the sink, 50% are drinkable, but I would not buy them again, 20% are good and worth their price, and around 5% are fantastically undervalued. I intend to write about the two extremes – the sink tippers and those that are massively undervalued.
I think it is better to give my estimate of what the wine is worth in dollars rather than some silly point score out of 100, or a long string of pretentious adjective like “cigar box” or “aroma of violets”. Like 99% of people I really don’t care what flavours are present in a wine, only if it is worth drinking or not. After all once you have moved up from drinking Passion Pop you know what the various wine varieties taste like – what I really want to know, for example, is if this Clare Valley Shiraz that I am thinking of buying is great value or undrinkable swill. Concentrating on price/value should be much more useful, since unless you are hedge fund billionaire you have to make compromises with what wines you buy. If your budget is $12 a bottle then you want to know which $12 wines really should have been priced at $20 and which should never had been put in a bottle. My budget tops out around $20 so most reviews will be of wines priced under this, but if I think a wine offers great value I will stretch a little above this.