The age old problem of bringing a bottle of wine to a party rears its ugly head again.
I’m at the stage in my life where I now go to dinner parties. Thankfully they aren’t the type where there are children everywhere, and this means that a few bottles of wine can be knocked back without anyone freaking out about paying a babysitter.
Of course every time you bring a bottle to a party there’s someone taking note of who brings what, and it’s here that things can get awkward.
Many wines under the R50 mark are pretty shitty – not being snobby, that’s just the reality. But then there are those that punch well above their weight, and it’s here that we have an issue.
It’s great that you brought along a R90 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, Darren, but what if my R40 bottle tastes better than yours? Do I get judged for knowingly buying a great value wine, whilst you forked out for the label, or should I trumpet the point that I paid less than a Long Street craft beer for a tasty bottle?
There are some wines where the selling price is actually a little silly – and I’m not the only one that thinks so. Let’s hear from Michael Fridjhon, one of South Africa’s most widely consulted liquor industry authorities, a highly regarded international wine judge, and one of the country’s leading wine writers.
Here’s what he has to say about the Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc over on Business Day:
…it overdelivers in terms of price. But what makes it different is its real fruit purity.
Fine and tropical, with beautifully managed acidity, it is good enough to be enjoyed on its merits, rather than because it’s on shelf at about R40 per bottle. If that sounds too cheap, tell your wine merchant you’d prefer him to double the price. I’m sure he’d be happy to do so and then you can have the satisfaction of a more credible price-to-quality ratio.
That’s exactly the point we’re making here – you’re being shamed into buying a R90 bottle, because you’re worried that someone might think you skimped on the R40 option.
What are our options? Should we try to mobilise a Facebook group to get Boekenhoutskloof to up their price on the Sauv Blanc, so you can satisfy the Price Checkers out there, or do you try and educate the palate of your fellow dinner goers?
As Seth always says, “things are either reassuringly expensive or worryingly cheap”, and that’s certainly true with wines.
Maybe it’s time we learnt from Marc Kent, the head winemaker at Boekenhoutskloof, which Fridjhon calls “undoubtedly SA’s most successful wine enterprise”:
He is as comfortable putting R40 bottles of the Wolftrap on the table as he is offering Porcupine Ridge (a notch up in terms of price), The Chocolate Block, Boekenhoutskloof itself and the (current) jewel in the crown, Porseleinberg.
I’m not knocking Darren who judged my wine from the dinner party (I am), but I think I’ll trust one of the country’s finest winemakers, thank you very much.
Wine will always be one of those subjective topics, but it doesn’t help when such a majority is relying on the price point as an indicator of quality. What we’ve learnt here is that it’s a double-edged sword, typically impacting the higher end of the scale – but now also causing confusion in the lower end.
Bottom line – don’t go arriving with a dooswyn and expect to get away with it, but if you find a great deal I think you should tell people to get stuffed.
You hear that, Darren? That’s about enough out of you.
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