How Good Is a $30,000 Bottle of Wine? (by Brian Palmer)

Posted: March 30, 2013 by wynmaker in Celebrities, Cellars, Europe, France, Vintage, Wine, Wineries, World wine news
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
An Sotheby's employee holds a rare Jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild from 1953 on Jan. 17, 2012 in LondonPhoto by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

An Sotheby’s employee holds a rare Jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild from 1953 on Jan. 17, 2012 in London
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

 

Some are excellent, others undrinkable.

Testimony began this week in billionaire William Koch’s lawsuit against Eric Greenberg, who Koch claims sold him some very expensive counterfeit wine. (Mike Steinberger wrote a detailed investigation of the case for Slate in 2010.) Some of the bottles went for nearly $30,000, which has Koch so miffed that he refuses to settle the case. If you spend $30,000 on a bottle of wine, can you expect it to be better than a $20,000 bottle or a $10,000 bottle?
Not really. Full disclosure: The Explainer has never tasted, and has no discernible prospects of ever tasting, a $10,000 bottle of wine. The wine experts he consulted, however, emphasized that the difference between wines in this price range is not quality, but rather prestige, rarity, and age. Upon opening, some four- or five-figure bottles of wine “justify” their price—at least to experienced wine critics and people who can conceive of paying $30,000 for 1.5 liters of fermented grape juice. (A 1947 Cheval Blanc, for example, blew away Slate’s wine critic.) Other bottles have slid far beyond their peak, losing their volatile fruit flavors to age and, frequently, improper storage. Occasionally, giddy wine lovers uncork an ultra-expensive wine only to find that it has turned to vinegar. As wine enthusiasts say, there are no great wines, only great bottles. However, just like a high-roller going all in at the poker table, some wealthy wine lovers perceive value in unpredictability.

Read on …

 

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