Friday, February 19, 2010

Over on the Freakonomics Blog author Robin Goldstein has written a short note about wine pricing.

He argues for supply-side pricing (cost based) instead of demand/market based pricing.

I suppose I would prefer supply-side pricing too, but I think Mr. Goldstein has ignored a basic tenet of supply and demand. A winery is going to raise prices if it routinely sells all of its wine quickly. It would only be rational, which as an aside sometimes makes me wonder about the sanity of one of my favorite wine makers, Mike Officer of Carlisle but that's another post.

I get that wine is not a commodity and the average consumer has trouble comparing the quality of one label to another, fragmenting the market, but the market for wine, such as it is, has been around for some time, and that has to say something about its relative efficiency, particularly in the age of internet, now that price comparisons are much easier.

Am I missing the point of his post?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Rhone Report

Jeb Dunnuck just posted the third issue of his wine review newsletter, The Rhone Report.

I learned about Jeb's newsletter around the time of the second issue and I immediately noticed that he and I share similar palates, particularly when it came to some of the Rhone Ranger reviews.

What I find amazing is that he has the time and money to make this newsletter happen. The latest issue is 174 thoughtful reviews on wines from the Rhone, Spain, and California. He's obviously got a serious passion for Rhone wines. Check it out.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Inaugural Post: Wine of the Week and Mailing Lists


I subscribe to a number of wine mailing lists. For a variety of reasons, they all seem to distribute their mailers clustered around certain times of year. Primarily January-February and July-August in my experience.

I'm on more lists than I want to admit, and there's not enough money to go around for me to buy wine from all of them. These are all wineries I like or am curious about, but inevitably, some are going to get skipped this go round.

As I was paring my list this January, I was contemplating dropping Rhys Vineyards, a small producer in the Santa Cruz area. I've only received one earlier mailer from them having joined their waiting list around 2008. I'd opened a couple of their second label Pinot Noirs (Alesia) and found them competent, but in a style that is less fruit driven and more earth driven, which generally doesn't appeal to me.

To help me decide whether or not to skip Rhys this time, I decided to pop one more bottle (trying allocate my wine budget is hard work!). This time I settled on the Alesia Falstaff Road Pinot.

  • 2007 Rhys Alesia Pinot Noir Falstaff Road Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (1/30/2010)
    Tasted over a couple days. In the glass, this is more deeply colored than I expected with a dark garnet color and just slight translucence. Complex nose of minerals, cinnamon, black cherry fruit and stems. Rich concentrated sweet/savory black cherry/waxy cherry. Medium to medium full bodied. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

In short, I expected, (even hoped in light of the mailer in my inbox), not to like this, but it turned out to be one of the best Pinot's I've had lately. Little pricey for a second label, but very good. I think I was expecting something less fruit driven and was pleasantly surprised. My conundrum continues.