This French wine store is certainly an option for buying fine wine. You probably won't get a bargain once you factor in the cost of shipping and customs. But you may be able to purchase wine that's otherwise unavailable. Why not get together with friends and buy a case or two? Where can you find such wine stores? online of course.
Ballenberger gives you several ideas for purchasing fine wine at great prices. As an added bonus he explains the wine rating scales used by such experts as Robert Parker and The Wine Spectator.
Some years ago in a book by Lee Iacocca, who was President of Ford Motor Co. prior to taking over Chrysler Corp. and leading them out of bankruptcy, I read that Mr. Iacocca’s boss, Henry Ford II, drank two bottles of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild every day. Two bottles per day is an awful lot and wouldn‘t be advisable, but I did like the thought of drinking fine wine every day. Today, depending on the vintage, two bottles ofChateau Lafite can cost upwards of $1,000 or even more. If your name is Henry Ford you can no doubt afford this, but most of us have to settle for something a little less prestigious for our nightly dinner pairing.
The point of this article is simple: One can drink good, sometimes even excellent wines, at very reasonable prices.
The easiest way to do this is to wait for your local liquor store to have their periodic sales. For example, about once a month a large liquor store nearby our home, which carries a reasonably good selection of wines from around the world, has a sale for 15% off for those on their “family plan”. So that’s obviously the time to stock up.
The next question is what wines to
choose. Unless you already know some good producers and have your favorites, the best guides are
the little tags which give wine ratings by wine critics such as Robert Parker of “The Wine Advocate“,
the “Wine Spectator“, and “The Wine Enthusiast“, among others. Most good liquor stores make a point
to display these tags for the wines that the critics have tasted. As an example of wine ratings, here
are the criteria used by Robert Parker, considered by many to be the foremost of wine critics:
96-100 An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume.
90-95 An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.
80-89 A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.
70-79 An average wine with little distinction except that it is soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.
60-69 A below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.
50-59 A wine deemed to be unacceptable.”
To be sure, you will not find fine wines rated at 96 or above on the cheap, 15% off or not! However, it is entirely possible to find wines rated in the upper 80’s (very good) or even low 90’s (low outstanding range) for good prices, often $10 or less on sale! If your wine or liquor store does not display the ratings tags, suggest that they do so, or if necessary find another store that does.
The main advantage of the above strategy is that you are basing your purchases on some opinion. If you simply choose a wine without knowing anything about it, you might still find a pleasurable bottle, but the chances of success are considerably diminished.