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What does a $300 bottle of wine taste like ?

I know this is a vague question.I would like to taste it.But what the hell. Red or white. My bottles I buy are under $ 20.Will also make food.What would you buy ? Live in California bay area.

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  1. It taste just like a $30 bottle of wine, and I'm not trying to be a smart ass.

    9 Replies
      1. re: pinotho


        We are not drinking the same expensive wines. Yes for $30 there are some wines that are as good as $150 plus wines but a Ladera Napa Valley or BV Tapestry is no 1982 Chateau Gruaud Larose purchased three years ago at $250.

        What comparison do you have for us?

        1. re: wineglas1

          Hi wineglas, I was trying to make a point for the original poster. If you are interested in a fun tasting, select 5 wines, invite your favorite tasters over, serve the wines blind, and ask everyone to rank them by price....not by taste, by price. If you so it, let us all know how it turns out. :) P.S. dont beat yourselves up too badly when you are not able to do it.

          1. re: pinotho

            I have done these a number of time and yes blind you get all kind of results. I find very rarely in a group the highest priced/rated wines the event. Many variables in there. I am drinking a closeout wine for $10 2006 Chalone Condor Estate Red that drinks like a $45 wine. Retail was $35 out of the winery. This is more rewarding because it is affordable.

        2. re: pinotho

          It should not - if it's worth the additional (10x) the cost.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Bill not sure what you are talking about. Of course I would not spend 10x on every bottle purchased and no Larose is not 10x better but no it does not taste like a $30 bottle.

            1. re: wineglas1

              I'm pretty certain Bill was responding to Pinotho and saying that a $300 wine should NOT taste like a $30 wine "if it's worth the extra...... cost".

              1. re: wineglas1

                As Midlife commented, a US $300 bottle of wine (given the same baseline - say Restaurant X) should taste better than a US $30 bottle of a wine from the same Region, an grape.

                Providing that there are no flaws, if it does not, then something is wrong. That could be the taster's preferences, or perhaps a great US $30 bottle vs a poor US $300 bottle.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Ditto this, plus vintage plays a huge role. As a general rule, always opt for the $50 bottle from a good vintner in a monster year over a $300 bottle from a "legendary" vineyard in a poor year.

                  Can't be over-emphasized IMO.

            1. re: chartreauxx

              I want to have freinds of ours over. Cook dinner .I am a excellent cook. Always wanted to do this. Have fun, spend the money. Talk about it.

              1. re: emglow101

                there are $30 bottles that taste like $300, there are $300 bottles that taste like $30, and of course there are $300 bottles that are worth the price. all depends on what wine it is!

                1. re: chartreauxx

                  $ 300 bottle of wine thats worth the price.That's what I would like.I don't have to spend that.I'm doing this for fun and celebrating.It's a one time deal.Something from California. A red, If that helps. Thinking about making pappardelle with a braised meat. Could be rabbit with porcini.

                  1. re: emglow101

                    The answer is it doesn't taste very good if it's not paired with the right food...

                    If you're doing the rabbit and want to splurge, match it with something appropriate... look for the best Barolo you can find of the 2000, 2001, or 2004 vintage... there are some great bottles for well under your $300 pricepoint... think MATCHING wines, not some arbitrary price level.

                    Enjoy and please report back.

                    1. re: TombstoneShadow

                      Good point.

                      A good Pinot Noir from Burgundy could be a great pairing, but so could a Northern Rhône Syrah. Each can be from US $ 30 to $300, and it will depend on several factors.

                      If I am in doubt (happens all too often), my wife will cook the dish, and then I will head to the cellar, and we will taste, and taste and taste. Sometimes, the wine selected, will be near the lower end, but sometimes, it will be at the upper end. It just depends.

                      When mushrooms are included to a good degree, then PN is my first choice - though Barolo, Rhône Syrah and some great Spanish wines, can be in the mix too. With mushrooms, I usually first think "earthy."



                    2. re: emglow101

                      "$ 300 bottle of wine thats worth the price."

                      That's really, really dependent on your means, my friend.

                      A rabbit with porcini dish would scream for an elegant Pinot, not something easily found in California (and really no Pinot in Cali is going to run you $300, not even the most niche producers).

                      In that price range, if you're really into it, I'd go Burgundy - something like a 2008 Hudelot Noellat Clos de Vougeot. Drinking well, priced really fairly at $120-150, available, and would pair nicely (it's a Grand Cru Burgundy, which means it's in the upper echelon of Burgundy vineyards and HN is a great producer).

                      Or maybe a Faiveley Echezeaux (2006 or 2007 are both drinking well). Another great producer, great Grand Cru vineyard, cheaper (in the $150-200 range).

                      You can turn to Barolo/Barbaresco, too. Conterno pushes out really nice Barolos in the sub-$200 point as does Vietti.

                      Find a really solid wine shop near you, ask for advice, and then check the advice against www.cellartracker.com or post on here for a 2nd opinion. :)

                      1. re: QuakerInBoston

                        This is just a little more information about Conterno Barolo. There are 5 Conterno wineries in Monforte d’Alba, Italy: Aldo Conterno, Diego Conterno, Giacomo Conterno, Paolo Conterno and Conterno Fantino. The previous reference was probably to Giacomo, which has the most acclaim, or Aldo. Emglow101 is really in luck if choosing one of these wines as Rare Wine Co. in Sonoma, CA has one of the most extensive inventories. The vintages range from 1947 to 2005 and the prices go from $129 to $1,525. They have a lot of bottles under $300 from the best years. I have picked up bottles at their Sonoma warehouse to avoid shipping. If you choose one of these wines, I hope you will please report back, as I would be extremely interested.

                        1. re: BN1

                          Oh, my apologies! I was referring, as you guessed, to Giacamo Conterno (in my common usage, I tend to only call it Conterno, but Aldo also makes great wine!).

                          Thanks for the clarification!

                      2. re: emglow101

                        Not $300 but maybe Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon would work. It is a Cabernet-dominant blend and in the $120-$150 range.

                        1. re: JonDough

                          I don't like it with the proposed dish BUT Monte Bello is incredible year after year. One of my favorites.

                          To put this into context: I recently went to a Cult Napa Cab dinner here in Boston. The average bottle was $350 (put on by the distributor). Mostly Cabernet and Cab blends. Some were great but the $150 Monte Bello would stand up to almost all of them (as would Cathy Corison's Kronos in the same price point and many other bottlings).

                          My point is that price really is a poor guide for the most part.

                          1. re: QuakerInBoston

                            <<My point is that price really is a poor guide for the most part.>>

                            Well-stated! I can depend on the dish, and then the personal preferences of the diner.

                            I have had US $ 650 bottles, that were not worth the $, with the dish, but have also had US $ 650 bottles, that almost brought me to my knees with tears of joy.

                            Price is NOT the ultimate determinate factor, regardless of the dish.

                            I try to not get too hung up on costs, and again, try not to get too hung up on "points." I want what goes with my dish(s) the best, regardless of price.


                          2. re: JonDough

                            Ridge Monte Bello is a good suggestion for someone who wants to splurge on an expensive bottle of California red.

                            You can get older vintages direct from the winery so you know they've been stored properly.


                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              I have seen it discounted at Safeway and Bev Mo - maybe $20-$50 off. You could be taking a chance but I haven't had any issues.

                              1. re: JonDough

                                You've seen older vintages of Ridge Monte Bello at Safeway and BevMo?

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston


                                    I am with you. I am not sure that JonDough is talking about the very same wine - if so, then his BevMo is far, far beyond any in the Valley of the Sun.

                                    I have Ridge Monte Bello, going back to about 1985, and none of those have ever been seen at my BevMos, in Phoenix Metro.

                                    I have never seen one at any of my Safeway stores, and I would be wonderfully surprised to see one discounted, even US $ 5.00.

                                    I think a totally different wine, but could well be wrong - if so, then I need to drive to Jon's Safeway, and buy 10 cases!


                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      Hi Bill,

                                      It is the same wine. I confirmed with a friend that we bought it discounted at BevMo around 2-3 years ago. We both don't remember the exact price but it was under $100 a bottle. I checked both Safeway and BevMo and neither had it today (the Safeway had other Ridge wine).

                                      As a side note, the Safeway in Livermore has what I assume are good deals after a quick search on the internet (I have never purchased any of these wines). For example, 2002 chateau d'yquem for $251.99, '09 Opus One for $198.09, and '09 Insignia for $159.99 if purchased with the Safeway card. There are further discounts if you buy 6, etc.

                                      1. re: JonDough

                                        Interesting. The wine selection definitely varies from one Safeway to another.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Agreed. The one on First St. in Livermore has a "cellar".

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            And ALWAYS has! The same was true from Liquor Barn, the precursor of BevMo.

                                            There is less variation between BevMo stores, but they also do vary.

                                          2. re: JonDough

                                            That is amazing. First, Ridge Monte Bello is seldom seen in a big-box (with some exceptions), or grocery store.

                                            Were I you, I would head back to the Safeway, and buy a few cases of that wine.



                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              After Donn Reisen, head of marketing and president of Ridge wine died in 2009, Ridge wine changed their marketing strategies to include box stores like BevMo. I knew Donn personally and he would never sell their wine to places like BevMo and Safeway, he prided himself on the exclusivity of Ridge. Most people never knew of Ridge wine unless they really knew true wine. I could not believe Ridge did that and I am sure Donn would be rolling in his grave if he knew.
                                              I have seen a few varieties of Ridge at BevMo for around $25 but they are not older vintages. I have yet to see it in any of my Safeways...

                                          3. re: Bill Hunt

                                            Bill, I can't speak to the BevMos in AZ, but several locations here in CA do carry "the" Ridge Monte Bello . . .

                                            1. re: zin1953

                                              At US $10 per bottle?

                                              Buy all that you can find!


                          3. I'd agree that you'd better serve your guests to pair the wine selection with what you'll be serving, but........ Just to throw out one specific reply to your specific question........

                            Check around (K&L, Wine Club, wherever) and see if you can find a bother if 2007 Gemstone. This is a Cabernet-dominant blend that should cost somewhere between $120 and $140. In my opinion that's what a $300 wine tastes like. Point being that you don't need to spend $300 to get into the 'exceptional' category. You could also try some Continuum to see what Tim Mondavi's been up to lately. $160 where I work. Or Leviathan. Or even Trivium. Both considerably less.

                            1. Thanks for all your info. I will look in the $150 range.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: emglow101

                                Just my 2c...
                                Have you ever thought about visiting a wine show? Plenty of high end wines you can taste - that $300 bottle might cost you $15 or so to try...

                                Besides pairing with food, your palate has a lot to do with it. Ask the 21 year old who thinks Martini & Rossi Asti Spumanti is the bomb what the $300 wine tastes like. Probably doesn't matter WHICH wine it is, it'll taste like shit.
                                Many people will not appreciate a great wine, no matter what the price.

                                I'm just sayin.

                                1. re: porker

                                  I agree with this. Or try joining a wine tasting group. A $300 bottle split 10 ways makes tasting it very possible (at 2.5 oz per glass, you'll definitely get enough to taste).

                                  I'm trying to not get hung up on that price point. $300 is really, really, really high. We're talking cult wines in the US and better producer Grand Cru Burgundy, better 2nd Growth Bordeaux/Grand Cru Classe, high end Barolo, etc. Sure there are wines above $300 (and $3000) but we're talking the 0.01% here.

                                2. re: emglow101

                                  Well if you have an extra $150 lying around, a Krug NV is a nice opening act.

                                3. I have to agree with those other respondents who have pointed out tha $300 is a lot for a botle of wine-especialy if you are asking what will it taste like. To be honest, I don't know that I've ever had a single botle that cost that much. 35 years ago, I bought a case of Kristal Champagne, at less that $100 a bottle (that was on sale). When my father retired, 20 or 25 years ago, his colleagues bought him 2 grand crus Bordeaux. It's been a while, but my recollection is that he got a Château Lafite and a Château Latour. We drank them at some point, and I guess they were good, if a little musty (not corked, but we probably should have decanted them); still, clearly not a life changing moment.

                                  Again, to repeat some other posts, it may come down to the food you're having, and your individual taste (yes, I know that's a cop out-when someone asks 'what's good", to replu, "well, it depends on what you like", and isn't very helpful. So, I will say that I, at some time in the '80's was dining with my wife in a restaurant in Paris, across from the Comidie Francais: we had boulibaisse, I believe. We had a stony cold Mersault (white Burgundy) with it, that was not cheap (albeit well under $300). It was incredible, the finish was like drinking butter (soft, smooth, lasting). The Mesault region is small, so there isn't a huge amount of it available. But, if I were to pay, say, $200 for a wine, this might be it.

                                  Barolos and Barbarescos, as discussed below (especialy Barolos, IMHO) are also excelent choices, and , in this price range, a comparative bargain.

                                  Good luck-the suggestions about doing some tastings also seem sound to me: you wouldn't buy a car without test driving it, I assume (FWIW, my 1sr car cost less than $300), so take your time. There are lots of good wines out there, and many are available for much less than $300-which might mean you could buy 2 or 3 bottles that would "only" ring in at around $100 per bottle.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: mchametzky

                                    I am a great fan of, and collector of Meursault, I would not think that its characteristics would go well with the OP's dish.

                                    While many of my 1er Cru Meursaults do range up to, and slightly beyond that US $300 limit, I would go for what works with the dish(s).


                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      If you have a few older vintages of Chateau Meursault, or Comte-Lafon,Les Perrieres l will gladly fly in and cook a meal appropriate to those puppies.

                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                        heheheh DCM... I was about to suggest I would gladly do the same! :)

                                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                                        What Domaine makes a Meursault that costs $300? Montrachet yes but Meursault?

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        We drank a '63 Cockburn for a friend's 50th birthday recently. That was a treat.

                                      2. For us, a US $300 bottle of wine should be like an onion - layer, upon layer of flavor and aromas.

                                        Nothing should be out of place, and nothing out of balance - acid, alcohol, fruit, anything.

                                        Such a wine should evolve in the glass, over a bit of time - revealing a different layer, with every sip, or sniff.

                                        As to which US $ 300 bottle I would buy, that would depend on my dinner. OTOH, it would likely not be a CA wine (though I do love many), but an "import." To that, there could well be exceptions, but I would need MUCH more info, before going there.

                                        At that price-point (whether retail, or at a restaurant), I would expect something special. I would expect an "experience," and be disappointed, if I did not get it.

                                        Personally, I would work UP, from the US $20/btl., and not "plunge in," unless you have great guidance. Going from US $20 to US $300 is big jump. Many wines could well be worth that additional cost, but some might not. A really good sommelier should be able to guide you.



                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          <<I would work UP, from the US $20/btl., and not "plunge in," >>

                                          This is probably the best advice, even if I'm loathe to support it since it's not what the OP wanted.

                                          This will also come off as rude, most likely, and I sincerely don't mean it that way but unless someone has had a lot of wine in the past, meaning a broad spectrum of wines from various varietals, price points, countries, etc, you will likely not appreciate the intricacies of what we're deeming a $300 bottle. I certainly would not have 7-8 years ago when I just started learning about wine and I'm far from an expert today.

                                          A bit off-topic (sort of) but I just had Staglin's 2009 Estate Cab and a 2010 Spottswoode Cab side-by-side on Saturday night. Figure the Staglin comes in around $200 and the Spottswoode around $130 - very similar styles. The Spottswoode was more in my preferred style (less jammy/extracted and bit more elegant) and, in my mind, equally crafted. So, as is being echoed here, price is really a poor indicator at most levels of wine consumption (PS. both of these were well under $300 and each would likely have blown your guests' faces completely off...they were fantastic, even this young).

                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                            This is great advice - esp. about not plunging up to that very high level.

                                            Also I would add, even that amazing bottle, assuming you find "it", may taste "bleh" without not only the right food, but also the right company. People who you love or at least enjoy, and who will enjoy and appreciate this adventure you're proposing.

                                          2. 'Time' should be a criteria in addressing this bottle/topic!
                                            A bottle which originally might only cost double digits but appreciated in price to triple digits due to the passage of time, could, due to age and maturity, tastes smooth, welcoming and the tannin rounded out...etc
                                            On the other hand a 'new' wine, say a classed growth Bordeaux from the magnificent 2010 vintage, could easily costs $300 nowadays, but on the other hand be totally unapproachable, closed and swarmed by tannin.
                                            Two same priced wine from two different era. So really cannot compare apples with apples!

                                            BTW, I recalled a few years ago, I opened up, at that time, a $700 bottle of 1990 Latour that was still closed and hence 'just OK '. However, around the same time, I also had a bottle of an older 1982, but lesser growth Pichon Lalande which was about the same price. The latter, also a Pauillac, due to more lay-down time and different character was totally approachable and most enjoyable!!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                              Yeah, but time is a tough thing for most buyers, as most wine is purchased (and available most readily to the average consumer) young.

                                              Nothing like crushing a 90 Latour to find out it's a woody/stemmy mess, eh? It's happened to me more times than I want to admit to.

                                            2. Sorry to chime in late -- busy weekend . . .

                                              Well, let's see . . . what DOES a $300 bottle of wine taste like?

                                              It tastes the same as any other bottle of wine, minus the ego. That is to say, a $300 bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet is not all that different than, say, a $100 bottle . . . the vineyard source may be more costly, and there may (or may not) be more new-and-expensive French oak barrels used in the wine's production, but there is certainly some ego involved in the price. (Note: if the winery is corporate-, rather than privately-owned, substitute the cost of the debt for ego.)

                                              Is there a QUALITATIVE difference between a $30 bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet (or Pinot Noir) and a $300 bottle? Well, although I ***want*** to say "Yes," I'm actually more comfortable saying, "There better be." Will you enjoy the $300 bottle ten times more than the $30 bottle. I can virtually guarantee that answer is "No."

                                              Now, without trying to be a smartass about the whole thing, I have a question for you: why do you want to spend $300 on a bottle of wine?

                                              I have had more bottles of high-end Bordeaux and Grands Crus Burgundies from great vintages in the 1940s, '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s than I had any right to . . . I've had bottles that THEN cost in the hundreds of dollars (lord only knows what' they'd cost today!), and yet -- in the 21st Century -- I can count the number of $300+ bottles I have purchased on one hand . . . with three fingers and a thumb left over . . . And that's both retail AND restaurant!

                                              Most of the wine I buy today costs between $15-$50 a bottle at retail. It is a rare wine indeed that I purchase today that costs between $50-100, and with the exception of a "special occasion" bottle of Champagne, I can't remember spending $100+ (retail) on more than, let's say, 12 bottles in the past decade.

                                              I find there are VERY FEW $$$$ wines that are worth the money . . . to me, to my palate. And let's not forget I spent most of my working life in the wine trade. The exceptions -- for me -- tend to be Burgundies, both red and white, and while I still enjoy a great Burgundy, I rarely do so. They are just too costly for me to justify the expense. I still enjoy villages-level and "lesser" appellations, but I *know* I'm missing something that only exists in Burgundies from the best 1er Cru and Grand Cru appellations.

                                              I do not experience this "loss" (if you will) when it comes to any other wine . . . Bordeaux, Barolo, or Barbaresco; the Rhône, Rioja, or the Rhein; Chianti, California, or any other region I can think of off the top of my head.

                                              Just my experience. YMMV.


                                              1. If you rarely or never drink expensive wine, a $300 bottle would probably taste like a $100 bottle.

                                                1. To serve with fresh pasta with rabbit and porcini, I would grab a well-aged nebbiolo from Piedmont. Unless there are only 4 of you, I would grab 2 $150 bottles rather than a single $300 bottle. A quick scan thru wine-searcher finds that Rare Wine Co has the 1990 Marcarini Barolo Brunate and the 1958 Borgogno Barolo for $145 each (plus shipping). That's what I would get. Be aware that old nebbiolo can pick up oomph after it has been open for an hour or two, so don't be in a rush to drink them. The Marcarini is probably on the young side of mature in any case.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: seattle_lee

                                                    You don't want to drink old wines like that right after transporting them. How long you should wait is a matter of some debate.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      Agreed, a caveat worth pointing out. Not sure of OP's timeline, though.

                                                  2. Thanks again for all your replies.I'm kinda off topic here from my original post.Dinner party in a couple of weeks. I'm going to forget about spending the $ 300 on the one bottle.I get those big ideas. But will spend $ 300 on multiple bottles,4-6. 6 people. Grilled bread, fried ancohvy,simple salad, baked cardoons,pappardelle,rabbit with porcini,tiramisu.I would like to have Italian wines. If you did have any suggestions you might suggest ? Eat, drink, and have fun.

                                                    24 Replies
                                                    1. re: emglow101

                                                      Fried Anchovy: Most still Italian whites work okay here, Verdicchio probably my first choice. Spumante in an Italian sparkler. There are some great non-Italian matches here too: muscadet, albarino, vinho verde, or kabinett riesling will all work nicely. With your $300 budget you can get several varieties and find your own palate preferences.

                                                      Baked cardoons: In still Italian whites: Friulano, Sauvignon, Soave. Non-italian whites: sauvignon blanc is my first choice, probably followed by chardonnay.

                                                      Pappardelle w/ rabbit & porcini: My favorite Italian wine with this dish is Nebbiolo. There are some good non-italian suggestions on this thread.

                                                      Tiramisu: I love a sweet Vin Santo with this. Moscato d' Asti also matches it very well and is a great palate-cleansing sparkler to end any successful Italian meal.

                                                      Looking over this wine list, the only "expensive" wine is the nebbiolo. You'll be able to well cover a mix of 6 or 7 bottles for all your guests for under $300.

                                                      1. re: TombstoneShadow

                                                        Glow, as an interesting comparison in flavors, I'd recommend also adding a less expensive and IMO very under-appreciated Italian red to your winelist: Valpolicella Ripassa Superiore. Very nice food-friendly bottles can be had in the $20's. It will pair very nicely with the pappardelle and give you an interesting contrast with the nebbiolo.

                                                        And as another poster suggested, go ahead and open all 5 or 6 wines and have them available to your more adventuresome guests throughout the meal. That will give those who want to, a sense of how well (or not well) each wine pairs with each course. For example, although I might "prefer" pairing verdicchio or muscadet with the anchovy, I'd still like to try the soave and/or friulano with it, and vice-versa for the cardoon dish.

                                                      2. re: emglow101

                                                        For the Tiramisu, add a drizzle (or more) of semi-sweet chocolate sauce and pair with a 20 Yr Tawny Port.

                                                        1. re: emglow101

                                                          Where are you? Not much point in recommending wines that aren't available where you can buy them.

                                                          1. re: emglow101

                                                            <Grilled bread, fried ancohvy,simple salad, baked cardoons,pappardelle,rabbit with porcini,tiramisu.I would like to have Italian wines.>

                                                            What time is dinner? That sounds scrumptious! I think I would start with a Vermentino (white) with your first 3 dishes. For the rabbit/porcini/pappardelle I also like the Barolo idea. or Barbaresco would also be wonderful. I'd be sure to have 2 bottles of each for 6 persons.

                                                            1. re: emglow101

                                                              Are those seven courses or are you serving some of the dishes together? What kind of sauce on the pappardelle?

                                                              I suggest you go to to K&L, Biondivino, or Paul Marcus and ask for their advice pairing Italian wines with that menu and budget.

                                                              Fried anchovies, I'd think Falanghina or Grillo.

                                                              Consider an Amarone with the rabbit.

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                Question....... I've loved Amarone for years but gave never thought of it as pairing with an entree. Just seems far too 'dessert-like' for that. Why rabbit?? Also, would you differentiate between Amarones as food pairable or not?

                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                  Amarone is the dry version of Recioto della Valpolicella.

                                                                  I think the bitterness of the wine pairs nicely with the bitterness of rabbit.

                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                    Yes they are 'drier' versions of recioto, but certainly not finished dry dry.
                                                                    Amarone are my favorite wines and have been blessed to have had quite a few, usually Quintarelli, Dal Forno, Masi hand written label, or the wonderful and somewhat inexpensive T Bussola and a big reason for my joy is that they are not bone dry just lush.

                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                      Here is my last Amarone, the Masi "Costasera." It's a wine that lingers on the palate and in the mind even hours later.

                                                                      Pairings: Shiitake mushroom risotto, a roasted something with a touch of roasted fruit, short ribs, and the list goes on and on.

                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                        The Costasera is their entry level amarone, If you can find their Mazzano or Campolongo di Torbe, oh my.

                                                                        1. re: maria lorraine


                                                                          Had that one three nights ago. Lovely with Braised Beef Short-ribs, BTW.


                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            Sounds perfect, especially as the cold weather sets in.

                                                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                              Well... remember, we are in Phoenix, so no "cold weather" yet. [Grin]


                                                                        2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                          Amarone regulations specify a maximum of 1.2% residual sugar for 14% alcohol, 1.3% for 15%, 1.4% for 16%, 1.55% for 17%.

                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                            I think you have those figures wrong I'm afraid. These should be the correct amounts allowed: 12 g/l for an Amarone with alchol content of 14%. Every 0.10% of alchol content increase above 14%, and up to 16% of alchol, it is allowed an increase of 0.1 g/l of sugar. Above 16% of alchol content, it is allowed an additional 0.15 g/l of residual sugar for each 0.10% of increase in alcohol. So, basically the comma in your figures should be moved.

                                                                            1. re: JosefK

                                                                              When measuring residual sugar, 10 g/l equals 1 percent.


                                                                              0.1 g/l = 0.01%. Increase the alcohol from 14.0% to 14.1% and the maximum residual sugar allowed rises from 12 g/l or 1.2% to 12.1 g/l or 1.21%.

                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                You are obviously right, I got the math all wrong.

                                                                      2. re: Midlife


                                                                        You need to try an Amarone (per Robert's specs.) with rich, Grilled Beef. I also find it a great accompaniment to Beef Short-ribs, and seek it out for that pairing.


                                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                                          Here's one from my cellar. Past experience has been that this has been so 'jammy' that I don't think I could drink it in 'with dinner' amounts. Is it just me?

                                                                          1. re: Midlife

                                                                            Allegrini tends to be more jammy as you say unlike the Dal Forno and others as they are bitter with high almond notes.
                                                                            l use the one you have almost regardless of vintage with rich cheeses and works well for me.
                                                                            For whatever reason also find the amarone and recioto sometimes go off at 15-20 years, some to recover, many do not. The wine becomes somewhat opaque and really tastes terrible, thin and acidic.

                                                                    2. It sounds like you are after that magic taste of wine that makes you say, "Now I understand. Now I get it. Now I see the potential of wine."

                                                                      That is what has happened to me on many occasions, when I taste a wine that is so astoundingly beautiful, so perfectly crafted, and aged, that I am stopped in time.

                                                                      If that transcendent taste experience is what you're after when you say you want to taste a $300 wine, I think that's a noble goal.

                                                                      As others have said, many wines will get you to that a-ha experience at less the cost. Many more expensive wines may not get you there.

                                                                      That being said, when you go to purchase your wines, I'd ask for wines that are fully formed, at their delicious peak, and not buy any other.

                                                                      I'd recommend you taste these wines with only one special person, so you can savor and dissect and understand them over several glasses, and have the experience of the wine changing and blooming and morphing every few minutes.

                                                                      If you pair the wine and share it at a dinner party, you may get only a glass, or a few sips, and that is not enough to experience what I'm describing.

                                                                      Additionally, pairing involves strategies above the beyond the enjoyment of a beautiful wine. A pairing can both enhance or detract from the wine, which is why, though your menu sounds lovely, I'd stick with drinking (and not pairing) for your first few "transcendent" experiences. Accompanied by only the simplest, inobtrusive noshes, if that, so as not to detract from the wine.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine


                                                                        Well-stated. Many seek that moment of catharsis, and it CAN be a bit elusive. When it happens, however, it can be wonderful moment.

                                                                        Mine came with a bottle of Pomerol (Merlot primarily), and it opened up the world of wine to me. Now, when the bills come in, my wife possibly rues that evening, but then, she always has me do "sommelier duties" for all of her board dinners, and reaps the benefit from our cellar, so she is not suffering too badly.

                                                                        Plenty of folk here, can recommend wines that "did it" for them, but none might really provide that "moment of truth" to the OP - it is a very, very personal thing.

                                                                        It can happen just from spending some time with only the wine, or can come from a magical food/wine pairing, where everything comes together perfectly.

                                                                        It might be enhanced by the company of the moment, the sunset over the lanai, or something else - again, very personal.

                                                                        I wish that there WAS one magic wine, that worked for everyone, but there is not.

                                                                        Emglow, I do hope that you are successful in finding that first great wine, when the bells chime, and the fireworks take to the sky.

                                                                        Now, as many others have stated, and in many ways, that does not have to happen at any particular price-point. You could drink US $1,500 bottles of wines, that others laud, and never have it happen. OTOH, you could be sitting on your deck, with great friends, and have it happen with a US $40 bottle.

                                                                        Also, if you find that bottle, near the upper end of the price spectrum, do not expect ALL at that level to provide the same satisfaction. Instead, just let that spur you on, to try more wines, from more countries and Regions, by different winemakers.

                                                                        Good luck, and enjoy every wine, along the way.


                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                          Thanks Bill,

                                                                          I have had a change in plans as from my reply above. With my Italian themed dinner. I will be serving Italian wines.For my papparelle, I am going to make a egg yolk pasta. Thinking of maybe dressing it with a browned butter. Served along side of my braised rabbit with porcini.

                                                                          1. re: emglow101

                                                                            Serving pasta with the main course is highly un-Italian. They'd typically serve the dishes you mentioned like this:

                                                                            appetizer: bruschette, fried anchovies - pair with white wine

                                                                            first course: pappardelle - pair with white or light red

                                                                            second course: rabbit, cardoons - pair with more substantial red



                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston


                                                                              That is also my normal Italian pacing too, though I have occasionally made personal changes, but those are non-traditional.


                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                That's it. Thanks,it's been a while since I was in Italy.

                                                                                1. re: emglow101

                                                                                  Do what sounds best to you. I like the idea of the fresh egg noodles with the rabbit. And I've spent lots of time in Italy.

                                                                        2. I find that young Amarone matches best with rich food with some sweetness, because of the RS in the wine. It doesn't sound to me like the food will be sweet, but it's unclear. So it might work, depending on the particulars of the food.

                                                                          My first choice is still older nebbiolo. K&L in Redwood City has both the 1995 Marcarini Barolo "La Serra" and "Brunate" at 90$. Cushion them well in the car, and the sediment should settle out in 7-10 days. Stand the wines up when you get them home, and let them sit in one place until you serve them. On the day you serve them, move them slowly and gently.

                                                                          K&L also has the Sorelle Bronca Proseccos (2 bottlings) and the Cantina Terlan Pinot Grigio and the blend (called Classico). These are all nice bottles that would round out the meal very nicely.

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: seattle_lee

                                                                            Most of the Amarones I've had weren't far enough off dry that I'd pair them with sweet food, which I usually don't like anyway.

                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                              Most of the young Amarones I've had show enough sweetness that I like a bit of sweetness in the food to match it. I remember drinking Amarone in Venice with a pumpkin ravioli that was a perfect match. It's not that you want to drink them with dessert (though cheese works well with it, better than most other reds with cheese), but a little bit of sweetness in the food helps, I think.

                                                                            2. re: seattle_lee

                                                                              Also, I should note that the Barolo wines will be best with a glass that has a large bowl. If you don't have 2 of them per guest, serve the wines one at a time rather than use other stemware. In that case, serve the La Serra before the Brunate.

                                                                              1. re: seattle_lee

                                                                                My recs for the OP remain finding wines are absolutely drinkable, perfectly silky, with resolved tannins, flavorful fruit, excellent aromatics and a long finish. They can be of any type, but my choices wouldn't be something like as massive and problematic as Barolo wines. I speak from experience; I've tasted thousands. They are quite pricey when they're excellent, and, unless the wine is known to be aged perfectly, Barolo can have massive tannins that can make an altogether unfriendly and unsensual experience. For the price the OP can pay, the Barolo may be more of a turnoff than turn-on.

                                                                                I'm more likely to recommend a Roero Arneis for a Italian white wine (Roero is a region) or a Gavi wine (Gavi di Gavi, etc. -- the cortese grape), or Erbaluce. For the other courses: a Chianti Classico Riserva with some age, a Rosso di Montalcino for something like a Brunello, or a good quality Amarone like the Masi Costasera being discussed. For the tiramisu, a 20-year tawny to appreciate the dried fruit, caramel and other flavors that only come with 20 years of aging. Even though it's not Italian, it works perfectly.

                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                  Barolo wines are no more problematic than any other wine that goes through a closed period -- which is the case for any wine that might possibly have resolved tannins. I've had several 1995 Barolos in the past year, and there are any number of TNs for these specific wines in the past year that indicate they are drinking well right now. I stand by the recommendations.

                                                                                  1. re: seattle_lee

                                                                                    I see the problems with choosing a Barolo that will provide that grand a-ha experience as being far more widespread, and more troubling, than you, especially for a relatively inexperienced wine drinker like the OP. It's very tough to get the selection right, and I'd never want the OP to take a chance with a Barolo on his special dinner. That's my concern in recommending a massive, often tannic, wine that often is not friendly or ready to drink. I've drunk literally thousands of them over 20+ years, mainly in Piemonte but also elsewhere, and the experience I speak of is very common. I'd never want the OP to take the risk.

                                                                                  2. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                    Agreed. I'm dubious about a great Barolo for a beginner, or for that matter paired with rabbit for me.

                                                                                    1. re: emglow101

                                                                                      The first Barolo that was recommended to me at a little wine shop in an alley in Pasadena came with the warning that Barolo was an acquired taste. I tried it and it is a taste I acquired, so much so that I have traveled to the Piemonte every year for over a decade for the wine and food. I would pass on that warning about aged Barolo, another taste I acquired. It is different from younger Nebbiolos. As Maria Lorraine stated, it can be consumed on its own to enjoy the lighter nuances. With food, I enjoy all the Italian Nebbiolos: Barbaresco, Barolo, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo, Roero, Gattinera from the Piemonte and Valtellina from Lombardia.

                                                                                2. The heartless fact-based answer is.... It depends on where you buy it!

                                                                                  I can't drink wine any more (damn it!) because of restrictive life extending medications I'm on (my daughter says, "But Mom, YOU're 80, get over it!) BUT, when I was still a steady imbiber, I sometimes bought cases of wines direct from the vintner and laid them up, I sometimes bought already well aged wines from my wine merchant and might have drank them immediately, and sometimes we bought wine in high end restaurants where we paid $300 for a bottle of wine that I may well have had in the wine rack at home that I bought for anywhere from ten bucks to MAYBE a hundred bucks.

                                                                                  So the honest answer to your question is.... "It depends...."

                                                                                  19 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1


                                                                                    Please do not tell me stories like that. I am approaching that age, but have about 20 year's drinking, just to get my cellar down to something manageable to hand over to a nephew! Now, I am scared, and feel compelled to do 3 btls. per night, minimum, or I will miss my "mark."


                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                      Sounds like you're on the right track then, Bill. My cardiologist, a brilliant physician and scholar, tells me "The best way to stay healthy is to stay away from doctors!". I trust him implicitly!

                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1


                                                                                        I would second that opinion.

                                                                                        I drink my glass of "red wine," and then another, just in case the first one did not "take." I also start with a glass of white wine, to get me ready.

                                                                                        Now, before my annual checkup, I worry about the Foie Gras, and the fried food, but then, I drink my reds!


                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                          Bill, you and I won't live as long as Caroline already has, but all 3 of us have had a hell of a run!

                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                            First, I hope to live much longer.

                                                                                            Then, I want Caroline and you to help me drink my aged Port - not buying any more, as I cannot live long enough to fully enjoy it.

                                                                                            We all need to gather (does Caroline do Cuban cigars?), and drink up what I have collected. If she will don a Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirt, then she is welcome. Gotta' dress for Hunt's Port and cigar evening.


                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                              Caroline has entertained me twice - she is a great cook and immensely entertaining. Not sure about the cigars....

                                                                                              1. re: Veggo


                                                                                                For gatherings at the Hunt abode, here is my thought:

                                                                                                "I was gambling in Havana
                                                                                                I took a little risk
                                                                                                Send lawyers, guns and money
                                                                                                They'll get me out of this,"


                                                                                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                Caroline quit smoking years ago, but just how many is unknown as I'm convinced that remembering when I quit would carry the implied message that it may be time to start again? HOWEVER...! Start again I will! Or at least that is the official plan. I have promised myself a tin of fine Turkish oval cigarettes for my 90th birthday, but admittedly that is looking a bit "iffy." I've looked for them on-line and can't find any that look or sound like they haven't been done in with "globalized" tobacco curing techniques. It may turn out that my much loved highly aromatic and unbelievably mild Turkish tobacco has gone the way of wild-caught Beluga sturgeon in the Black Sea: Treasured memories! So here's a fun piece of trivia for you: In the Turkish language, you do not "smoke" a cigarette, you "drink" a cigarette! Makes sense. Think about it! Turkish is a fun language. '-)

                                                                                                And for the record, in my youth, I smoked cigarettes (for several years I smoked Frappe brand bluish-green cigarettes that matched the color of my Packard (car), then switched to Sobrani Cocktail cigarettes, which are still available, though Frappe and Packards are not). I also smoked a pipe and a hookah, as well as cigars, and I still own my ten inch long genuine tortoise shell cigarette holder, though I tossed my gold Dunhill lighter because it was the one toy that kept me smoking. Cavendish tobaccos were my favorites, and I do love me a well matured vintage port! Hedonist??? Who, me?

                                                                                                My god, I sound decadent... <sigh>. I blame my smoking on the Betty Davis movies of my youth... Anyway, like you, Bill, I plan on being around a while longer, and the generous invitation is much appreciated!

                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                  Wow. What a woman! Full of stories and adventures!

                                                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                    LOL! What are you doing up so late? '-)

                                                                                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                    Caroline, I've never met you, but I love you. You are my inspiration. Please, please, please live to smoke those Turkish cigarettes. And open another pack on your 100th...

                                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                            Bill, please allow me to help out by taking those burdensome Burgundy off your hands ;-)

                                                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                                                              You know, we can share the Burgs! That works.


                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                Spoken like a true gentleman. Let me know the next time you're in LA! We do a couple of burg gatherings very so often.

                                                                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                  Unfortunately, our forays to LA are most often just through LAX, on the way to/from SFO. However, and with that said, my wife does a few meetings in Orange County, per year, so who knows?

                                                                                                  The last time that we spent ANY time in LA, it was at the Hilton LAX, on the way to Sydney. That hotel was hosting something called Dom-Con, and it was, well, let's say, interesting. Wife was on a conference call to the "Sisters," who directed several of her hospitals, and tried to keep a straight face, while watching the Dom-Con goings on. That was tough, but as she grew up in New Orleans, and had been to many Mardi-Gras celebrations, she kept her cool.

                                                                                                  Still, we would like to actually do LA a bit, so we might be back, beyond LAX.


                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                    Perfect. We do half of them in OC anyways. And Playground doesn't charge any corkage. No limits.

                                                                                        2. A "legitimate" $300 bottle of wine tastes like a legitimate $200 bottle of wine, but better. If you haven't decided what a legitimate $200 bottle of wine tastes like to you, then IMHO you should figure that out before shelling out $300. It took me a while to decide what was really worth $100 to me, then $200, then $300 and so on. I've never spent $1,000 on a bottle of wine, but I imagine the day will come when feel the need to drink something from the next level, when I know precisely what I expect it to be, and when that day comes I will eventually have to pull the trigger. That's what wine can do to a person. Unfortunately no bottle of wine is a sure thing, which is what makes the process frustrating and worth it at the same time. Whatever the price, for me, when it's the most expensive bottle I've ever drank, it should be captivating.

                                                                                          1. The most expensive bottle I ever drank was a Ch. Lafite 1961 circa 1990, which was at the time one of the most expensive wines on the market. It was very good but so many California winemakers had used that wine as their model that it tasted to me like a 1985 Napa Cab. (I've tasted more interesting vintages of Lafite since then.)

                                                                                            The best wine I've ever had was a 1959 Ch. Gruaud-Larose I bought circa 1983 for $35. I paid more for another bottle a few years later but it was no longer at its peak.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                              It was released at $36/cs wholesale ($4.50 retail). Got 6.

                                                                                            2. It is all relative. Some taste great, some taste so so. What makes them worth the price is whether they are worth it to you. Is it worth $300 to drink a bottle of wine that was properly aged, is 20 years old, and they only made 200 cases of it in the first place? You have to decide.

                                                                                              I don't normally drink $300 wines (I have, and will do so again) but what they taste like depends a lot on the type (after all, there are great differences between a Ridge Monte Bello and a second growth from the left bank) the vintage, how it was stored, etc.

                                                                                              Asking what a $300 bottle of wine tastes like is like asking what wine tastes like. I've had some $50 bottles that I liked better than $300 bottles in side by side blind tastings, but then I've had some exquisite bottles of wine that cost a bundle and blew away everything they were against in the same type of blind tastings.

                                                                                              In a recent tasting we tasted the following wines blind.

                                                                                              1996 Joseph Phelps Backus
                                                                                              1989 Palmer
                                                                                              1989 Mouton Rothschild
                                                                                              2002 Verite Le Desir
                                                                                              2004 Peter Michael Les Pavots
                                                                                              2006 Abreu Madrona Ranch
                                                                                              2001 Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer To-Kalon (WOTN)
                                                                                              2006 Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer To-Kalon
                                                                                              2007 The Treat (# 2 of the evening)

                                                                                              As you can see, some very expensive wines, but the number 2 wine of the night cost $75, easily one of the the least expensive wines of the group.

                                                                                              Were they worth $300 (and some of those wines would cost you that or more to purchase now, even if they didn't cost that much when they first were released and I would be amazed to find most of them on a wine list for less than that) it is up to you to decide. But if you can afford them and have the desire to drink them, they are worth having once in a while.

                                                                                              1. Little of this topic is actually describing what a $300 bottle of wine would taste like, but my usual comment is that a REALLY GOOD bottle will (and this is a very dated statement) 'roll your socks down'. That can happen, for me anyway, at any price but usually the rolling doesn't begin until $35 or so.

                                                                                                I think there's some proof of that in the latest issue of Wine Spectator magazine's Cabernet ratings article. I don't have the issue in front of me, but I think the top 5 wines all got 96 point ratings. Bottle prices, however, ranged from $125 to $850. One point below (at 95, I think) was a wine priced at around $80. I'm not suggesting that Wine Spectator is the be-all and end-all of sources, but that's a revealing range.

                                                                                                So................... price is really not all that much of a guarantee.

                                                                                                1. Another thing to consider is the age of the bottle. $300 may buy you something that was just released, or something that did not cost $300 upon release, but now if goes for such. For the most part, if you are buying something for $300 upon release, you won't be drinking it anytime soon as it won't be ready or even close to its prime drinking window. (Note that I say for the most part.)

                                                                                                  On the other hand, rarity often drives up the price of a bottle, especially on the secondary market. Wines that were "reasonably priced" upon release, but got very high scores or lots of buzz may be very expensive now. For example, a 2007 Kosta Browne 4-Barrel released (on allocation) for $72. Recently I have seen it going for $275-300 retail and much, much more on a wine list.