Did you ever notice how often the lower priced item is better than the higher priced similar item? I don't just mean that there is parity in quality between two products. I mean the lower priced one is actually better. (Yeah, I know it's all subjective.) I think we all track this stuff to one extent or another and maybe not obsessively but maybe out of the corner of our eye, so to speak, we notice that it sometimes seems to be the case.
Recently a customer accidentally got a case of the reserve version of Maggio Petite Sirah here and returned it. I apologized and ordered the correct one but also tasted the reserve and it was clearly inferior to the regular Petite. Another customer bought a bottle of Badiolo Chianti in the fiasco (straw basket) bottle and a bottle of the Badiolo Reserve Chianti. He reported that the basket Chianti was better. That just defies reason...but I don't doubt this customer.
One Friday night here we had a half dozen California Cabernets on the tasting table and the lowest priced bottle seemed to be the best of the show. I have not failed to keep that one in stock here since that tasting. Stop in if you want to try it.
There are certain products which are institutionally set up to offer a better deal if you buy the lower priced thing. Non-vintage Champagne comes to mind where the Champagne house will blend vintages together to achieve a style and quality level that is representative of who the Champagne house thinks they are. If a vintage year is declared it may be better than the non-vintage blend but it may not. I am not a Port lover but I wonder if that situation may be similar.
This being a recessionary time, non-historical labels appear on store shelves containing wines that were ticketed for a higher price point but contracts get broken in times like these and new and unusual labels appear with superior surplus juice. We blogged about Bridesmaid Napa Red Blend here on September 14th and I wonder whether that one wasn't a case in point. Actually, recessions produce all kinds of bargains that reflect the need to dispense higher priced juice at lower prices because the pricier labels just aren't selling and that's certainly good news for the consumer.
Read the Tilsit cheese blogpost just before this one for a cheese counterpart to this discussion.
Please join us Friday October 4th between 5 and 7pm as we explore more red wines and what may be the finest white wine in the place. For a review of the white go to blogpost 7/8/13.