I was asked a question by a journalist today:
Our readers want to live vicariously: What does a $30,000 bottle of wine taste like? Do wine experts appreciate them significantly more than, say, a $10,000 bottle of wine? If not, what exactly is one paying for at that level? Do ultra-expensive bottles of wine generally delight or disappoint once they are uncorked?
Once you get to this price level, you are entering a different world of wine appreciation. You are paying for age and rarity. Yes, the wines have to be excellent, but with old, rare wine, the liquid in the bottle is only part of the story. It’s a world where much of the interest lies in the back story – the history of the wine, and its perceived value in the eye of the collectors. I have tried many old, rare and incredibly valuable wines. They have frequently been profound experiences. But they might not have been profound experiences if I’d drunk them blind, without knowing their origins. For sure, I might have raved about the qualities of the wine – the elegance, the complexity, the amazing flavours that develop with age. But it’s only once the identity of the wine is revealed that I can be sure that it is truly a special, remarkable wine.