The Best Value in Wine

For a long time I’ve believed they are the best wine value in the world. I still believe that.

Australia’s Non-vintage sweet Tokays and Muscat are extraordinary wines. These sweet golden wines made in the solera style. Magnificently intense, exotically spiced with nutty, raisiny, brown sugar, tangerine flavors and a nose that always keeps me from draining my glass so that I’ve something to return to. They are smooth and creamy yet able to wash down the rich dessert.

Nearly all the stickies in this category sell in the United States for between $14 and $20 for a half bottle. It is an amazing trick. Some of the best are made by


These fortified wines define value. Value must mean the feeling that you acquired something that far exceeded your expectations given what you paid and given what you normally acquire for the price. By definition, a great value wine is rare.

It’s great value that most wine lovers really seek out. It’s what keeps them moving from one possibility to the next. It’s what keeps them coming back to that wine they discovered that far outstripped the expectation they had when they first tasted it.

What’s interesting about the notion of "value" is that it is a concept completely divorced from price. And it must be, as well as should be. Our own expectations for a wine are personal. Many of us would find it impossible, for example, to call a $1500 bottled of Domaine De La Romanee Conti a value. Let’s face it, finding great value in 750 ml. bottle of fluid that costs the same as a luxurious weekend getaway isn’t likely.

Yet, such a wine can and is a value for some. Some will be overwhelmed with the experience that comes with tasting a wine they’ve waited years to taste, then be taken aback with the astounding quality of this Burgundy. They will call the wine, at that price, a great value. And they will be correct because what they got for the money completely overtook their expectations for the experience.

The sweet, fortified Australian Muscats and Tokays are wines I keep coming back to. Not too often though because part of what I like about drinking them is the first shock at just how good they really are. Too much of them and the shock will wear off. I don’t want that little epiphany to be diluted and removed from the experience.

I don’t want the best value in wine to be minimized at all.

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