Monday, March 15, 2021

How much does the Wine Curmudgeon's world overlap with mine?

The answer, surprisingly, seems to be: about one-third. Read on, to see how I arrived at this conclusion.

Jeff Siegel (the Wine Curmudgeon) has announced that he has now gone underground — as from today, his blog will forever be behind a subscriber-only paywall. Financially, one can hardly blame him, because a freely available web-site is no way to make a living.

Not unexpectedly, however, this move has engendered a few negative comments from some of his audience, giving various reasons for not paying up. The one that is particularly relevant to me is this:
Several readers noted they wouldn’t be moving to the paid version of the blog because it was difficult finding many of the wines I review.

For me, this is a no-brainer. The collection of wines available in the USA and in Sweden do not necessarily overlap too much. This also applies to other non-Swedish web-sites about value-for-money wines, of course (eg. Reverse Wine Snob in the USA, Best Wines Under $20 from Australia) — see my post on Finding inexpensive wines.

So, wine availability is a big issue, if a wine site is solely about recommending wines. Fortunately, most wine blogs do mention other things along the way; and it will be a pity for me to lose the Wine Curmudgeon's broader insights.

While pondering this issue, it occurred to me to find out just how many inexpensive wines might actually overlap between the Curmudgeon's world and my own. So, I sat down with his listing of the 2021 $10 Wine Hall of Fame (plus some other bits and pieces). This list has c. 70 recommended wines that cost in the vicinity of 10 bucks:
I considered wines that cost as much as $13 or $14 to take into account price creep and regional pricing differences.
I then went through the online catalog of my local liquor chain (Systembolaget), looking for these wines as best I could (the names are not always exactly the same). I actually did not do too badly, as listed below.

There are 13 wines that would (just) fit the Curmudegeon's criterion:
  • Château Bonnet Rouge, 2018 $14
  • Château Bonnet Blanc, 2020 $11
  • Rosé de Bonnet, 2019 $13
  • Matua Organic Sauvignon Blanc, 2020 $13
  • Domaine du Tariquet Classic, 2017 $10
  • El Coto Crianza, 2016 $11
  • McManis Viognier, 2019 $12
  • McManis Petite Syrah, 2019 $13
  • d'Arenberg The Stump Jump GSM, 2017 $13
  • La Vieille Ferme Rosé, 2019 $12
  • Marqués de Riscal Rosado, 2019 $12
  • Perelada Cava Stars Brut Organic, 2018 $13
  • Perelada Cava Brut Reserva, nv. $14

Note that the three Bonnet wines have now been deleted from the Curmudgeon's list, because price creep has made them too expensive in the USA (but not in Sweden).

There are also 11 wines that are on his list but are outside the required price range in Sweden:
  • La Valentina Montepulciano d´Abruzzo, 2016 $17
  • Banfi Centine Toscana, 2018 $16
  • Banfi Centine Chardonnay Vermentino, 2018 $16
  • Banfi Centine Rosé, 2018 $16
  • LAN Crianza, 2016 $16
  • McManis Pinot Noir, 2019 $17
  • McManis Cabernet sauvignon, 2019 $17
  • McManis Zinfandel, 2018 $17
  • McManis Chardonnay, 2018 $17
  • Casteller Cava Brut Nature, nv. $16
  • Naveran Brutissime Cava Brut, nv. $18

All in all, these lists are longer than I expected — there appears to be anything up to one-third overlap between the two wine worlds, although prices do vary a lot.

While I will not be able to avail myself of any future Curmudgeon wine reviews, I figure that I could do a lot worse than check all of these listed wines for myself — some of them I already know (and I agree with the Curmudgeon's recommendations).

No comments:

Post a Comment