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Monday, August 28, 2017



A headline I spotted the other day reminded me of an incident many years ago.

"Wine tastes better if you think it's expensive, says study"

Years ago, my good friend, Frog, visited the cranky home and brought with him a bottle of Merlot.  This bottle was a gift he had recently received and he was assured it was a very good wine, as a matter of fact it was a $30 bottle…this when most wines we drank were less than $5 per bottle, and a $1.50 bottle of Boone’s Farms Finest was more than acceptable.

It was with much anticipation that we sampled this $30 bottle of fine wine.

“Mmmm, that is really good…I think.

“It is different, a little dry perhaps.”

“Yes, that’s it, very dry and with a hint of fruity acidity.”

“Do you want another glass?”

“Oh no, I think I’ll just savor this, that is what you do with a fine wine.”

The truth is, the wine had gone bad.  It was basically vinegar.  That is what can happen to wine, especially older expensive wines.  If they are not maintained correctly they go bad. The reason you get a small test taste at a restaurant is to make sure you have not been served wine that has gone bad.

We never even finished that bottle.  Four people at dinner and the bottle of wine went unfinished…that alone will tell you it had gone bad.

Many years ago, we were not very sophisticated, so we spent a whole meal discussing the wonderful qualities of this fine bottle of wine which tasted like vinegar.

We do tend to judge things by the price. 

I now have my own gauge for the quality of a wine.

1.    Taste

2.    Price

3.    How do I feel in the morning?

When you ask me to rate a wine I cannot do it until the next morning.

If I find a bottle of wine that tastes very good, is under $12 a bottle and I do not have a headache in the morning it is an excellent bottle of wine.

A bottle that costs over $20, darn well better taste great and have me still feeling good in the morning.

A bottle that costs over $30, better taste fantastic and I should be able to get up the next morning and play a round of golf under 90.

If the wine taste bad, it is bad at any price.

If the wine gives you a headache in the morning, it is bad at any price.

Any wine that costs over $40 a bottle simply cannot taste good enough to justify that price.

And that is the cranky wine index…your welcome.


  1. This makes me glad I don't drink wine. My son does and if he doesn't finish a bottle he'll use it up in sauces when cooking, but he's got quite a few near empty bottles that are probably vinegar by now.

  2. I'm finding 2010 Rijos are divine. But they must be 2010 or they aren't divine. Unfortunately you can't really get a 2010 Rijos for under $20, maybe $18.

  3. I am no expert on wine but your rating system sounds good to me.

  4. This works for me. Should be published in one of those wine lover magazines.

  5. My favorite topic! So much of wine preference is individual taste and personal preference. I've tasted $100 bottles that I didn't care for and I've tasted $100 bottles of red that were so smooth, you could understand the price tag. Like you, $40 is my limit for a bottle and $40 is my limit for a tasting flight at a winery where I might get to try some pricier bottles.

  6. Good rating system! (Even though I just have to smell the 'bouquet' to get a little snookered)

  7. I don't think you need to spend a lot of money either. I'm with you on this.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  8. I usually can't bring myself to spend more than $20 for a bottle of wine, unless it's a magnum. And my palate isn't usually discriminating enough to tell the difference between a $20 bottle and a $40 bottle, anyway. . .

    When I was 16 or so, my dad went on a brief Boone's Farm kick (God only knows why). So one day, I managed to talk him into letting me have a glass. As I drank it, I kept thinking, "if this is wine, I really don't see what people like so much about it." Still, I didn't want to let on, so I asked him for another glass, which was just as bad as the first one. So I was thinking that it must just be one of those 'taste' things where you have to learn to appreciate it, like coffee had been for me. As I got to the bottom of the second glass, I told Dad (probably as much wishful thinking as anything else), "I think I'm starting to like this." And Dad said, "OK, you've had enough. . ."

  9. Funny about the deep discussion of vinegar. Haven't had a drink since 1976 but I do remember those Boone's Farm days. They were low cost fun times. Don't think we ever discussed bouquet.

  10. Sweetie only drinks the one glass with dinner so he never wakes with a headache. He knows there are great bottles for lower prices and awful ones for higher prices. He knows what he likes, too.

  11. I like cheap wine and don't want to train my palate so I'm unhappy with wine that costs less than thirty bucks a bottle.

  12. I don't know a thing about wine. But I'd say you paid too much for that vinegar.

  13. Omgosh. Totally forgot about Boone's Farm and I think it's still a buck fifty! I absolutely agree with your wine index. I don't care how much it cost or how trendy it is, if it tastes horrible and makes your head throb the next day, I'm not drinking it. - I recently found a Huckleberry wine that is absolutely wonderful if you like a sweet wine, which I do. I'm sticking with it. It's like a giant wine cooler with more alcohol content. :)

  14. I ythink my palate is dead, which is OK with me!!

  15. I don't understand anything about wine, but if it's sweet and read and less than $10, it's on my "like" list. Bonus points for a cute, clever label.