We all know the difference between a cheap and a bottle of expensive wine. We have all experienced both in our lives, whether we wanted to or not. Here we will see the differences and the benefits of expensive vs cheap wine.
1. The Price
Expensive wines are usually better than cheap wines. This is because the grapes are grown in a more natural way, their vines are left to mature for longer, they have less use of chemicals and, generally speaking, the best winemakers tend to produce expensive wine. It should be said that there are some good quality wines being made cheaply, so this rule should not be taken as gospel, but if you want an insight into what “good” tastes like it’s probably best to pay up. When reviewing Scout cellar wines, we can see that there are also clean wines that taste good, but for a slightly less expensive price tag. Scout cellar wines are both clean and organic wines.
Tannins are the taste of dry red wine and the higher the quality of the wine. This is because high-quality wines are high in polyphenols, which help give red wine its bitter taste and astringent feel on the tongue. High-quality wines contain a lot of these phenolics, and they can actually be good for you: they have been linked to all kinds of benefits, such as protecting against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. While we can get dried fruit, spice, and chocolate tasting notes from high-quality wines, we will get more vegetable/leaf flavors from cheap ones. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule but if you want something that is going to be very smooth with soft tannins go for the expensive option.
Higher quality wines usually have higher alcohol content. This is because they are often fermented for longer at lower temperatures, which extracts more of the sugar from the fruit and converts it to alcohol. If you like sweeter wines, look out for them on the wine list; this means spending a bit more money could get you exactly what you want. Similarly, if you prefer your wine more acidic then opt for something that tastes more tart rather than sweet as there is less sugar in these types of wine. With cheap wines the opposite would generally be true; since they are made quickly with little time allowed for fermentation there will be fewer phenolics so sweeter tasting fruits such as peach or apricot will predominate. Alcohol levels tend to be lower in cheap wines, too, so you will likely feel the effects more quickly.
4. Grape Variety
The price can also be affected by the grape variety. If you like Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon wines try looking at the most expensive wines in your wine list, these are usually made from premium grapes with higher margins per bottle. If you are more of a Pinot Noir or Merlot fan, then cheaper bottles can still taste good, but you may have to search among the more modestly-priced ones like [Portuguese wine, which has a distinctive wine taste from Portuguese grape varietals.]
Some regions are known for making very specific styles of grape. For example, in France, they produce predominantly Burgundy which has high-quality standards set by French law so if it says “Bourgogne” on the bottle then you know what you’re getting is automatically going to be good quality. The price range will also vary according to the region — some regions are simply more expensive to produce wine in. For example, Nerello Mascalese grapes are expensive to grow compared with the likes of Merlot or Pinot Noir because they are both difficult and labor-intensive.
6. Wine Taxes
If your wine comes with a hefty price tag, then you can be sure that it is not only good quality but also good value for the producer. In the US, this is often due to high wine taxes, which can add a significant portion to a bottle’s price tag. In Europe, the situation is different, with some countries imposing tariffs on imported wines while others do not (Spain and Portugal levy import duties, for example). Generally, it will be the most expensive regions in these countries that are excluded from tax; this means you can get something of great quality at an affordable price.
There are many factors that determine whether a wine is expensive or cheap, but if you want to get the best-tasting experience, it’s probably worth paying up. This is because cheaper wines do not benefit from long maturation and better winemaking techniques that can really make a difference in the taste of a wine.