A well-researched exploration of an often-overlooked sector of the international wine business: bargain wines.
We are living in “the golden age of wine,” writes Taber (In Search of Bacchus, 2009, etc.), an assertion most easily proven by the abundance of high-quality, inexpensive wines on store shelves today. New producers in the industry such as Australia, Chile and the United States have increased global competition; as a result, wines at the low end of the price spectrum (specifically $10 or less) have improved greatly over the past few decades. Taber begins by dispelling the myth that expensive wine is automatically better by relating a few stories of red-faced wine tasters and some of their epic blunders throughout history. He goes on to target the “gold medals” and other awards given to wines at various tasting festivals. The verdict: So-called “wine experts” are inconsistent at best, and what one deems gold-medal quality, another could deem unpalatable. The author encourages amateur wine enthusiasts to trust their own taste, go with what they like and not be too concerned with experts and awards. Taber shines brightest in the book’s second half, an exhaustive guide to bargain wines broken down by style and region.
A must-read for wine enthusiasts, especially those on a budget.