QPR. Ever heard of it?
QPR stands for Quality to Price Ratio. It's a term I rarely see used by professional reviewers, more so by those who wish to give a wine one last designation to let you know if, in their eyes, the wine is worth the money you have to pay for it. While it is generally used to describe how lower end wines taste as compared to their higher-end counterparts, it can also be used to identify overpriced wines versus their quality.
In my eyes, and I will admit to interjecting this ratio without actually using the acronym, this is as much individually meaningful as the taste of wine itself. It's also behind the biggest question I get about high-end wines; "Is the wine worth it?" The answer has always been the same; "Only if you think so."
So what does this all have to do with this week's "Wine of the Week?" I know, here's where I tell you that I'm going to tell you, right. Well, not this time! Wait, I have to tell you or this doesn't make any sense. So the "Wine of the Week" this week is
Faust Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
In truth, Faust, like so many other wines, especially from Cali, have seen their price rise if not year after year, maybe see a big jump after no increases for a time. No one likes higher prices, but conditions require it. With so many factors that go into wine production, the price determination needs to be considered from year to year. Labor costs, barrels, marketing to name just a few.
As a consumer, and as my time as a wine buyer, it is a tough decision to buy a wine in a new vintage that will require you to raise the shelf price, especially if it is a considerable increase. While a modest 5% increase isn't so bad, those bigger jumps, over say 20%, can make a wine less marketable. Wine drinkers, by nature, reminisce about how this wine or that sold for so much less only a couple years ago and that remembrance can make the difference in the decision to buy the new vintage, regardless of quality. What's even more interesting is that that same wine buyer might switch to a new brand, one they are less familiar, and have no qualm about paying whatever its price. They may not realize that new brand may have had a recent similar price jump. Brings to mind the phrase "Ignorance is bliss." So no one gets all upset at that phrase, I'm not calling wine drinkers ignorant. I'm saying that the lack of knowledge makes folks more comfortable with the situation as I have been describing.
Have I become too sensitive about things as well? Wouldn't want a bunch of hate mail to start rolling in from wine drinkers who think I'm calling them ignorant. A l t h o u g h, just getting mail, period, would be nice.
So back to Faust. I bring this QPR thing up as I recently had a chance to taste the 2015 Vintage of this wine. For those not familiar, this is made by the same winery that makes Quintessa, a high-end blend Cabernet selling around $175.00 a bottle, both of which are owned by the Huneeus Family of Wines. I did a review of Quintessa that you can read here. Faust was a second label and was only a smidge below the quality of their Quintessa wine. The big difference was that back when I was buying Faust, admittedly maybe 3 years ago, the price you could acquire the wine for was usually under $40. That brings up the obvious question, "So what does it sell for these days?" Prices range in the $55 to $60 area. A considerable jump in the price.
As usual, if I were answering or addressing the question of price and quality, I would say that "it's worth it if you think it is." Don't you like how good I am at riding the fence on things like this? Here, though, brings me to my review of the wine. It is important to note that Quintessa and Faust are made to be much more Bordeauxesque. Meaning drier and earthier. If you expect a mouthful of fruit, you'll be disappointed. What you do get, along with those earlier notes, is a full rich and deeply concentrated wine. Nice tannins to take you through to a long lingering finish. It was a wonderful wine and trying to eradicate price from the equation for the moment, I would say that the wine is worth its price.
Add to that a barrel sample review by Wine Advocate at (92 - 94) and an outstanding 95 Point review by another reviewer (I don't subscribe, so I can't use their name), solidifies the price.
It's always difficult to see price increases, but how many times a day do we sit and ponder what something sold for "back in the days." Okay, you Millenials, you don't have that problem, it's just old timers like me.
Bottom line, the 2015 Faust Cabernet is a solid, well-built wine at a good price, I'd say great price, but even I am affected by the past. Besides, I know other wines that sell for the same or more and are of similar quality (my opinion). The wine should be widely available as well. Click here for tech sheet.