What a dumb question that is, right? Of course you have, we all have at one time or another. Well, that’s what happened to me.
Knowing as you do, or should, my affinity (no, I’m not going to say “that’s a different wine”) towards Sauvignon Blanc, therein lies the source of my disappointment. Now I’m not disenchanted with Sauvignon Blanc mind you, no, at least not with the grape. This has to do more with the availability and price of the finished wine.
So a short time ago I get in the mail my latest copy of one of the monthly wine magazines to which I subscribe. Always interesting articles, but something catches my eye almost as soon as I scan the front cover; somewhere lying deep within the pages of this issue they are going to tell me which Sauv Blancs to buy! Needing VERY LITTLE motivation, I find the awaiting article along with what I know will include a listing of some of their favorites and consequently, and most probably, mine as well.
I won’t bore you with the details of the article itself, except to say they extolled the virtues (like I need convincing) of the grape and wines that hale from various regions within California. So let’s move on to the “THE LIST.”
Depending upon how much of a fanatic you are about Sauv Blanc, you might know that there are many a name that sell for well over $50 a bottle. On a recent trip to a wine shop, I came across a French Sauv Blanc from the Loire Valley from Didier Dagueneau that was selling for $125.00! Never had it, probably never will. Anyway, of the wines listed, all scored 90 points or above. Maybe half of the wines I had heard of, the others, not so much.
One in particular, whose name is synonymous with exceptional quality, was Peter Michael. Their 2017 Knights Valley L 'Après-Midi. Peter Michael wines are usually only available through their winery membership and highly allocated to boot. Once in a great while, you may find a wine of theirs on a shelf, but rarely. I’ve always wanted to try his wines. The Cabs can be fairly pricey, so maybe this Sauv Blanc will provide a good starting point?
The listing in the magazine shows a price (I’m guessing winery list) of $64. Still high for a Sauv Blanc, but now they’ve pretty much convinced me that I need to try this wine (was not a hard sell), I then convince myself that as a once in a lifetime (or what’s left of it) wine, it’s worth it.
This was important because I remembered that just a day or so before I was in this wine shop and remember seeing the wine ON THE SHELF! Luck has turned in my favor, I can feel it. Not wanting to change my mind at spending the money, I hurried away and drove to the shop. I knew just where the wine was waiting, lying in wait for my hands to wrap around that exquisite bottle and almost as hurried for me to get back home and caress my prize. I’m a man on a mission.
But as so many plans have been born of mistaken information, my plans were to suffer the same consequences. I stand in front of the shelf with the wine nestled in its crib-like mantelpiece, calling for me to reach out and take my prize. A glance, nay, a whisper of light shines just below. It reads
My ardor turns to sadness and gloom, how can this be? I stand there in silence, thinking what did I miss? Could the magazine be wrong? Was the wine priced correctly? I hastened to a representative and asked if they could double-check the price, indicating I thought the price should be much much lower. My sadness turns to despair as they verify that it does indeed sell for $99.99. Too much for me to take, I gather myself and, dejectedly, return to my auto.
Once back home I need to find out “what the heck!” Not those exact words. Sure enough, the magazine says $64. A quick check of online prices gives me a wide range, but they start in the mid $60, as I would think they should. The winery doesn’t list a price unless you’re a member, but from everything so far, I’m guessing the $64 is pretty close. So now what?
Having been on the retail side, there are potentially a few things that could play into this inflated price. Before going any further, let me make this clear; I am NOT making any accusations towards anyone, just trying to think of the possible reasons for this price discrepancy.
No matter what, or who, raised the price, having spent 40 years in finance, I begrudge no one on making a profit if they can do it. My guess is that other savvy wine-buyers did cough-up the penny shy of a hundred dollars and bought the wine. My conscience won’t allow me to do likewise. A $35 mark-up, or 55%, is just too high a price to pay, even for a wine that may be well deserved of garnering such a price.
Somewhat crestfallen, I return to the magazine to see if there may be others that I know that I might inquire upon. Two names stand out; Favia and Accendo. Favia, with the highest score and an $85 price tag to match (highest listed price in the magazine article) and Accendo, a couple of points lower with a $60 price. I have some other Favia wines (cabs mostly) but the $85 is getting a little steep for my pocketbook. The Accendo, more along what I was willing to pay for Peter Michael, seems the next logical wine. After all, I met the Araujo’s at an industry tasting back in April of 2018 and even wrote a post about their two wines (one of which was their Sauv Blanc, be it a different vintage).
Either one of these wines is going to be tough to obtain locally. They both are highly regarded and very limited. As mentioned, the Accendo is the lesser-priced wine so I decided to start there. I know the wine rep, so I shoot off an email, indicating I know this may be a “shot-in-the-dark” or even “hail-Mary” play. He returns my email promptly and, as I feared, the wine is ear-marked for restaurants only and may only be available in 3-paks. He tries his best to console me by saying he will inquiry with his manager if there is anything they can do for me (how about a box of tissue?).
So far no response, not that I even expected one, or if I did, would probably be an answer I didn’t want to hear.
As I glance at the magazine article one last time, I see a name on the list that I know I can lay my hands on and is usually quite good; HONIG! Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. Maybe I should listen. NAH!
Shake off that disappointment and get in there and try again. You never know!