With summer has come the return of the Wine for the Rest of Us Friday Night Blind tastings, and they continue to underscore our contention that price has very little correlation to wine enjoyment. That said, our first of the season found the pricier red and white wines edging their affordable counterparts as favorites of the tasting panel, if only by the slightest fraction of a star.
Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir Carneros 2012, which costs $25 a bottle ($24.99 at Rodman’s to be exact) beat out Mandolin Pinot Noir Monterey 2012, which costs half as much, yet by the paper-thin margin of just 3/100 of a star. The $25 Mondavi earned an average rating of 2.81 stars from our tasting panel of casual wine drinkers, compared to Mondolin’s 2.78-star average. Both earned a solid score on the Wine for the Rest of Us five-star scale:
* Yuk, where’s the spit bucket?
** Drinkable, but I don’t need another taste, thanks. …
*** I like this, please fill my glass.
**** I love it; I’d buy a bottle if it’s less than $20.
***** This one’s a ringer; what’s this $35 bottle doing at this two-bit tasting?
But does an extra 0.03 of a star really merit twice the price?
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Rob Garretson is an award-winning journalist, who remembers the bottle of Burgundy that converted him from a wine drinker to a wine enthusiast. He maintains a 400-bottle wine cellar in his home outside of Washington, DC, yet upwards of 350 of those bottles cost $9.99 or less.