Every so often we read or hear that in a blind tasting a cheaper wine has outscored a much more expensive one. It can happen, of course. There are some wines from 5€ which, comparatively, have nothing to envy one of 20€. But that still does not mean that many of the wines that cost 20 or 30 or 100 euros are not worth the extra cost.
So, is the quality always appropriate compared to the price? For example, a study published in the spring of 2008 by the Journal of Wine Economics, where 506 people participated (12% of which were knowledgeable in the field) concluded that regular consumers are not familiar with the art of how to best value wines with lower price, while the connoisseurs made a better judgement between the price and the quality of the wine.
As you might understand from the study, there are some qualities of the wine valued better if you have more knowledge of wine, but the average consumers do not have the sufficient knowledge to properly value the different wines. But if one has a certain degree of inside on the subject itself, one can value more objectively and according to the price it has. Thus, we could deduce that the more expertise you have about wine the more some specific qualities are appreciated, without detracting your personal taste (at the end the most important thing is that you drink the wine you like and that you enjoy it).
Beyond studies and knowledge, and as David Williams explains in an article recently published in The Guardian, the price of wine can also be explained with issues of taxes, the cost of land or marketing, all elements necessary for the wine to reach our tables.
To begin with, the more expensive a wine is, the more VAT tax levied on it and this input itself will be raising the price. However, if it is less expensive, less VAT is added. Then there is the issue of land prices: in places like Burgundy or French Champagne region, the land prices are astronomical, the most expensive in the world by far. So this also affects the final price of the product.
Moreover, we can not forget that there are processes more expensive than others, which require more hands and more time processing and therefore more investment. If a producer selects the best grapes from the bad before and during harvest and also makes it manually, you must pay more than others that combine grapes and get a higher volume. And, as a result, you will notice in the price (and most likely in quality).
So it makes sense to think that most of the time a higher priced wine has features that increase its value, without implying that the wines of lower prices should be avoided. On the contrary, the best thing is being able to enjoy a wine considering the occasion and valuing it within its range. Because … we do not always want to eat caviar, do we? Well, the same concept can be applied to wine.
El Molar 2015: a red wine from Jumilla produced by Propiedad Vitícola Casa Castillo that is based on 2015 garnacha and has an alcohol content of 15%.
La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 2005: a red wine from Rioja with the best graciano and tempranillo grapes from the 2005 vintage and has an alcohol content of 13%.