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International Wine Value


#1

Does anyone else consider, speaking generalities, that some countries offer better value than others (on prices in UK, not locally).
For instance if I buy a £10 bottle of Chilean wine, am I likely to get an equally good bottle of French or New Zealand wine for £10, or is it probable that a French wine wine of similar quality would cost perhaps £12, and NZ maybe £13.
Or to put it another way, if I buy £10 bottles of wine from all the different wine-producing countries, could I expect to get better bottles from a certain country or countries? Personally I think Chile and South Africa offer very good value, but perhaps I’m kidding myself and my £10 will simply get £10 worth of wine from anywhere in the world?
Hope this is making some sort of sense!


#2

It’s a great question …but I think it would come down to what an individual would perceive as “value”.

You can’t get a bottle of red burgundy for £10 so some may see a £25 bottle as amazing value. Whilst on the flip they would consider the £8 on a NZ sauvignon as money badly spent and therefore terrible value as its not to their taste.

Having a monetary ‘stake in the ground’ for a region is not a bad move - Find a wine you like at a price you consider to be good value and use it as the benchmark at which you rate others.


#3

Mmm. It was difficult to try to explain my thoughts, and still is actually. Taking a £25 Burgundy example, I suppose what I’m wondering is could you get an NZ pinot noir that most people would enjoy as much for perhaps £20, or a Chilean PN for perhaps £15. Of course someone who is only interested in Burgundy might not agree.
Or do I need a sort of Robot Robert (Parker) Palate to make comparisons?

South Africa has some excellent “Bordeaux” blends that I think are much better value than many actual Bordeaux blends. But yes, maybe to a real connoisseur, they’re just not the same.

I think I’m going in circles with this!


#4

What an interesting question … I do believe there is value in the under marketed wines and within western Europe I think Spain and Portugal have a lot to offer in terms of value , but more the lesser known or understood regions . I also believe you quite often need to buy direct from Spanish or Portuguese merchants to avail of the “best” value!
That aside, the newer Eastern block countries are proving that they can make exceptional wines at extremely affordable prices . I do think it’s a shame that wines from the US are priced in a way that really we don’t see value at that £10-£15 price point and really wonder why when line you said SA can deliver in that bracket. All economics and S&D .


#5

It’s a tricky one and probably depends on budget as well as potential of that country. Let’s say Chile has lots of 90 pt wines for £15 and France has £95 pt wines for £50. Probably Chile is better value for most people, but if you can afford France then Chile isn’t really worth bothering with, as the priority is to drink the best wines rather than the best on a £ per point basis.


#6

I think it also depends on wines that are exported and those that are sold within the country - I know if I go over to France I can get some very good table wine for 5 Euros a bottle in a hypermarket and its only sold within France as an example.


#7

Yes, I suppose the question comes down to which, if any, country consistently offers the most points per £.
Then which country offers the highest points regardless of cost is another question.
What I was thinking as I lay in bed this morning was what is the best bottle of wine I could get for £15. Various wines came to mind but no real conclusion as yet.


#8

You know you’re obsessed with wine when… :wink:


#9

Looking at my CellarTracker tasting notes, in my experience the candidates would be Australia, Italy and Portugal. France is the clear winner of the question “which country consistently offers the most points (full stop)” but I’m more likely to spend £30+ on a bottle of French wine.


#10

My favourite wine under £15 that I’ve had recently (2010 vintage) - delicious


#11

I think to take the Pinot Noir comparison that @Andy999 mentioned. By and large New Zealand and Chile Pinot just taste different to burgundy. They also taste different from each other both across the world and in different regions etc. As does burgundy across the Cote D’Or. Very little that we buy now is actively bad wine.

Maybe your question is “which is the most to my taste £15 bottle?”

Having said that, there are areas/countries which offer more bangs for your buck. I’d think Chile and South Africa would be on my short list at the moment. You can’t discount the lesser areas of the big European three. France, Italy and Spain.


#12

Even within a country like France, you can find “value” if you know what to look for on specific regions. For example, I am happy to drink certain very well made Loire reds instead of some overpriced Burgundies. I find some of the Languedoc reds to be of excellent value - there are some terrific cabernet based wines being done there (and it’s not even a recent trend - it’s been going on for decades). You cannot go wrong with a good Picpoul if you like a brisk white wine, and pricing usually tends to be very reasonable. I could go on endlessly.


#13

I’m all about maximising the quality/price ratio on the wine I buy, and my happiest hunting grounds have already been mentioned here several times - Chile (and South American in general - Argentina and Uruguay shouldn’t be ignored), South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Eastern Europe, parts of Italy etc. Australia and New Zealand are probably in the conversation as well but I don’t tend to buy too much from there so can’t really comment. I wouldn’t discount France from the equation altogether, as I think there’s great value to be found in regions like Beaujolais, Languedoc, Roussillon, even the Loire (which, along with Germany, I’d probably pick as the best place to go shopping for vaguely Burgundy-esque PN - they’re not the same by any means, but closer in style than NZ or Chilean PN).

As for the best wines you can get for £15, I would have had the Weinert Cabernet on the list but it’s now unavailable. Probably the best I’ve had recently was the 2015 vintage of this:

And for a white it’s probably this:


#14

Get those olives and fried almonds out…


#15

I totally agree on both counts. If we agree that price does not always indicate excellence, then there are many areas in Europe alone where great value can be found. Reds from the Loire are a fine example, but areas such as Bierzo and Navarra in Spain, Languedoc-Roussillon in France, pretty much the whole of Portugal and now Eastern Europe too - all offer great value for money, for most styles of wine. Perhaps it’s the best time to be drinking wine in general, for sheer variety, quality and choice…?


#16

@Andyf1980 - Great question, but it’s one that only you can answer as only you can judge whether a wine offers value.

For instance, you mention Chile. Yes they offer very good quality at a low price, so why don’t I buy them? Because they don’t excite me. If a pub offers Sauvignon Blanc yu know its from Chile because it’s cheap for the pub to buy, but however well made it is, it seems knind of dull to me, I’d rather pay more for a racy NZ SB. But if one doesn’t like the overtness of NZ SB then one might find Chile SB to be excellent and great value.

@JamesF - the honour of being the clever dickey fall to me:


#17

France is an interesting country as, if you look, there are bargains even in some of the more popular areas - I can’t recall having a better wine from anywhere for under £11 than this fabulous Rhone, for example:


#18

I agree and gave this as a Christmas gift this year.
The other was a languedoc Viognier which was super too.


#19

In my opinion, Wine Society wines are good value in general but some areas of the globe, their wines are definitely better value compared to other suppliers. France is the best example whereas Chile and South Aftica tend to be good value accross the board in UK wine suppliers and supermarkets. Quality x price ratio of WS French wines is outstanding, look at the number of mid-priced wines that Jancis Robinson includes from time to time on FT or her website.


#20

Hi Andy… and thank-you for one of the best ever questions in the forum !
Keeping to ‘generalities’ I would certainly go for South Africa and South America (mainly Chile).
Each country can have their exceptional hidden value gems depending on personal preferences. I love the way your question has brought these ‘hidden value gems’ out.
I’m looking forward to hearing more of these !
I hope members share some more of these …