Felix Salmon

Wine: the price of the unknown

By Felix Salmon
October 21, 2009

How many people, when looking at a wine list, would spend $80 on a timorasso, or $90 for sagrantino? (No, I’ve never heard of them either.) According to Stephen Mancini, the 28-year-old wine director for Union Square Cafe, as channeled by Ryan Flinn, it’s a sizeable number: “drinkers are apt to try something they’ve never heard of if it’s less than $100″.

It’s good news that wine drinkers and restaurant goers are adventurous, of course. But is $100 really a “worth a try to see what it’s like” price point these days?

6 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

“But is $100 really a “worth a try to see what it’s like” price point these days?”

Yes, because in Manhattan a $50 wine is guaranteed to be swill .

Posted by maynardGkeynes | Report as abusive

Welp, the internet merchants have this Timorasso at $20-$25 and the Sagrantino at $15-$30.

It’s nice they don’t gouge too badly.

http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/sagran tino/1/usa


To experience the best things in life you must take chances. Mae West understood that “when it comes to a choice between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven’t tried before”. Especially when you are at a restaurant with a reliable sommelier you will certainly get a quality wine and it may surprise you and become a favorite. When you go to a dance you don’t know who will be the best partner until you dance with him. A good hedonist loves encountering new experiences that he might enjoy!!!

Posted by Justeen Ward | Report as abusive

As long as they’ve read the retirement book, “A Million Is Not Enough,” they can choose an $80-100 wine. If on the other hand, they are the average American with a too small retirement account, and excessive debt … get real.

And remember that $80-100 is about ten guests at a nice ethnic restaurant.


BTW, I liked the “not enough” book as a caution, without buying the non-Bogle investment advice.


Uncle Billy, Sagrantino is a type of grape (and wine), not a specific wine. And yes, some of them are quite expensive. Not trying to justify the price, just correcting the facts.

Posted by Aunt Jemima | Report as abusive

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