Sunday, April 2, 2023 Apr 2, 2023
72° F Dallas, TX


Grape Expectations
By Victor Wdowiak |

Don’t expect any miracles, but a bit of common sense seems to be creeping into the wine marketplace. While everything else bearing a price tag is caught in the worldwide inflation spiral, wine seems to be leveling off.

If our analysis is correct, you can look forward to an increasing number of exciting bargains in the months to come. With the cooperation of five of Dallas’ leading spirits’ merchants, we discovered 10 fine wines beautifully priced. Some, in fact, must be considered fantastic bargains.

There are a number of complex reasons for this turn-about in the national and international wine situation, and they all revolve around economics. Foremost, perhaps, is that a consumer revolt has resulted in swollen inventories overseas. This, in addition to coming overproduction in the California vineyards.

These factors, and others of lesser significance here, will work to the benefit of the consumer. Quality should remain constant, perhaps even improve, while prices level off, perhaps even decrease a bit. All this means you should be alert for some good-for-the-money wines.

To help you get started, we recently brought together a panel of your peers and offered them tastes of 30 wines provided by leading liquor retailers – A&A’s Chateau branch (Highland Park Village), Centennial, Red Coleman’s, Marty’s and Sigel’s. Representatives of each submitted six wines they considered to be “great value” wines from on hand inventories.

Tasting and rating by our 30 enthusiastic wine students was on the basis of appearance, color, aroma and bouquet, body, flavor, etc. The purpose was not only to rate all the wines, but to reach a consensus on the best wine buys in each group (noted by three stars in the chart below) and the second best wine bargains (two stars).

The thrust of our search was value, not simply low price. For example, I feel a red Bordeaux ready to drink is inexpensive at $5 or $6. But a regional Corbieres and Cote would be terribly overpriced at $5.

Another crucial criterion was availability. A Songoulare Misket is a great buy at 59¢, but the roundtrip air fare to Bulgaria to buy it pushes the price too far out of line.

So, below, you will find five wines with three stars (greatest values) and five with two stars (great values). It’s our guide to your wine pleasure.