We figured out a simple formula and the results are starling!
I don’t know about you, but whenever I go into a wine shop, my eyes are instinctively attracted to the shelf signs that indicate how many points a wine has received. There is no denying that receiving a high score helps a wine and conversely that a low score can doom its sales. I am not implying that the consumer should only search out wines that have been highly scored by Parker or the Wine Spectator, nor should the consumer disregard wines that haven’t been scored. But when the question of points enters your decision, you need to ask: how much does this point cost? If a point is a point is a point, then a 93 point wine should be as good as any other 93 point wine. If that premise is true, then there is no need to overspend when you buy a highly rated wine. Why spend $100 for a wine rated 93 points if there’s another 93 point wine that costs less?
I’ve determined a way to compute how much a wine’s point really costs and that really helps me determine if it’s a wine worthy of purchase.
My method is to simply divide the dollar cost by the point score for each wine. The results are startling!
- For instance, you can buy the ’09 La Nerthe Blanc Chateauneuf du Pape Clos de Beauvenir (94 RP) for $75 which works out to .80/point or you can buy the ’09 LaNerthe Blanc Chateauneuf du Pape(89 RP) for $45 or .50/point.
- Here’s a comparison from Oregon: Adelsheim ’08 Pinot Noir received 91 pts from RP which is .35/point at a cost of $32, while the ’08 Pinot Noir Winderlea Vineyard received 92 pts but costs $90, or .98/point: 3 times as much for just 1 point improvement.
- Here’s another great comparison again from Oregon: Ponzi Vineyards ’08 Pinot Noir Abetina Vineyard costs $100 with a score of 93 pts, but their ’08 Pinot Noir Tavola received 90 pts and costs $25, or .27/point: 4 times less! That’s a no-brainer purchase decision.
- You can buy the William Fevre Chablis Montee de Tonnerre ’08 for $35 (93 pts or .37/pt) or their Chablis Vaudesir ’08, also 93 pts, but costs $69(.74/pt)
- You can do the same exercise with Wine Spectator selections. In the WS most recent issue (Jan 15) listing the top 100 wines of 2010, 68 wines cost under .50/point and 20 cost less than .20 point, with the best value being #63 d’Arenberg The Stump Jump Red ’08 at .12/point.
- Another fun comparison is to compare all the wines in the same point category; if you consider the 8 wines that received 96 points (#5,11,20,22,25,27,31,32) the best value is clearly # 25 at .36/point, Ruffino ’07 Toscana Modus. If you wanted to, you could spend almost 3 times as much for #31, Terralsole Brunello Riserva ’04.
- And if you’re a real big spender looking for trophy wines, why not go all the way and splurge on #35, the Beaucastel Hommage a Jacques Perrin at $5.40/point.
So there you have it – Wine Lovers Tour’s Vin Marottoli method for calculating how much a wine’s point rating really costs: simply divide the dollar cost by the point score for each wine. Of course, there are other factors to consider such as preference and style, but you may find this helps your selection. It’s your money but I’ll wager that once you start evaluating wines by their cost per point, you’ll have more fun – and enjoy your wines just as much.
Article originally published on WLT 12/03/2010. Updated: 11/03/2015