For those familiar with the wine world and its numerous cliche’s, “quality and price don’t match” is a well worn out one. Most have numerous examples of this cliche by personal experience. I just experienced yet another one, and have to put it to words in this blog, if not for any other reason, because it is good therapy to get it out of my chest when I feel ripped off.
As we prepared for a Chablis tasting at George Heron’s house (my second wine group which meets once a month), I discovered that I had none in my garage refrigerator. I usually have a few Leventraux Chablis pretty much all the time, but they disappear fast, since they are so good. I could not leave town and make my rounds through the usual San Francisco merchants because I was on call a lot prior to the tasting. That left me with a weekend scavanger hunt in Stockton a couple of days ago. The vgoing was tough. I tried numerous different stores to no avail and eventually ended up at Bev More, a store I do not like or frequent much (call me a snob, but I refuse to buy wine from liquer stores).
They had only one bottle of Chablis, an 07 Louis Jadot. I had to pay full price for it, $ 30, because I refused to buy a discount card, or membership or whetever it is they want to intice me for becoming their loyal customer. Even then, the price would have been around $28. And so I arrived at the tasting with this Jadot tucked under my armpit.
There were 8 Chablis’ in this tasting ranging in age from 1996 to 2008, a pretty diverse bunch, and at least 4 of them were fairly typical of the appellation. Here’s the kick. After tasting all blind and discussing them, we all thought that the 07 Jadot was a pretty decent wine, but quite light in fruit and structure, a nice summer drinking wine that would accompany any unassuming meal of seafood just fine. I myself commented (before the wine was unveiled to discover it was mine) that this was a “good cheap Chablis”. “If it is expensive it’s no good”, said I. Imagine my surprise when we did unveil it.
Then came a wine Steve Cottrell brought, several bottles later, which we characterized as “another pleasant but light Chablis”. Here’s the kick: “but not as light as the Jadot, a bit better.” Unveiled, this turned out to be an 08 Chablis by Jacques Bourgignon, sold at Trader Joe’s for, hold on to your pants: $ 8. Yes you read it right, a single digit price. Better than the $ 30 bottle at Bev More. Steve kindly twisted the knife by telling me, “Moris I went to Bev More and saw that Louis Jadot, and I figured, being the only one there, you might come by and buy that one; so I went with the cheap stuff at TJ’s.”
Well, thanks a lot!
For those who like Chablis, this $8 bottle is a great bargain. Hopefully by the time you all read this, I can rush to TJ’s before everyone and grab a few for myself. In the meanwhile, keep in mind the old adage that quality and price do not always match in the wine world; and if you are on the short end of the price/quality equation, you need to display well rehearsed sportmanship with a cheerful facade. Good luck.