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July 18, 2011

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This is total BS, and beneath the standards of this blog, I'm sorry to say.

One of the guys was a hedge fund manager. So it's okay for hedge fund managers to bribe Congressmen with $350 of wine? Come on, you can't really believe that.

Entertaining to say the least … but what hits home is “Greatness has nothing to do with price.” Well said, sir. I would also offer up points. Cheers!

DougJ -

A $350 bottle to a hedge fund manager isn't that impressive. Restaurants dangle $1k bottles for the hedge fund crowd. Do I think they were trying to impress Ryan? Sure, probably. Do I think he was being "bribed"? I have no evidence of that, although I'm sure it's possible. It would hardly be the first time.

" Do I think they were trying to impress Ryan? Sure, probably. Do I think he was being "bribed"?"

Awfully fine line, tho, isn't it?

Clearly, the stuff Feinberg (and others) have said about expensive wine is ridiculous, I agree. And maybe I should blame them for going down that road, not you.

But Ryan is in effect the point person for hedge fund managers in Congress. When he drinks expensive wine on their dime, it's a problem. In fact, it's probably an ethics violation.

The fact that Ryan freaked and paid for it himself after he was confronted just goes to show how much impropriety there is here.

DougJ -

To be clear, my piece makes no position of my politics. I know you realize that, but I want all of our readers to see it again.

And I guess I'm probably inured to the ever-blurrier line of Congressional ethics. That's sad, but true. And I don't mind high standards and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. I don't think you're off beat here, even if you find the transgression more egregious than I do.

As for the wine consumption itself (irrespective of ethical transgressions), I would even say good on them for getting some sophisticated like an Echézeaux (even if Jayer-Gilles is a celebrity producer), I would have expected a Sine Qua Non or some other foolishness from these guys.

F*ck it. I paid more than $20 for a bottle of wine, I've wasted my money. But then, I'm uncouth like that....

Who cares. The problem today is that we continue to treat the symptoms while applying impossible "guidelines" to politicians. Dictating taste or behavior to politicians, or anyone for that matter, is fascist. The real issue is ignorance. Maybe the bottle was great? Why is this even relevant?

Also, expensive isn't always an arbitrary negative perpetrated upon the unknowing. Supply and demand is just something we have to live with and i'd venture to say that quality does play a role in that. Not always but it does.

Peter - I think you're arguing with yourself. I agree with the general idea that the more you spend, the better chance you have to get something of high quality. But on a bottle-by-bottle basis, expecting price to equate to greatness is folly. Especially in wine.

And of course I have no problem with whatever prices wine producers choose to set. That's their business, just as it's mine to decide whether it represents good value to me.

Why is this relevant? You're hung up on the politico angle. I'm focusing on the fact that the woman who wrote the article immediately declared the wine was "great" because it was "expensive." That's the kind of association that hurts wine because it makes people think they can't afford great bottles, when certainly they can.

Just thinking, whoever ordered these 2 bottles of 2004 Jayer-Gilles Echézeaux du Dessus, just may really like them and it is one of there favorite wines. Who am I to argue with someone else's palate.
Of course, I would never buy it.

DougJ, did you also object when the Queen opened 1990 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Echezeaux for Barack Obama? That's much more effective bribe material than 2004 Jayer-Gilles.

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