When you are tasting wine, you scroll down through the wine tasting list and you look at the selection; are you focusing on price or process? Do you tend to get the more expensive wine because…well it’s expensive so it must be better! Or are you looking at the lower end price because heck, then you can buy more wine!
In Paso Robles there is a vast variety of different price ranges but what really makes wine ‘better’? When you go to the liquor store to pick up that bottle for a last minute dinner party..(assuming you are all out of your stockpile from your Paso Robles trip) do you look for a specific label, a kind of wine or the price? Do you try to buy from your local region or from a place you heard was good at wine like Napa or France. Many people can’t tell the difference between a cheap Zin and an expensive Zinfandel, but there IS a difference!
Okay so what is it? What should you be looking for? Ingredients, process and storage! These three things make the big difference in what you are drinking. Think of it this way…when you go to the grocery store, what do you care about when you want to eat well? Ingredients, process and storage.
You normally won’t buy meat if its full of sugar, chemicals, bad yeast, has been processed and over processed to disguise the taste and then stored in some place you don’t know about. If you want to eat WELL, you go and get something grass-fed, hasn’t been shot up with antibiotics, it’s local and it’s fresh! Same with wine, you want to know that the grapes have been picked at the right time, the process is pure and the wine isn’t inundated with other things to coheres it into something palatable. Locally made wine can be traced right to the source, you can TALK to the winemaker and you can SEE the vines the grapes are picked from!
Many wineries in Paso Robles take it a step further when you see the ‘SIP’ certified symbol. It is made with sustainable practices and is good for the planet as well as your tongue! Do you ever wonder why some wines give you a headache while others don’t, even though they are the same varietal? Assuming you didn’t polish off the whole bottle versus a glass of the other wine, it’s because of what is in the process and ingredients! Wines can be manipulated into a flavor by using oak chips instead of aging it in the barrel, adding sugars instead of having the grapes picked on time, adding chemicals to speed up fermentation time and correct off balance or acidity issues as well as many other tricks of the trade.
Now we aren’t saying these wines are BAD, we are just saying that without all that stuff, the wine is BETTER. Quality grapes, pure practices, good ingredients, time honored aging and care to the quality of the wine is what can make all the difference. This could be a $70- bottle of wine to a $25- bottle of wine… it depends on the winery! Some wines are about to run out, some wines are reserves, some wines are library wines, some wines have an over production, some wineries don’t have overhead, marketing budgets, a large staff to pay, a huge wine club, etc…it is all a factor in the PRICE. You get the point, so don’t just judge your wine by the $ sign..it doesn’t make it better, but truly check out what went into your wine and you will have a better product.