Most wines aren’t worth the money. I’d say 75% of all the wine bottles out there. Now look, cheap wines are cheap for a reason, so if you’re only interested in cheap this site ain’t for you, brothers and sisters. I’m obsessed with discovering great wines at a great price. That means most of the time it’s in the $20-$50 range, sometimes but harder to find it’s under-$20, and for a special occasion it’s upwards of $65—and if I’m spending over $100 the wine better be unbelievably amazing or I’m pissed. Good isn’t good enough, mediocre is disappointing, and overpriced is offensive. When it comes to wine, great should be all that’s acceptable. Especially these days, when your hard-earned dollar isn’t stretching the way it used to stretch.
Bottom line: GREAT COMES AT A PRICE. BUT I NEVER WANT TO PAY TOO HIGH A PRICE FOR IT.
The challenging part is, there’s so many wines to choose from out there. It can either be overwhelming or intimidating or both. Shoppers in the aisles of wine stores ask with alarming frequency: 80 dollars?—is it worth it?? So many shoppers ask the same question if the wine sells at 25 dollars. My universal truth is this: 75% of wines out there are not worth the money. Unfortunate but true. However, if you’re here reading content on this site, I’ve got good news: The Corkscrewer Report is all about the 25%.
We won’t waste your time talking about good wines here [however, do check out our Really Good wine list]. I taste (and serve) plenty of really good and decent wines all the time, but they don’t belong on this site. We’re only going to write about great ones. (And, in turn, we’ll never write about, or make mention of, a mediocre or disappointing wine on this site. Never.) The Corkscrewer Report only covers great wines, and its great winemakers.
So, how do you define great?
Does it take an expert? The experts think so. But c’mon. Yeah, it takes work and commitment to get to know some very key things to identify a great wine—but in the end . . . you know a great song when it’s great, don’t you? Great sex, a great looking woman, man or car, or a great singing voice—you know it when you have it, see it or hear it. Same goes for wine. You know it when it does something great to your senses, and you know it when it goes down your throat and makes you feel good.
The hard part is talking about it. Being able to distinguish a great wine vs. just a good one and writing about it without boring people to death, or alienating them. So, here’s a promise: we’re going to maintain a short supply of wine experts’ and certified masters’ technical speak (“notes of limestone minerality” “bursting with cassis and blackberry” “bracing acidity” or “plush firm tannins” etc.). There are better places to go for that level of expertise. My favorite independent wine sites, by the way, are Wine Review Online; Alice Feiring’s The Feiring Line; Antonio Galloni’s Vinous; Alder Yarrow’s Vinography; Meg Houston Maker’s Maker’s Table; and JamesSuckling.com (follow him on Facebook if the yearly subscription is too pricey). They are simply the best, and essential for any wine lover or budding lover.
The Corkscrewer Report is doing things a little differently and we’re going to try to keep it as interesting as possible—and get you interested. Because great wines should be more interesting.
Johannes Marlena, Editor in Chief
Great Wine: Joseph Phelps Pinot Noir, Freestone Vineyards