Unless your restaurant attracts a platinum card-equipped clientele, your customers probably can’t afford any of the wallet-busting vintages that made WineSearcher’s “World’s Top 50 Most Expensive Wines” list. But many operators might benefit by exploring the site’s “Top Wines around $10” and “Top Wines around $20” choices. If you want to offer customers great wines at approachable price points, these rankings are worth a serious look.
New Zealand-based WineSearcher collects data about more than seven million wines sold by 55,000 wine merchants around the world. Its list of expensive wines is truly international in nature. Forty of its 50 choices are grown in the Burgundy region of France. Five come from other parts of France and four are grown in Germany. Only one non-European wine made the list: Napa Valley standout Screaming Eagle Cabernet.
Henry Jayer Richebourg Grand Cru from Cote de Nuits, France ranked first on the world list. With an average selling price of $15,195 per bottle, it’s significantly more expensive than the No. 2 finisher, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grande Cru. Also from Cote de Nuits, its average price is $13,314. Screaming Eagle Cabernet ranks as the 14th most expensive wine in the world. According to WineSearcher figures, it sells for an average price of $2,884 per 750 ml bottle. (Check out the list of the “USA’s Top 50 Most Expensive Wines.”)
WineSearcher notes that for relevance and accuracy, it excludes auction prices when compiling its pricing figures. Also, “average prices are calculated from a 'topped and tailed' data set,” the site says. “We remove the highest and lowest 20 percent, to prevent the average being skewed by pricing errors. When only a small number of prices are available, the median is used.”
Which is good information for operators to keep in mind as they scan WineSearcher.com for top-scoring value wines. Number one on the “around $10” list goes to a 92-point scorer, Peter Lehmann Portrait Series Dry Riesling, Eden Valley, Australia. The 2013 vintage of this wine can be had for minimum price of $9 and a maximum price of $19.
The top red wine on this shortlist is a 2010 Bodegas Frutos Villar Muruve Crianza, Toro. Spain. Its maximum price is $17, but a bottle can be had for as little as $6. It’s a 91-point wine as are the other four whites and four reds on this list.
A pair of eye-popping 100-point wines stand out in the “around $20” category. Among the whites, it’s the 2013 De Morgenzon DMZ Maestro White, Stellenbosch, South Africa, available for a minimum of $19 and a maximum of $27. The red chart-topper is Delaire Graff Estate Botmanskop, Stellenbosch, South Africa. The 2012 vintage goes for between $16 and $34.
There are also four 95 point wines and a quartet of 93 point-scorers on this list. Value options at slightly higher price points are shown, too.
There is a catch of sorts. WineSearcher gives away its wine ranking data for free and also provides contact data for a few wine sellers who have these wines in stock. But only the site’s “Pro Version” premium members get a full list of purveyors where these wines can be sourced. If you want to do a comprehensive price comparison on these value wines or any others, you’ll have to fork over $43 per year.
It could be a good investment. On the other hand, perhaps your restaurant’s wine sales rep or local distributor can tackle some of these sourcing and price-comparison tasks for you. Your wine vendors may also be able to provide viable alternatives that can give a similar bargain boost to your restaurant’s wine program.
But even if you don’t want or can’t get the particular wines WineSearcher recommends, it’s helpful to learn the names of the top-scoring value wineries, where their growing operations are located and what sort of price points their wares command. Your customers are often interested in sampling affordable wines from up-and-coming growing regions. The more options your wine list gives them, the better.
Contact Bob Krummert at [email protected]