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Are Fine Wines a Hoax?
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Personally, my own sense of taste and smell is like that of a child whose most sophisticated opinion is that while McDonalds fries taste better than Burger King fries, Burger King burgers taste better than McDonalds burgers.

So, I only buy box wine at Costco.

But there’s endless evidence that other people aren’t as deficient in this regard as I am.

Isn’t it simpler to assume that some people really can tell wines apart by taste and smell?

For example, there has been a vast influx into the wine industry over the last half century of rich Silicon Valley nerds. Are you saying they all agreed to propagate the ancient hoaxes about fine wine rather than figure out some way to prosper by beating the system?

An interesting distinction between New York and Northern Californian rich people is that the former like investing in modern art while the latter prefer investing in vineyards.

For instance, Richard Serra is an obnoxious artist who puts up rusted iron walls in public spaces like an urban version of the Berlin Wall, like his “Tilted Arc” that Manhattan federal building workers finally had torn out in 1989 because it ruined the open space where they eat their brown bag lunches.

Two decades ago, the administration of Caltech in Pasadena announced that they wanted to put one of Serra’s pieces of Plop Art on the only open grass field left on their tightly packed campus. But the student nerds objected that that’s the only place where they could play Ultimate Frisbee.

Eventually, Caltech president David Baltimore gave in to the Big Bang Theory types, saying, “This is not a judgment about the quality of the proposal, but rather a judgment about the needs of the campus,” which needed an open lawn more than it needed one of Serra’s rusting hulks.

On the other hand, when I visited the Hamptons a half decade ago, I was struck that Serra’s sculptures look fine when off to the side of some Master of the Universe’s multi-acre front lawn.

 
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  1. No mention of the movie Bottle Shock with the late Alan Rickman … ? If you have not seen it, run do not walk, as the expression goes …

    • Replies: @Tom F.
    @The Only Catholic Unionist

    Kirkland brand Cabernet Sauvignon box wine is $13, compared to same amount in three bottles at $18. Honest moment, I put away the box when people come in the house, even the plumber. "The Status Game" is a great new book by Will Storr.

    My wife and I took a wine-maker course at UCLA, and a wine-making weekend in Sonoma, then did a 'taste-test' at the beginning of a dinner party, with 12 "highly educated and respected" types. They (us too!) got bewildered at the five one-ounce tastes, and nobody chose the $120/bottle wine as the best. The winner was an E&J Gallo blend, and they all pretended not to care that they couldn't discern quality-as-price. Never tell that story at somebody else's house, though, as it does not go over with the hosts.

    , @Brutusale
    @The Only Catholic Unionist

    "You think I'm an asshole. And I'm not really, it's just that I'm British and, well, you're not."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYs0kblXToA

    Also check out the book Judgment of Paris, which adds a lot of Cali wine history to the story.

    https://www.amazon.com/Judgment-Paris-George-M-Taber/dp/0743297326

    Replies: @Joe Stalin

    , @Ben tillman
    @The Only Catholic Unionist

    Great movie!

  2. When I was a younger man and had the means to so for the first time, I would splurge on wine now and again. I could definitely tell the difference between a \$10 bottle of wine and a \$50 bottle of wine, but once you got beyond that, I couldn’t really differentiate. There may be people with who can, but why should I waste money if I cannot? That was my conclusion.

    For the business I’m in, it is helpful for entertaining clients to have a basic understanding of wine, and it is fun to pick a bottle that goes well with what you are eating. But, at least for me that doesn’t have much correlation to the price of the bottle.

    • Agree: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Thanks: Art Deco
    • Replies: @International Jew
    @NJ Transit Commuter


    the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle
     
    That's the same bottle, depending if you buy it at the supermarket or at a restaurant.
    , @stillCARealist
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    What about single malt Scotch? Is that a motivator for the clients? That's all I'll touch now, and it can get expensive PDQ. Fortunately it only takes an ounce of the firewater to make me cry Uncle.

    And yes, there is quite the range of quality from rotgut up to exquisite. But I've never spent more than about $50/bottle, so I can't say if the correlation continues up linearly beyond that.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Barbarossa

    , @Currahee
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    LOL! Pretentious wine tomfoolery is one of the more hilarious charades extant. Family Cribari in a big jug will do the job just fine.

    , @Recently Based
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    One of the guys I knew in consulting who grew up in Louisiana and was great at putting on the whole southern good ol' boy schtick was being interviewed by an investment bank as he was graduating from HBS. They did the classic thing of taking him to a fancy restaurant and asking him to order the wine to test his social skills (this was a long time ago). He decided he had zero interest in working with these guys, so when he was handed the menu, he put on his best Gomer Pyle accent and yelled "$100 a bottle -- Hell, I can't taste past $10!"

    Replies: @Faraday's Bobcat

    , @J1234
    @NJ Transit Commuter


    I could definitely tell the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle of wine, but once you got beyond that, I couldn’t really differentiate.
     
    I also notice a difference between $10 and $50 wines. Like you, I don't have much experience (or preference) in prices higher than that, but I have noticed some trends within lower priced wines over the years. First, it's my opinion that the influx of Australian wine at the bottom end has generally improved the quality of the really affordable wines. It's likely that even Steve would notice an improvement in taste if he moved up from the boxes to something from a company like Yellow Tail. It's not great stuff, but I recall both my wife and I being impressed when we compared it to the sub-$10 wine we had been drinking before.

    Also, the worst wines I've ever tasted were really low priced French or Italian brands. If your spending 20 bucks, buy something from California or Australia instead of France or Italy. If anyone has had good western European wine in that price range, let me know. I might try it again.

  3. Slightly OT, but here it is, the best rock n roll song of all time…..

    I used to do this on piano back in high school, got laid every time.

    As for matters of good taste, call me, I charge reasonable rates.

    • LOL: Rev. Spooner
    • Replies: @vinteuil
    @The Germ Theory of Disease


    ...the best rock n roll song of all time…
     
    Yes, I think it probably is.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  4. Isn’t it simpler to assume that some people really can tell wines apart by taste and smell?

    No, it’s simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?

    • Replies: @Pontius
    @ScarletNumber

    Weren't a bunch of Austrians busted for mixing propylene glycol (non toxic anti-freeze) into wine to enhance its sweetness a couple of decades ago? So much for your high end snobbery.
    Like the mentioned audiophiles, there are the beer snobs, the gun snobs, the auto snobs the tech snobs, the music snobs, whatever. It all comes down to successful marketing to people's inherent prejudices. Like listening to two guys talking about the best loads for Cape Buffalo when neither will ever get within 2000 miles of one. Some of the funniest ones are on Bob Is The Oil Guy, where people have an almost religious belief in their particular favourite oil brand, discussing additive packages of fresh oil sent out for analysis and which oils they blend together in their basements to get the performance required for their vintage Porsche 930 or something.

    Progress of marketing?

    https://youtu.be/q0O8Q0x38mI?t=958

    Replies: @possumman, @Anon

    , @Jim Bob Lassiter
    @ScarletNumber

    I wonder how much a job pays designing silly and whimsical "New Age" wine bottle brand names and labels for the same Modesto, CA rot gut. I have an idea of my own I'd like to develop for export to |Europe.

    Transnational Sidewalk Turd

    In multiple languages, of course.

    , @Curmudgeon
    @ScarletNumber

    There are people that can tell the difference between Coke, Pepsi, and RC Cola. I'm not one of them. I can, however tell the taste differences between single malt Scotches. In alcoholic beverages, the cask wood and climate determine the taste. Whether one is "better" (or fine) than another is a matter of personal taste.

    , @Art Deco
    @ScarletNumber

    Advertising doesn't work.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    , @TGGP
    @ScarletNumber

    This is the real reason advertising works:
    http://www.meltingasphalt.com/ads-dont-work-that-way/
    Not because people are dumb, but because they're smart enough to recognize the signal associated with a product and then make use of it by conspicuously consuming it.

    As for wines, Steve did not provide "endless evidence" that anyone can distinguish them in a taste test.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    , @Cagey Beast
    @ScarletNumber

    "No, it’s simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?"

    So it it just our easily persuaded imagination at work when we prefer one wine, beer or whiskey over another? If you genuinely believe that then you may be the equivalent of colourblind when it comes to booze.

    , @Luddite in Chief
    @ScarletNumber


    Why do you think advertising works?
     
    It might be more accurate to say that advertising is widely perceived to work. I am afraid that the vast sums spent on advertising bring it into "everyone knows that" territory, because popular wisdom dictates that people do not spend lots of money on things of dubious value.

    I do not know if anyone reading this had ever read Advertising, The Uneasy Persuasion, but it is a painstaking book written by Michael Schudson decades ago (1986). The book examines advertising and how it works, and reveals that it often does not work.

    More awkwardly, when it does work, it may work in such a way that the success cannot be repeated because even those in the industry do not understand exactly how it was achieved.

    I would love to read a more recent book that takes on the same subject matter, but have yet to find one (perhaps someone here has?).

    Anyway, if I had to sum up the advertising game, I would say it is all about the expectation that the expenditure of large sums must produce a positive result and that, the more money one spends, the greater the expected positive result.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Peter D. Bredon

  5. I just missed a chance to buy a pamphlet from Hudson’s, printed in 1964, promising to educate presumably lower middle class but upwardly aspiring housewives everything they needed to know about wine (one illustration explained different glass shapes). As it is I have whatever Alton Brown said, Alexis Lischine’s book from the 80s (remember how there was a kind of miniature French and more broadly Euro vogue in the mid-80s?), and that English series with the Interesting One from Top Gear who’s not related to the rock star astronomer.

  6. This was a story a million years ago, a related one was classical music reviewers not being able to distinguish recordings.

    • Replies: @Barnard
    @J.Ross

    What do you mean, they couldn't tell the difference between the quality of musicians?

    Replies: @James J. O'Meara

    , @Je Suis Omar Mateen
    @J.Ross

    Wine differences are much more subtle than classical recording/performance differences.

    If you mean comparing a digitally remastered recording to the original analog, yeah, it's just about impossible to distinguish. And it is literally impossible, even for trained engineers, to distinguish low-resolution from high-resolution recordings, such as CD versus Blu-ray. But if you're saying classical mavens can't distinguish John Gardiner's Beethoven from Thomas Tilson's Beethoven, that's total and complete bulls**t.

    Replies: @J.Ross

    , @Paul Mendez
    @J.Ross

    In the 70’s, being an “audiophile” was a thing. There were glossy magazines and luxury retail stores devoted solely to selling “sound systems” costing tens of thousands of dollars. This, when a new Pinto cost less than $3,000.

    These sound systems could reproduce frequencies higher than what dogs and lower than what elephants could hear, yet the audiophiles claimed they could tell the difference between them. Like wine snobs, audio magazine reviewers had a thesaurus of descriptors to rate each new piece of equipment.

    Today, convenience/price has trumped sound quality. First CDs. Then mp3. My Sirius satellite quality is noticeably worse than FM played on the same car radio. But who cares?

    Replies: @Joe Stalin, @SIMP simp, @Kratoklastes

    , @Shhjjkjcf
    @J.Ross

    I’m not even close to being an expert, but I’m sure I can tell the guitar playing of Christopher Parkening from Eliot Fisk on the same piece, two ends of the spectrum from “technically proficient” to “wildly expressive” (or “robotic” to “sloppy”, depending on your taste). Outside these extremes, classical guitarists are not at all like rockers, it being impossible not to know Tom Petty from Mark Knopfler, for example, instantly and unmistakably.

    I generally prefer John Williams, Ana Vidovic, and Julian Bream to Parkening and Fisk, since they come closer to the Golden Mean, IMHO, both precise and emotional.

    I could possibly tell Hilary Hahn from Joshua Bell, or Maurizio Pollini from Marta Argerich, slightly better than a coin flip. Experts can probably tell nearly infallibly. Orchestras would add a degree of complexity far beyond me

  7. Anonymous[360] • Disclaimer says:

    I mean they may be able to tell a marginal difference, or atleast they can predict which wine is which ever so slightly better than chance. But that may be a select few and most of the rich nerds are still pretending. It might be almost perfectly analogous to the modern art scene you mentioned that the vast majority playing and collecting are poseurs while a few can tell the difference between real high quality modern art from fakes and monkeys a bit better than chance.

    Only partially related but reminds me how Europeans, both Continentals and British always insisted that French wines were universally leagues ahead and mountains above American wines, until some Americans convinced a British restaurateur who only used French wines in his establishment because he was convinced of their superiority to fund a blind taste test competition in France with French Judges. To the shock of the French Judges they rated almost all the American wines above almost all the French wines in the Blind taste test, an almost universal and massive routing victory by the American wines.

    Some people disputed the results. There were four further blind taste testing competitions, 2 in 1978, 2 in 1986, all with mostly French Judges. The American Wines completely routed the French Wines in all 5 blind taste testing competitions. There was yet another tasting 30 years after the first one and American Wines took the top 4 spots and routed the French Wines yet again for the sixth time.

    • Agree: Pixo
    • Thanks: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @stillCARealist
    @Anonymous

    As a former wine drinker I can confirm. After spending years drinking CA wines I thought I should branch out and find the good French wines. Well, I spent a lot of money, but I never found good French wine. It was all blah, regardless of price. The word most often associated with their wine? Watery.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    , @Anon
    @Anonymous

    The first one known as 'the Judgment of Paris'. Not quite as decisive as you describe it but shocking enough. The judges' scoring shown in the link below.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Paris_(wine)

    Replies: @Anonymous

    , @John Johnson
    @Anonymous

    I mean they may be able to tell a marginal difference, or at least they can predict which wine is which ever so slightly better than chance. But that may be a select few and most of the rich nerds are still pretending.

    I'm not a wine expert by any means but most of the time I would be able to tell the difference between a cheap wine flight vs a premium. I learned in fact that you should always get the premium flight if you are picking between the two. Odds are you will prefer it overall.

    BUT

    I easily could end up preferring a wine on the basic flight. In fact that has happened and I bought the bottle.

    The posers could never admit that and get talked into buying expensive wine. They would never buy a wine from the basic list and won't even try it. Some of the vineyards cater entirely to that mentality.

    I detest modern art and I'm not sold on high end wine either. People have differing tastes. During wine tasting you always get some vineyard owner saying "you're gonna love this" and you have to keep a straight face while tasting it. You really can't pick the wine you like based on how nice the vineyard looks or how much it costs. Not if you are honest anyways.

    I can have fun wine tasting but at some point I'm like ok let's stop at 7-11 for some beers for the hotel.

    , @Rooster16
    @Anonymous

    I like your correlation to modern art. It essentially comes down to a network of people who enjoy wine/art, who elevate the importance of the wine/art while creating a store of value with exorbitant prices. Many times the linguistics of describing said wine/art is the most important aspect of them. “Experts” are nothing more than those who use sesquipedalian verbiage to describe the taste. Look up Rudy Kurniawan for an example.

    Replies: @Rev. Spooner

    , @Hypnotoad666
    @Anonymous

    The problem lies in the definition of "better." Once you get past vinegary swill all wine is "good" -- but highly variable in the subtleties of its taste. Which of these variations you like is a matter of palette, personal preference, and maybe how you are feeling at the moment.

    People should probably try to appreciate wine for all its differences, and to find what differences they like. Being the status-driven, hierarchical creatures that we are, however, we inevitably feel the need to rank things from best to worst and to pay more accordingly, just to prove we can.

  8. “For example, there has been a vast influx into the wine industry over the last half century of rich Silicon Valley nerds. Are you saying they all agreed to propagate the ancient hoaxes about fine wine rather than figure out some way to prosper by beating the system?”

    Wine is better than modern art in that you can drink it, and generally expensive wine is nicer than cheap wine. But by expensive I mean £10-15…

    Think of it the silicon god’s investment as more like Marie-Antoinette’s little farm at Versailles.

    But people do and will pay. In a French hypermarket a few weeks ago, I gazed longingly at a case of Chateau Lafite before settling for something I could afford. My usual wine-shop method in France when faced with a lot of new and unknown wines is to follow some little old lady’s trolley and choose what she chooses!

    https://www.auchan.fr/boissons/la-grande-cave-auchan/vin/ca-7378053?sort=-price_pos208&page=1

    • Replies: @Recently Based
    @YetAnotherAnon

    I lived in Paris for a number of years, and can't agree more strongly.

    In my experience, and contrary to the stereotypes, while the French really do know (French) wines and prefer quality, in most settings they laugh at the dudes who are talking about "notes of apricot" or whatever.

    Wine is another item in the meal, and judged as such. They rarely pay more than 15 - 20 euros for a bottle of wine, and if you shop like the French, this is enough for an excellent bottle that complements your meal extremely well.

  9. Anyone else here in a summertime Eurotrash Med mood? Salud

    • Replies: @Dmon
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    In America, wine drinking is associated with either social climbing and conspicuous consumption (expensive wine) or defeat and dereliction (cheap wine). How about gettin' the toes tapping with a little beer-drinking music?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFrGzKpGvaU&ab_channel=verycoolsound

    Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    , @International Jew
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Hate to go all Reg Cæsar on you but Alessandra/Alexandra is a dumb name to give a girl; it means "protector of men".

    Replies: @JimDandy, @Jenner Ickham Errican

  10. Black Box Pinot Noir is exquisite.

    • Agree: Sollipsist
    • Replies: @Sollipsist
    @James Speaks

    I've had dozens of Pinot Noirs and none were consistently significantly better. Any differences that I noted at the time could simply be written off as better or worse pairings -- which is my main concern, as I'm not all that into wine on its own.

    Barefoot and Apothic Pinot Noirs aren't bad either. And Black Box also makes a killer Shiraz, which is my #2 after Pinot Noir.

  11. English multimillionaires demand only the finest wines:

  12. This reminds me of the old saying, “You can tell a fine high class bottle of wine by that it got’s a screw cap.”

    I believe that was from Redd Foxx.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
    @John Henry

    That's no longer true, from what I understand.

    Replies: @Brutusale

    , @Dave from Oz
    @John Henry

    Screw cap is a far better way to package wine than with a cork. Much better exclusion of oxygen, and it wont rot as cork can do. Similarly, goon bag is an even better way to do it, because the goon bag has no air in it at all.

    , @Etruscan Film Star
    @John Henry

    In my college days many moons ago, one of my amigos had a favorite gag he'd enact at parties. After our gang had consumed whatever passed for decent vino and we had moved on to much lesser stuff, he'd hold up a bottle of wretched plonk (Thunderbird or similar). He'd pour some in his glass, inspect its color, wave it under his nose to appreciate the odor, take a sip, roll it around his tongue, and proclaim:

    "This is a good wine, but it's not a great wine."

  13. Well, a \$25 wine is usually better than a \$5 one, but the higher in price you go, the difference becomes minimal and probably more related to tastes.

    I have never tried the \$10,000 Romanée-Conti, but I don’t think it is 100 times better than a random \$100 wine.

    • Agree: Muggles
    • Replies: @Jefferson Temple
    @Dumbo

    I believe you. Yet, I keep a box of Black Box Malbec from Chile in the fridge most of the time. It is very tasty and costs the equivalent of $5 a bottle or $7 a bottle if not on sale. Why pay more?

    , @James J. O'Meara
    @Dumbo

    I call this the Five Dollar Tomato rule. Years ago I was in Dean & Delucca's in Soho -- where those Hamptons Masters of the Universe iSteve hangs out with shop -- and they had some really nice looking "heirloom" tomatoes, at $5. I thought, no matter how much better they are than "regular" tomatoes, there's no way they're worth $5 each. There's worth the price, and then there's ridiculous.

    Tarantino's take:

    https://youtu.be/4qOvaBKugT8

    Replies: @John Johnson

  14. Diamonds are boring looking yellowish glass shards and lots of people are willing to pay large amounts of money on them, but only if they mined from the earth. Look-alikes like cubic zirconia and perfectly indistinguishable synthetic diamonds are not deemed equally valuable, so their value is not in how they look but in their price.
    This quote from Cordelia from the Buffy tv show captures the feeling best: “It’s like when i go shopping!I always have to get the most expensive things.Not because it’s the most expensive, but because they cost more!”

    • Replies: @Frau Katze
    @SIMP simp

    Diamonds have very high index of refraction. They are definitely more sparkly than other gems.

    But synthetic diamonds (the exact same molecule) are just as sparkly.

    The modern taste that rejects synthetic diamonds comes down to one thing: advertisements that promote mined diamonds.

  15. If you can tell the difference between Burger King french fries and McDonalds french fries I am afraid that your test buds have gone insane.

    That is like comparing pig shit and dog shit. It does not amaze me that you drink box wine. 25.00 for a bottle of wine is what the bankers and politicians have done to the dollar.

    On the bright side your liver doesn’t really want you drinking more than three or four bottles of wine per month any how.

    • Replies: @Seminumerical
    @Emil Nikola Richard

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DF31qCrclC0

    , @Aeronerauk
    @Emil Nikola Richard

    absolutely bonkers comment. You're either a snob or had your tastebuds burnt off in a childhood hot pocket accident.

    , @J.Ross
    @Emil Nikola Richard

    McDonald's set an industry standard and supposedly comes from only one type of potato. Burger King is actually a sort of reconstituted thing, like a Pringle versus a true potato chip, with a totally different shape and texture. Points off for not starting with Checker's/Rally's.

  16. Sommelier competitions are the proof of the contrary

  17. @NJ Transit Commuter
    When I was a younger man and had the means to so for the first time, I would splurge on wine now and again. I could definitely tell the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle of wine, but once you got beyond that, I couldn’t really differentiate. There may be people with who can, but why should I waste money if I cannot? That was my conclusion.

    For the business I’m in, it is helpful for entertaining clients to have a basic understanding of wine, and it is fun to pick a bottle that goes well with what you are eating. But, at least for me that doesn’t have much correlation to the price of the bottle.

    Replies: @International Jew, @stillCARealist, @Currahee, @Recently Based, @J1234

    the difference between a \$10 bottle of wine and a \$50 bottle

    That’s the same bottle, depending if you buy it at the supermarket or at a restaurant.

    • LOL: Alden
  18. I have difficulty choosing between Thunderbird and Wild Irish Rose.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
    @prosa123

    Then go with Night Train.

    , @NOTA
    @prosa123

    "Would you like a brown paper bag for that, sir?"

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  19. In Northwest DC, American University’s Katzen Art Center opened with a front-lawn, larger-than-life statue of a Native American terrorist who had killed some cops, which was a bit cheeky, since the Katzen’s front lawn was just across the street from the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security. The statue came down and was replaced by a replica of a giant, pale-green microscope, banal and ugly but at least not a monument to a cop-killer.

  20. There is a lot of variation in how “expertise” is assigned. Sometimes being an expert means that a person knows what he’s talking about, and sometimes it doesn’t. So no, it is not a safe assumption, as actual trials have empirically demonstrated.

  21. Yes. So are “craft beers”.

    • Replies: @possumman
    @Thirdtwin

    Every Craft Brewer makes the same dozen varieties---I generally buy according to the Artwork on the can---Union Craft in Baltimore makes one called Snow Pants---great looking label! They should all take the "sours" and just label them SKUNKY.

  22. “Luxury wines are a trillion dollar a year industry,”

    Revenue of the wine market worldwide by country in 2021(in million U.S. dollars)
    https://www.statista.com/forecasts/758149/revenue-of-the-wine-market-worldwide-by-country

    Looks like revenue in the low hundreds of billion\$. Also note that costs might also be huge, so profit might not be that much.

    One aspect of high quality wine, just like high quality soft drinks, is reliability and consistency. Producing 10,000 identical bottles of something humans will drink is a very difficult task.

  23. @J.Ross
    This was a story a million years ago, a related one was classical music reviewers not being able to distinguish recordings.

    Replies: @Barnard, @Je Suis Omar Mateen, @Paul Mendez, @Shhjjkjcf

    What do you mean, they couldn’t tell the difference between the quality of musicians?

    • Replies: @James J. O'Meara
    @Barnard

    There was an episode of The Avengers where Steed was being his usual damnably knowledgeable upper class twit, and having a competition with some other twit where they had to guess the composer, work, orchestra and conductor (something like that).

    Back in the day, when there weren't that many recordings around, you could probably tell Toscanini from Furtwangler, then later Karajan from Solti, or the fantastic sound of a Mercury recording meant it must be Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony. But the post-cd, post-digital, proliferation of recordings (even in the miniscule classical genre) makes that less likely. The Berlin PO may have had a particular "sound" under Karajan, on DGG, but there seem to be about 18 different guys recording with it today, and I can't believe anyone can tell them apart. Or maybe the old guys really did have distinctive sounds and the new guys are homogenized.

    Early in the film of The Talented Mr. Ripley the titular psycho, presumably a classical nerd, is trying to learn to identify various jazz artists by listening to their records over and over. I can instantly id Miles Davis or Charlie Parker, but beyond that they all sound alike. And don't get me started on the kids' music, it's all noise!

  24. Although an expensive wine may taste better on the first mouthful or even the first glass, in the end a cheaper wine gets you drunk just as well, and after the first glass it starts to taste a lot better.

    You might as well argue the same thing about expensive brands of spirit drinks like single malt whiskeys and vodkas. To me they all have a slight mouth feel of gasoline, though of course you can mix them with Coca-Cola or orange juice to improve the flavor.

    Or even expensive shampoos and soaps. They might look or feel a bit better than cheap brands, but in the end all they do is dissolve grease.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    @Jonathan Mason

    Serving the best wine first and the plonk later, when the powers of discrimination (and not just in relation to wine) are lessened, is a practice as old as time.


    "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine and, when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now."
     
    https://biblehub.com/kjv/john/2.htm
    , @Gordo
    @Jonathan Mason

    First bottle relatively good Aus or NZ or Chile, after that once you are lit get into £5 a pop Moldova finest 🇲🇩 🍷

    , @John Johnson
    @Jonathan Mason

    You might as well argue the same thing about expensive brands of spirit drinks like single malt whiskeys and vodkas. To me they all have a slight mouth feel of gasoline, though of course you can mix them with Coca-Cola or orange juice to improve the flavor.

    I think liquor is actually where you have the biggest difference between high and low.

    A $30 tequila and a $12 tequila even when mixed will be completely noticeable. Cheap rum is awful even when mixed with Coke.

    But it definitely tops out. I don't buy the high end bourbon market at all. $60 bourbon is marketing. Same for vodka.

    Replies: @jejej

    , @Bill Jones
    @Jonathan Mason


    Although an expensive wine may taste better on the first mouthful or even the first glass, in the end a cheaper wine gets you drunk just as well, and after the first glass it starts to taste a lot better.
     
    But the French have a saying: Only the first bottle is expensive.
  25. Jon says:

    I hosted a wine tasting back when those were a big thing. I made it blind, and threw in a bottle of Two-Buck-Chuck from Trader Joe’s, along with wines at the \$15, \$30, and a couple of \$60+ price points. Chuck came in second. Most people got a kick out of it, but one couple dropped out of the wine club and never forgave me for embarrassing them on their wine tastes.

    For example, there has been a vast influx into the wine industry over the last half century of rich Silicon Valley nerds. Are you saying they all agreed to propagate the ancient hoaxes about fine wine rather than figure out some way to prosper by beating the system?

    That’s exactly what they are doing. Silicon Valley nerds are absolutely the nouveau riche – many of them are desperate to upgrade their social class to fit their income. I did a tour of Napa/Sonoma back in the early heyday of the internet. There were throngs of these nerds taking wine tasting classes and buying “starter sets” of wines and accessories to impress their friends.

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
    @Jon

    2 buck Chuck is one of my favorites

    I can’t tell the difference so why pay more?

    , @Anon
    @Jon

    I did a blind tasting like this and absolutely nobody, including people who had no experience with wine, had any difficulty telling the difference between two buck chuck and good Bordeaux. Maybe you just bought a lot of crappy $50 wines (they do exist).

    There are big differences between various quality levels of wines, usually reflected in the price.

  26. Burger King burgers AND fries are better than McDonald’s burgers and fries.

    • Replies: @Shel100
    @CCR

    That might be true now but back in the old days McDonald's had the best fries.

    , @Che Guava
    @CCR

    I read an SF story with a protagonist who was running the last retro-MacDonalds anywhere. The chips were cooked in beef lard (I am not sure if 'lard' is the same as 'tallow', the story used 'tallow').

    Wouln't want to eat too much, or too often, but sounds delicious. As for burgers, sure, I never eat the Mac ones (except, seldom, 200-yen snack chicken burgers), BK, occasionally. far superior.

    Maybe retro-Mac burgers were also tasty, I don't know, pre-Kroc was all different.

    As for wine, when champagne seems to suit the occasion, I almost always buy the Spanish ones, they taste just as good as or better than Veuve or Moet, they're not allowed to have 'champagne' on the label, but much better value.

  27. @Jonathan Mason
    Although an expensive wine may taste better on the first mouthful or even the first glass, in the end a cheaper wine gets you drunk just as well, and after the first glass it starts to taste a lot better.

    You might as well argue the same thing about expensive brands of spirit drinks like single malt whiskeys and vodkas. To me they all have a slight mouth feel of gasoline, though of course you can mix them with Coca-Cola or orange juice to improve the flavor.

    Or even expensive shampoos and soaps. They might look or feel a bit better than cheap brands, but in the end all they do is dissolve grease.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon, @Gordo, @John Johnson, @Bill Jones

    Serving the best wine first and the plonk later, when the powers of discrimination (and not just in relation to wine) are lessened, is a practice as old as time.

    “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine and, when men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”

    https://biblehub.com/kjv/john/2.htm

    • Thanks: George
  28. Anonymous[374] • Disclaimer says:

    About twenty years ago, there was an essay analyzing the wine criticism written in the 19th century (and there was actually a fair amount of it). Surprisingly perhaps, Victorian wine critics never talked of things like “hints of plum” or “citrus aroma” or other things. They thought wine tasted like….wine.

    I suspect the shift in analysis of wine taste happened in the 20th century was a sort of unconscious, collective marketing campaign to help the industry get back on its feet following the global phylloxera disaster. More recently, and more conscious and concerted has been the marketing hype started by the French about terroir and its supposed role in the taste to boost the mystique and cachet of wine among Xers and Millennials (who have been consuming less wine than previous generations).

  29. It’s both. Wine is a racket, but some of the expensive stuff is clearly somewhat better than a lot of the cheap stuff. The only question that matters is: what are the best cheap red wines? Because I like to have a couple glasses most nights. That habit can be affordable or the financial equivalent of a coke habit. When I was a kid, my dad was fond of telling me “Expensive wine is bullshit. The French drink wine out of milk cartons.” That half-truth has served me well in life.

  30. David Baltimore is President of CalTech? The David Baltimore who’s responsible for the modern virological classification system?

    He must be ninety or so.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    @Rob

    He's 84, and is President Emeritus, which he has been since the age of 70.

  31. Anon[251] • Disclaimer says:

    Good wines are not a hoax. My sister once asked a wine shop guy for recommendations and we ended up with the two best ones I’ve ever drunk. By contrast, my parents have always been happy to drink rot gut with their fancy dinners, and they don’t care because it’s cheap.

    The problem with wines is the same with the book market. Most people are content with crappy best sellers. But they honestly do like them. They have no time or interest in developing their taste. Most people honestly like crappy wine.

    American goat cheese is one of the most boring cheeses ever, but people who think they’re sophisticated jump up and down about its bland, baby-food pablum taste.

    Coca-Cola tastes like battery acid yet most people like that too. However, many of these people like to fool themselves with the notion that they’re sophisticated and have excellent taste when they don’t. It’s just the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    • Agree: kahein
    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    @Anon

    So, you've drank battery acid?

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Unintended Consequence

    , @Roger
    @Anon

    So wine tastes good if an expert recommends it, but not if served at annoying family dinners.

    , @Daniel H
    @Anon


    Coca-Cola tastes like battery acid yet most people like that too
     
    Coca-Cola is sublime.

    Replies: @tyrone, @Reg Cæsar

  32. hmm.

    let’s say you’re a bay area techie with some cash to play with and heterosexual aspirations.

    which script is going to get Ryan Gosling–the one about the techie, or the one about the boutique winery owner?

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Discordiax


    heterosexual aspirations
     

    which script is going to get Ryan Gosling
     
    https://img.thedailybeast.com/image/upload/c_crop,d_placeholder_euli9k,h_1688,w_3000,x_0,y_0/dpr_2.0/c_limit,w_740/fl_lossy,q_auto/v1655314010/061622-ryangosling-barbie_uvi1kc.jpg

    https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/06/margot.jpg

    Replies: @Stan Adams, @R.G. Camara

  33. @Anonymous
    I mean they may be able to tell a marginal difference, or atleast they can predict which wine is which ever so slightly better than chance. But that may be a select few and most of the rich nerds are still pretending. It might be almost perfectly analogous to the modern art scene you mentioned that the vast majority playing and collecting are poseurs while a few can tell the difference between real high quality modern art from fakes and monkeys a bit better than chance.

    Only partially related but reminds me how Europeans, both Continentals and British always insisted that French wines were universally leagues ahead and mountains above American wines, until some Americans convinced a British restaurateur who only used French wines in his establishment because he was convinced of their superiority to fund a blind taste test competition in France with French Judges. To the shock of the French Judges they rated almost all the American wines above almost all the French wines in the Blind taste test, an almost universal and massive routing victory by the American wines.

    Some people disputed the results. There were four further blind taste testing competitions, 2 in 1978, 2 in 1986, all with mostly French Judges. The American Wines completely routed the French Wines in all 5 blind taste testing competitions. There was yet another tasting 30 years after the first one and American Wines took the top 4 spots and routed the French Wines yet again for the sixth time.

    Replies: @stillCARealist, @Anon, @John Johnson, @Rooster16, @Hypnotoad666

    As a former wine drinker I can confirm. After spending years drinking CA wines I thought I should branch out and find the good French wines. Well, I spent a lot of money, but I never found good French wine. It was all blah, regardless of price. The word most often associated with their wine? Watery.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    @stillCARealist

    Californa wines are pretty good - how they get the delicate strawberry flavour into some Zinfandels I'll never know - hopefully not with strawberry concentrate.

    Aussie wine in the 1970s were a bit of a joke, but now they are really good - Aussie Shiraz is my go-to red. But even Pythons have been edited for today's sensitivities - the line about 'Chateau Legaupna - guaranteed to prise open the legs of even the most reluctant sheila' from this 1972 record has vanished.


    Another good fighting wine is 'Melbourne Old-and-Yellow', which is particularly heavy, and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat.

    Quite the reverse is true of 'Chateau Chunder', which is an appellation controlee especially grown for those keen on regurgitation -- a fine wine which really opens up the sluices at both ends.

    Real emetic fans will also go for a 'Hobart Muddy', and a prize winning 'Cuvee Reserve Chateau Bottled Nuit San Wogga Wogga', which has a bouquet like an aborigine's armpit.
     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cozw088w44Q
  34. @NJ Transit Commuter
    When I was a younger man and had the means to so for the first time, I would splurge on wine now and again. I could definitely tell the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle of wine, but once you got beyond that, I couldn’t really differentiate. There may be people with who can, but why should I waste money if I cannot? That was my conclusion.

    For the business I’m in, it is helpful for entertaining clients to have a basic understanding of wine, and it is fun to pick a bottle that goes well with what you are eating. But, at least for me that doesn’t have much correlation to the price of the bottle.

    Replies: @International Jew, @stillCARealist, @Currahee, @Recently Based, @J1234

    What about single malt Scotch? Is that a motivator for the clients? That’s all I’ll touch now, and it can get expensive PDQ. Fortunately it only takes an ounce of the firewater to make me cry Uncle.

    And yes, there is quite the range of quality from rotgut up to exquisite. But I’ve never spent more than about \$50/bottle, so I can’t say if the correlation continues up linearly beyond that.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @stillCARealist


    I can’t say if the correlation continues up linearly beyond that.
     
    It doesn't, and this holds true in all fields. First you pay 10x for a 1% improvement, then you pay another 10x for no improvement at all, just bragging rights. Veblen goods, IOW.
    , @Barbarossa
    @stillCARealist

    I'm a scotch and whiskey drinker myself and find that this is the case. There a ton of really solid bottles for $35 to $60 a pop. Anything less than that is nasty and anything more is diminishing returns. I'll get an $70 or $80 now and then for a special occasion just for fun, and while they are good they aren't really THAT much better.

    I think it also holds true for wine and beer. The top end is just for stupid people with stupid money to show off. It's like some Saudi prince eating gold plates chicken nuggets...pure wankery.

    Replies: @Brutusale

  35. Anon[218] • Disclaimer says:

    The answer is no.

    However, amusingly enough, wine critics have not seldom been found to be taste blind. (No firm citation available, I’m afraid.) Perhaps that explained the unique and bizarre wine descriptions of Auberon Waugh’s?

    A more difficult problem is what we might call vintage fraud, which is rebottling a younger vintage into the bottle of an older (and more expensive) one. You’re liable to marvel at how young and fresh it seems in spite of its age.

    Re: red vs white, it’s well known. If you want to be serious about blind tasting you can get wine glasses like the following.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Anon

    I'm certain that I could tell the difference between a red and a white, blind. I'm prety sure I could also tell Pinot Noir vs. Merlot and Chardonnay vs. Pinot Grigio but I'd probably have a hard time with Pinot Noir vs. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio vs. Sauvignon Blanc.

    I can (at least, I think I can) discern bouquet, feel, tannic, dry, fruit-forward, aftertaste, buttery/garlic-y, and melon-y. With some systematic technique and repeated tastings, I could probably throw in the concept of "balanced" with all that as well.

    But that's about it. So wine, beer, whiskey, art, cigars, etc., just find out what you like and buy it.

    I agree with other commenters that there are some definite price points. I'd put it between $15 and $50. A family member once bought us a $200 Cabernet at a restaurant and it was noticeably wonderful. Restaurants mark-up aggressively so I figure $50.

    If I ever really decided to go down the oenophile rabbit hole, I'd adopt Dr. Ann Noble's Wine Wheel. I might put that on my bucket list: assemble all the ingredients to train my palate for systematic wine-tasting and post reviews on the Internet. Then >> profit. (PS: I've got a pretty humble bucket list).

    https://www.winearomawheel.com/

    Sensory perceptions can be trained up. Bakers, for instance, can discern moisture content within single digit percentages. Piano tuners can discern, IIRC, eighth-tones.

    There's also lack of uniform practices by vintners and variations in plant genetics and local conditions.

    Replies: @Rocker, @Unintended Consequence

  36. Personally, my own sense of taste and smell is like that of a child whose most sophisticated opinion is that while McDonalds fries taste better than Burger King fries, Burger King burgers taste better than McDonalds burgers.

    So, I only buy box wine at Costco.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fallible-mind/201708/why-advertising-falls-flat-in-individuals-autism

    Not saying you have autism, Steve, but my assumption is that you share enough in common with the stereotypical autiste–namely, an inability (unwillingness?) to delude yourself with popular and/or pretentious bullshit, thereby enabling you to not only recognize that the emperor has no clothes, but to also state exactly that–that perhaps that’s what’s at play here.

    Didn’t those freakonomics guys do a whole “Wine is Bullshit” thing a long time ago?

    Closing with a personal anecdote: When I first moved to NYC I was chatting with a sommelier at bar and asked for a 101 on appreciating fine wines. His response: “Any idiot can spend a bunch of money on a bottle of wine. The mark of a connoisseur is one spends the least amount of money on a wine he really enjoys, whether that be some ‘fine wine’ or a Two Buck Chuck.”

    • Replies: @Luddite in Chief
    @Matthew Kelly


    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fallible-mind/201708/why-advertising-falls-flat-in-individuals-autism
     
    I wonder if the author of this article might be mistaking autism for cheapskatism?

    From the article:


    Instead, the autistic shopper focuses on what really matters: ingredients, price, and the necessity of even owning the product.
     
    I was not aware there were any other considerations. Is this a bad sign?

    And at the risk of putting myself further in the "autistic" camp, I would have put the third of the above considerations first. "Why do I even need this in the first place?" is the very first question I ask myself before any purchase and I am surprised at how often the answer turns out to be, "I don't need it, but someone else is attempting to convince me I do."

    In any case, thank you for posting the link to that article. Quite intriguing.

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon

  37. Since Silicon Valley nerds were mentioned in ownership of Napa Valley wineries, maybe someone should look at Austin Tx nerds and ownership of Texas Hill Country Wineries.

    https://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/wineries/

  38. @Jonathan Mason
    Although an expensive wine may taste better on the first mouthful or even the first glass, in the end a cheaper wine gets you drunk just as well, and after the first glass it starts to taste a lot better.

    You might as well argue the same thing about expensive brands of spirit drinks like single malt whiskeys and vodkas. To me they all have a slight mouth feel of gasoline, though of course you can mix them with Coca-Cola or orange juice to improve the flavor.

    Or even expensive shampoos and soaps. They might look or feel a bit better than cheap brands, but in the end all they do is dissolve grease.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon, @Gordo, @John Johnson, @Bill Jones

    First bottle relatively good Aus or NZ or Chile, after that once you are lit get into £5 a pop Moldova finest 🇲🇩 🍷

  39. McDonalds fries taste better than Burger King fries, Burger King burgers taste better than McDonalds burgers.

    In this time when journalism is a matter of lying and obfuscating openly and shamelessly, reading truth so purely stated is bracing. Thank you.

  40. @Anonymous
    I mean they may be able to tell a marginal difference, or atleast they can predict which wine is which ever so slightly better than chance. But that may be a select few and most of the rich nerds are still pretending. It might be almost perfectly analogous to the modern art scene you mentioned that the vast majority playing and collecting are poseurs while a few can tell the difference between real high quality modern art from fakes and monkeys a bit better than chance.

    Only partially related but reminds me how Europeans, both Continentals and British always insisted that French wines were universally leagues ahead and mountains above American wines, until some Americans convinced a British restaurateur who only used French wines in his establishment because he was convinced of their superiority to fund a blind taste test competition in France with French Judges. To the shock of the French Judges they rated almost all the American wines above almost all the French wines in the Blind taste test, an almost universal and massive routing victory by the American wines.

    Some people disputed the results. There were four further blind taste testing competitions, 2 in 1978, 2 in 1986, all with mostly French Judges. The American Wines completely routed the French Wines in all 5 blind taste testing competitions. There was yet another tasting 30 years after the first one and American Wines took the top 4 spots and routed the French Wines yet again for the sixth time.

    Replies: @stillCARealist, @Anon, @John Johnson, @Rooster16, @Hypnotoad666

    The first one known as ‘the Judgment of Paris’. Not quite as decisive as you describe it but shocking enough. The judges’ scoring shown in the link below.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Paris_(wine)

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Anon

    Yeah I admit the original judgement wasn't as much of a landslide as I imagined. The 5 ones after it were though, massive landslides.

  41. For those with limited resources, it’s an issue of diminishing returns. Take Champagne, for example. Veuve Clicquot is very good. Dom Perignon is even better. However, Dom costs five times as much as Veuve. Is Dom five times better? I’ve had both and I say “no way”.

    But if I were so wealthy that the \$200 price difference between the two was not a relevant amount of money to me, I’d drink Dom every time. And that’s the demographic profile of high-end wine consumers.

    • Replies: @Charlesz Martel
    @Giant Duck

    In my opinion the best deal on Champagne (Although not technically a Champagne) is Domaine Carneros. It is the California version of Tattinger, about half the price of the French one. I can tell then apart, but the difference is very slight for a half-priced product. It is by far the best American sparkling wine.

    California wines are all sweeter than they should be, but Americans like sweet food and drink. There are good California wines made to French standards, but they cost twice what better French wines do.

    Tbe American wine market has caused a global shift in wine sweetness, as Americans were considered a huge untapped market since the 70's, and vintners moved their wines toward the American palate, such as it is.

    The best deals in wine are Cameron Hughes. You can find some very good deals if you know what you're doing and follow the latest on the conpany's offerings. There are blogs that discuss their products at length.

    I haven't checked in a few years, so this info may not be current.

    Most people do not appreciate fine food or drink. But try an experiment for yourself.

    Go buy a Hershey bar and then go to Aldi's and buy a chocolate bar. Taste both, compare the prices, and get back to me. The Aldi product is way cheaper and far better.

    Then order some truffles from Leonidas.

    You'll think you've died and went to heaven. You'll realize that you had never tasted good chocolate in your life before then.

    You can all thank me later.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Barbarossa

  42. I missed the story about Serra’s sculpture at the time, but it shows how history repeats itself. The location isn’t specified (there are many ‘Biological Sciences’ buildings at Caltech), but it was probably the ‘Court of Man’, between Beckman Behavioral Sciences and the social sciences/humanities building, a popular spot for playing Ultimate.

    When I was a Caltech undergrad, around 1980, a temporary scuplture was placed diagonally across the Court of Man, consisting of a long cardboard tube ~12 inches in diameter with periodic circular fringes, called “Horizontal Piller”. During a discussion that evening, the Ultimate players complained about it, and (I? someone else?) suggested moving it, so we all went out and moved the excrescence to the side of the space.

    I was somewhat surprised to see us all denounced by the artist as Nazis afterwards. I had some very interresting discussions about the situation with a postdoc in the lab I then worked at—he was then buying inexpensive pieces of art that he liked at LA galleries, some of which, decades later, I saw on loan at an exhibit at the Whitney in NYC. A key point he made was that vast abstract hunks like Serra’s piece are popular with the bosses because they are content-free and don’t offend people for artistic reasons.

    We then replied to the Nazi accusations by placing a small broken lab refrigerator in the middle of the space with an art card labeling it “Vertical Piller” with a paragraph of art-talk that my friend helped me with that, for those with functioning minds (may not include the horizontal piller guy) was a sarcastic sendup of the original pompous sculpture.

  43. Anonymous[239] • Disclaimer says:

    So, I only buy box wine at Costco.


    “Steve, is this a Château Margaux?”

    • Replies: @Ganderson
    @Anonymous

    One of my favorite episodes. Donald Pleasance kills his brother to prevent him from selling the family winery to the fictionalized Gallos. Columbo becomes a wine connoisseur in order to catch him.

  44. Although an expensive wine may taste better on the first mouthful or even the first glass, in the end a cheaper wine gets you drunk just as well, and after the first glass it starts to taste a lot better.

    Yep. Your observation is embedded in the Gospel story of the Wedding Feast of Cana when Jesus turned water into wine:

    And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

    The headwaiters who served the wine way back then used that same timeless logic.

    When I was a non-wine-drinking kid and heard that Gospel story at Sunday Mass, I didn’t get that part. But I learned it pretty fast when I started drinking wine as an adult.

    BTW, the Value/Price curve for vodka flattens asymptotically even faster.

    • Replies: @Unintended Consequence
    @Neutral Observer

    It would be fun for someone to graph the value vs price of booze, the diminishing returns (or something like that).

  45. I’m someone who likes to drink vinegar in small amounts.

  46. ‘Fine wine’, like ‘fine modern art’, is an open field for gaslighting and BS. Maybe some can tell the difference between a \$8 bottle and a \$100 bottle of ‘fine, artisinal, ethical’ wine but I can’t. This is why I stick to beer, since the price difference between corporate chemical-flavored water, and the finest craft brew, is only several dollars per 6, so even if I make a mistake and guess wrong when I go for the best, I’m not out much.

  47. @NJ Transit Commuter
    When I was a younger man and had the means to so for the first time, I would splurge on wine now and again. I could definitely tell the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle of wine, but once you got beyond that, I couldn’t really differentiate. There may be people with who can, but why should I waste money if I cannot? That was my conclusion.

    For the business I’m in, it is helpful for entertaining clients to have a basic understanding of wine, and it is fun to pick a bottle that goes well with what you are eating. But, at least for me that doesn’t have much correlation to the price of the bottle.

    Replies: @International Jew, @stillCARealist, @Currahee, @Recently Based, @J1234

    LOL! Pretentious wine tomfoolery is one of the more hilarious charades extant. Family Cribari in a big jug will do the job just fine.

  48. As far as consumer snobbery, wine snobbishness is an especially unforgivable sin, in my anything-but-humble opinion. Hearing some self-important blowhard describe an “amusing little wine in which one detects subtle notes of vanilla, caramel and aged offal in a delicately fecal arrangement redolent of sweat socks, mothballs and skunk” can inspire me to violence.

    But my real pet peeve is coffee snobs. Blame Starbucks. Blame Amazon. Blame Food Network. Blame all of Washington state, perhaps. But blame someone, because those insufferable millennial twerps with their civet-shat, panko-crusted, shaken-not-stirred Franken-coffees want badly for some old school arse-whuppin’ for their insolence.

    The next smug, scruffy-bearded hipster who orders a “double-skinny caramel frappa-latte with three pumps, no froth” should have his e-cig shoved so far up his hemp bike-shorted arse that he blinks pale blue from his bulging eyeballs. Even if its my own traitorous son.

    Wanna stop civilization in its tracks? Get on the queue at Starbucks and when you finally osmose to the front of the line, demand “a cup of coffee”. Then delight in watching a 21 year old barista’s wheels fall off.

    This Sunday morning rant was brought to you courtesy of the usual two cups of black espresso. I am Moe Gibbs and I aver that my cheap Big Box beans are most assuredly not sustainably harvested.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    @Moe Gibbs

    Let's not forget "carefully curated" which pins my BS meter to 11.

    Curated? Really? Are you running a museum here?

    , @Peter D. Bredon
    @Moe Gibbs

    The comparison with coffee is informative. I recall the days before Starbucks when we drank the most horrible stuff from the cafeteria (which a prof called 'the Coffee Department"); remember the "coffee machines" where a little cup would pop out, some vile powder will fall in (maybe some powdered "cream" and "sugar" if you wanted), then hot water. Voila!

    And that watery sludge from "percolators" in diners? Those pots sitting on the burners for hours?

    I despise Starbucks as both a company and a style of coffee (burnt tar) but if they were responsible for getting people to demand better coffee, then hat's off to them.

    Of course, nobody knew any better because everyone was smoking 3 packs of Camels a day.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @Charlesz Martel

  49. @J.Ross
    This was a story a million years ago, a related one was classical music reviewers not being able to distinguish recordings.

    Replies: @Barnard, @Je Suis Omar Mateen, @Paul Mendez, @Shhjjkjcf

    Wine differences are much more subtle than classical recording/performance differences.

    If you mean comparing a digitally remastered recording to the original analog, yeah, it’s just about impossible to distinguish. And it is literally impossible, even for trained engineers, to distinguish low-resolution from high-resolution recordings, such as CD versus Blu-ray. But if you’re saying classical mavens can’t distinguish John Gardiner’s Beethoven from Thomas Tilson’s Beethoven, that’s total and complete bulls**t.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    It was reviewers holding forth on the difference between two recordings (I think both were digital) and it turned out to be the same recording.

    Replies: @Rodger Dodger

  50. Fine wine is overrated but cheap wine is garbage.

    People that say the \$10 Trader Joe wines are “fine” have terrible taste. They are a step up from hobo wine but they taste cheap.

    But that doesn’t mean that you have to spend \$50. I’d never spend that much on wine. Maybe \$30 on champagne at the most.

    Costco has some good wines in the \$14-20 range.

    Colossal Reserva is a good one.

    Chloe Pinot Grigio.

    Avoid anything with hands or horses on the label.

    If you ever do wine tasting it becomes clear that half the public doesn’t know what they like and would rather be told what to drink.

    • Agree: Spangel226
    • Replies: @Rocko
    @John Johnson

    But what if you just want to get plastered? Me, I'm not much of a drinker and not a fan of wine but if I want to get drunk I'll just get the jug of wine with the horses. I'm not an elitist.

    No wonder that in the slave trading days when European slave catchers paid African slave catchers with brandy or rum the slave catchers would make fun of Europeans and their "sophisticated" sense of taste which meant paying more for a bottle of wine whena bottle of rum was cheaper and got the job of inebriation much quicker.

    Replies: @John Johnson

    , @slumber_j
    @John Johnson

    All correct in my opinion. And as I'm being reminded on my current vacation, in Europe acceptable wine is a lot cheaper than that. But yeah: really cheap wine is almost invariably hard to choke down.

    , @Hangnail Hans
    @John Johnson


    If you ever do wine tasting it becomes clear that half the public doesn’t know what they like and would rather be told what to drink.
     
    And what to think, to extend a metaphor.
  51. Purchasing high-priced art and fine wines are simply an expression of social dominance. The same with shopping at department stores, rich people are prepared to be gouged for the benefit of avoiding the Commoners.

  52. “One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. “Good” is no longer good when one’s neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a “common good”! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

    Fine wines are absolutely not a hoax. How could they be? Think of all the manifold factors that influence the final result. Different grape varieties, different soils and microclimates, different weather from year to year, different aging methods—there is so much variety here that it allows those twin mistresses, Chance and Skill, to coax out rare and delightful combinations that amaze the senses. I know a good sommelier, and I attend tastings once every couple of months or so. There can be no doubt about the fact that some wines are incredibly special.

    Have you ever had a good amontillado? Have you ever experienced that incredible transition where, in a single sip, the taste profile changes from briny green olives, to warm melted butter, to chocolate covered almonds? It’s magical. Now compare that to the flat taste of a grocery store marsala. You can see at once that there is a certain similarity there, but also that one is a pale imitation of the other.

    In all matters of taste, it is impossible that the fine should not exist. Is fine sushi a hoax? Is good tobacco a hoax? Heirloom tomatoes compared to mass market reds? Is wagyu beef the same as ground chuck? French baguette and Wonderbread? Is good cooking in general “a hoax”? Anybody who would seriously entertain the idea is, to be frank, a clod.

    The differences are all in the details, the particulars of process, you might say in the “breeding” of the ingredients. You would think that a forum full of HBD enthusiasts would appreciate this, but once again you manage to get it wrong at the very juncture where your predilections would have predicted success.

    Here, then, is some Real Science!™ for you. It’s from the TV show Mythbusters, which I know some of you have watched before. I’m sorry about the quality of the recording, but it should be pretty fun nonetheless. This myth involves not wine, but vodka; I figured it would still be applicable. The myth in question was whether you could buy a cheap bottle of vodka and make it taste like top shelf vodka by running it through a charcoal water filter. They bought a real bottle of top shelf vodka as a control, and then they ran the cheap vodka through the filter zero times, one time, and all the way up to six times. They brought in a professional spirit taster to help judge the results. The interesting thing to me is not whether the myth was busted or not, but the fact that the spirit taster nailed every single sample: He correctly named the top shelf vodka, the cheap vodka, and all of the filtration sequences, one through six, in the correct order.

    Lest anyone ever tell you again that those wine judges are just making it up, show them this.

    • Replies: @Justvisiting
    @Intelligent Dasein

    "Is good tobacco a hoax?"

    I know nothing about wines, but cigars (Cuban and non Cuban) are in my wheel-house.

    Blind taste tests have made a lot of cigar "experts" look like fools, just as described earlier in this thread.

    Cuban cigars are particularly confusing since there can be crazy quality variation even within the same box as well as by year and factory.

    Cuban just tripled and quadrupled the prices on Cohiba and Trinidad. At their best these can be amazing cigars, but in blind taste tests a Juan Lopez (at 20% of the price) has been known to be confused with a (possibly sub par) Cohiba.

    So--good tobacco is not a hoax, but many of the "experts" are useless.

    There is one other factor with tobacco and I suspect it applies to wine as well.

    Different people do have different taste preferences and different levels of ability to taste and appreciate fine tobacco.

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon

    , @Esso
    @Intelligent Dasein


    warm melted butter
     
    Thanks for the warning.

    But you see, all those associations are why you can't trust your sense of smell. It conflates aromas, depending on the memory of the dishes you have eaten. I have scented and pinpointed mushrooms and animals a number of times, but almost every time the first thing I picked up was the smell of food, with spices that could not have been there in the forest.

    Wine does have an incredible variety of aromas to be derived from a single species (artic bramble /nagoonberry has an even bigger aromatic support, the liqueur is worth a try if you can find a fresh bottle), I'm not saying the talk about hints of x and y is all bullshit. I once tasted plum jam in an Australian wine and I really liked it, reminded me of arctic bramble. But then a few months later on a boxing day visit I saw the same label of wine on the table, poured and took a sip... and the taste wasn't there. I read the backside where it said "body of plum" or something of the sort.

    Because of the different sorts of wine there is a novelty/variety value in wines, some sorts having a limited supply that drives up prices, which is then exarcerbated by signaling and acquired tastes. But bottles over 1000 $ call for a money laundering or tax avoidance investigation in my opinion.
    , @Twinkie
    @Intelligent Dasein


    Fine wines are absolutely not a hoax. How could they be? Think of all the manifold factors that influence the final result. Different grape varieties, different soils and microclimates, different weather from year to year, different aging methods—there is so much variety here that it allows those twin mistresses, Chance and Skill, to coax out rare and delightful combinations that amaze the senses.
     
    In this, I agree wholeheartedly and believe you are absolutely correct.

    But it is also absolutely irrelevant in our social and national context - because the vast majority of human beings have neither the ability nor the inclination to engage in the inculcation of fine senses. And our country is not France or Japan, in which countries there is still widely-held and -admired adherence to artisanal traditions and pursuit of perfection in craftmanship.

    It is like this with all manners of goods. The market is mostly geared toward that which satisfies the whims (and often base instincts) of, say, 80-90% of the consumers. The goal, then, becomes the delivery of such products at the lowest competitive and profitable price possible. This means that the small fraction of people who truly appreciate and enjoy more exalted taste (and those who merely seek to imitate this taste) will have to indulge in goods of far more uneconomic prices. Is a $3,000 Wilson Combat 1911 six times the gun a Glock 19 is? The answer is clearly no and that economic calculation determines the choice of the vast majority of consumers and in turn the entire, non-niche, market.

    I've mentioned this repeatedly in the past. Increasingly, this economy appears polarized. Middle class products of decent quality and workmanship are vanishing in many goods categories (electronics excepted, for example) and the market is bifurcated into cheap junks of low quality and durability on one hand and the truly high-end products that serve the enlarged affluent class. It's not just wine - it's furniture, leather goods, etc.

    Recently I got tired of plastic tumblers and cups for use at pool-side that would warp, become cloudy, and otherwise have sharp edges. I had to order plastic cups made in Japan.

    Replies: @6dust6

    , @hhsiii
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Generalizing, but yeah, $50 wines usually taste a bit better than $10. There’s also some wines that have sold better once the price was raised. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is no better than Pinot Grigio which costs less than half as much.

    I love finding a good $10-15 wine. But often one vintage will be ok then they’ll overproduce it from then on.

    I can tell a Pinot Noir from a Cab, from a Chianti. If you drink enough you get better at it. My wife didn’t drink much wine growing up but has a better palate than I do. She can tell when I try to sneak an $8 Sauvignon Blanc past her.

    I had a roommate once who taught me a lot about wine. He worked retail. Once I went to a tasting with him and he identified a 1982 Pichon Baron blind. He said oh we had this at the store last week. Pretty sure it wasn’t a parlor trick. Anyway that was great, he got discounts, was a great cook and I would drink great stuff he brought home and just chip in a little for dinner.

    I wish I could afford to drink Romanee Conti now and then, or Haut Brion etc once a week, or Far Niente whatever, or Montelena (which I think is the ‘73 California which beat the French). Not to show off, but just to drink at home by myself (ok my wife can have a glass). It really is better than plonk. But I rarely spend more than $20.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

  53. @YetAnotherAnon
    "For example, there has been a vast influx into the wine industry over the last half century of rich Silicon Valley nerds. Are you saying they all agreed to propagate the ancient hoaxes about fine wine rather than figure out some way to prosper by beating the system?"

    Wine is better than modern art in that you can drink it, and generally expensive wine is nicer than cheap wine. But by expensive I mean £10-15...

    Think of it the silicon god's investment as more like Marie-Antoinette's little farm at Versailles.

    But people do and will pay. In a French hypermarket a few weeks ago, I gazed longingly at a case of Chateau Lafite before settling for something I could afford. My usual wine-shop method in France when faced with a lot of new and unknown wines is to follow some little old lady's trolley and choose what she chooses!

    https://www.auchan.fr/boissons/la-grande-cave-auchan/vin/ca-7378053?sort=-price_pos208&page=1

    Replies: @Recently Based

    I lived in Paris for a number of years, and can’t agree more strongly.

    In my experience, and contrary to the stereotypes, while the French really do know (French) wines and prefer quality, in most settings they laugh at the dudes who are talking about “notes of apricot” or whatever.

    Wine is another item in the meal, and judged as such. They rarely pay more than 15 – 20 euros for a bottle of wine, and if you shop like the French, this is enough for an excellent bottle that complements your meal extremely well.

  54. @Discordiax
    hmm.

    let's say you're a bay area techie with some cash to play with and heterosexual aspirations.

    which script is going to get Ryan Gosling--the one about the techie, or the one about the boutique winery owner?

    Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    heterosexual aspirations

    which script is going to get Ryan Gosling

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    A movie featuring two blonde whites in a healthy romantic relationship? I seriously can’t even. I mean … it’s 2022, people!

    Actually, I was scrolling *up* through the comments (I do that a lot) and I saw the bottom pictures first. My initial reaction was, “Why is Anderson Cooper wearing a cowboy outfit?”

    They used to say that if Barbie were a real person she’d be 7’2” (based on the proportions of the doll). This was one of the factors behind the creation of Body Positive (Fat) Barbie - “Little girls are starving themselves to achieve an unobtainable ideal!”

    You never hear anyone complaining that little boys are growing up with unrealistic male role models.

    Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    , @R.G. Camara
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    I remember when big fat unpopular Amy Schumer was attached to this movie. The internet revolted, and one-star Amy was sent back to her family reunions with uncle Chuck Schumer. (But don't call her a privileged JAP!)


    Now they just have box office poison Margot Robbie, she of the "woke" Suicide Squad/Harley Quinn films. Good luck!

  55. I can distinguish more flavors and ingredients than most people I dine with but I am a huge fan of Three Buck Chuck. If you don’t want people judging you for Chuck, pick up some five dollar wines from TJs with other labels.

    I only remember three wines in my life that I thought went way, way beyond Chiuck, the most recent being Tokaj shipped by the case by a Hungarian for a wedding. The other two were moderately priced or inexpensive by wine review standards, \$20 to \$30 the bottle.

  56. Leave wine-tasting to the pygmies, who literally have better taste: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/pygmy-sommelier/

  57. @John Johnson
    Fine wine is overrated but cheap wine is garbage.

    People that say the $10 Trader Joe wines are "fine" have terrible taste. They are a step up from hobo wine but they taste cheap.

    But that doesn't mean that you have to spend $50. I'd never spend that much on wine. Maybe $30 on champagne at the most.

    Costco has some good wines in the $14-20 range.

    Colossal Reserva is a good one.

    Chloe Pinot Grigio.

    Avoid anything with hands or horses on the label.

    If you ever do wine tasting it becomes clear that half the public doesn't know what they like and would rather be told what to drink.

    Replies: @Rocko, @slumber_j, @Hangnail Hans

    But what if you just want to get plastered? Me, I’m not much of a drinker and not a fan of wine but if I want to get drunk I’ll just get the jug of wine with the horses. I’m not an elitist.

    No wonder that in the slave trading days when European slave catchers paid African slave catchers with brandy or rum the slave catchers would make fun of Europeans and their “sophisticated” sense of taste which meant paying more for a bottle of wine whena bottle of rum was cheaper and got the job of inebriation much quicker.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
    @Rocko

    But what if you just want to get plastered? Me, I’m not much of a drinker and not a fan of wine but if I want to get drunk I’ll just get the jug of wine with the horses. I’m not an elitist.

    Yuck. I can't stand the acres of dead horses wine. Not even a sip.

    If you want to get drunk on the cheap then I would suggest a light beer you can stand with some lime and a shot of tequila dropped into it. The beer will hide pretty cheap tequila. Slam or sip it.

    That cheap costco wine grosses me out. I really can't stand it.

    My relatives drink it and they would probably enjoy an evening of boxed wine with Steve.

    Sad thing is that they can afford much better and yet they buy acres of dead horses or stinky feet. I've brought over a $19 bottle of costco wine that they marveled over. But I know full well that once they enter those costco doors they cannot resist the price of boxed wine.

  58. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Anyone else here in a summertime Eurotrash Med mood? Salud

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeE8_DCvXlY

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c750nVozwN0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1YH-1ySnjg

    Replies: @Dmon, @International Jew

    In America, wine drinking is associated with either social climbing and conspicuous consumption (expensive wine) or defeat and dereliction (cheap wine). How about gettin’ the toes tapping with a little beer-drinking music?

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Dmon


    How about gettin’ the toes tapping with a little beer-drinking music?
     
    Nah, we Continental mode right now

    https://media.giphy.com/media/l0HlxJ8HxkMsgdZJe/giphy.gif


    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/42/d5/28/42d52822a5171d8134add0b662709d74.gif

    Replies: @Anonymous

  59. Are Fine Wines a Hoax?

    Personally, my own sense of taste and smell is like that of a child

    Obligatory

    • LOL: Matthew Kelly
  60. @Anonymous
    I mean they may be able to tell a marginal difference, or atleast they can predict which wine is which ever so slightly better than chance. But that may be a select few and most of the rich nerds are still pretending. It might be almost perfectly analogous to the modern art scene you mentioned that the vast majority playing and collecting are poseurs while a few can tell the difference between real high quality modern art from fakes and monkeys a bit better than chance.

    Only partially related but reminds me how Europeans, both Continentals and British always insisted that French wines were universally leagues ahead and mountains above American wines, until some Americans convinced a British restaurateur who only used French wines in his establishment because he was convinced of their superiority to fund a blind taste test competition in France with French Judges. To the shock of the French Judges they rated almost all the American wines above almost all the French wines in the Blind taste test, an almost universal and massive routing victory by the American wines.

    Some people disputed the results. There were four further blind taste testing competitions, 2 in 1978, 2 in 1986, all with mostly French Judges. The American Wines completely routed the French Wines in all 5 blind taste testing competitions. There was yet another tasting 30 years after the first one and American Wines took the top 4 spots and routed the French Wines yet again for the sixth time.

    Replies: @stillCARealist, @Anon, @John Johnson, @Rooster16, @Hypnotoad666

    I mean they may be able to tell a marginal difference, or at least they can predict which wine is which ever so slightly better than chance. But that may be a select few and most of the rich nerds are still pretending.

    I’m not a wine expert by any means but most of the time I would be able to tell the difference between a cheap wine flight vs a premium. I learned in fact that you should always get the premium flight if you are picking between the two. Odds are you will prefer it overall.

    BUT

    I easily could end up preferring a wine on the basic flight. In fact that has happened and I bought the bottle.

    The posers could never admit that and get talked into buying expensive wine. They would never buy a wine from the basic list and won’t even try it. Some of the vineyards cater entirely to that mentality.

    I detest modern art and I’m not sold on high end wine either. People have differing tastes. During wine tasting you always get some vineyard owner saying “you’re gonna love this” and you have to keep a straight face while tasting it. You really can’t pick the wine you like based on how nice the vineyard looks or how much it costs. Not if you are honest anyways.

    I can have fun wine tasting but at some point I’m like ok let’s stop at 7-11 for some beers for the hotel.

  61. I would say I can instantly recognize a cheap bottle of wine, which is almost always characterized by being dominated by a single characteristic (jammy/fruitiness in particular). But \$25-\$50 is very difficult to tell apart, and above that only rarely have I encountered a bottle where I felt it was truly exceptional. Anyway, for reds I generally stick to the \$25-\$35 a bottle range, whites I will dip into the high teens. There are some roses that are are in the mid-teens that are perfectly suitable for hot evenings.

    • Replies: @ic1000
    @Arclight

    > I would say I can instantly recognize a cheap bottle of wine...

    Yeah, my taste buds are a less-discriminating version of yours.

    On topic, here is a longish 2013 essay by econo-blogger Alex Mayyasi, Is Wine Bull$hit?. It covers similar ground to Sailer's post, but with links.

    Replies: @Pixo, @Arclight

    , @Anonymous
    @Arclight

    Make sure you're not buying cooking wines. These are intended to go in stews etc. They are only a little above vinegar.

    If you buy a really bad wine, and you wonder who on earth is buying it, the answer is usually cooks.

    Replies: @Rodger Dodger

  62. Anon[937] • Disclaimer says:

    I lived in the SF Bay area for a while and got to know the Sonoma Valley and Napa vineyards and wines somewhat well. My experience is that if your red wine comes from a decent domain (e.g., Sonoma County or Alexander Valley) and it was made by somebody who knows what they’re doing, it’ll be good.

    Expect to pay \$15+ for a decent red these days; and \$10+ for a decent white.

    If you want a bargain red, try Petite Syrah. It’s quite good, but not as trendy as Cabs or Zins.

    And avoid wines from the generic “California” domain. That “wine” could be from Bakersfield for all you know.

    Pay attention to the domain – that’s what you’re paying for. And get to know a particular area. I know Sonoma/Napa, so that’s what I buy. I don’t know France or Argentina domains well, so I avoid these wines.

  63. @The Only Catholic Unionist
    No mention of the movie Bottle Shock with the late Alan Rickman ... ? If you have not seen it, run do not walk, as the expression goes ...

    Replies: @Tom F., @Brutusale, @Ben tillman

    Kirkland brand Cabernet Sauvignon box wine is \$13, compared to same amount in three bottles at \$18. Honest moment, I put away the box when people come in the house, even the plumber. “The Status Game” is a great new book by Will Storr.

    My wife and I took a wine-maker course at UCLA, and a wine-making weekend in Sonoma, then did a ‘taste-test’ at the beginning of a dinner party, with 12 “highly educated and respected” types. They (us too!) got bewildered at the five one-ounce tastes, and nobody chose the \$120/bottle wine as the best. The winner was an E&J Gallo blend, and they all pretended not to care that they couldn’t discern quality-as-price. Never tell that story at somebody else’s house, though, as it does not go over with the hosts.

  64. @The Only Catholic Unionist
    No mention of the movie Bottle Shock with the late Alan Rickman ... ? If you have not seen it, run do not walk, as the expression goes ...

    Replies: @Tom F., @Brutusale, @Ben tillman

    “You think I’m an asshole. And I’m not really, it’s just that I’m British and, well, you’re not.”

    Also check out the book Judgment of Paris, which adds a lot of Cali wine history to the story.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    @Brutusale

    https://1movieshd.com/movie/free-bottle-shock-hd-11112

  65. There was a study at the Univ of Bordeaux some years ago wherein experienced wine-tasters were served white wines dyed red with food coloring and asked their assessments. Uniformly, their assessments centered on the “fruitiness” of the wines. The takeaway was that, of the senses, sight overrode taste/smell when it came to signalling the brain.

    Downtown St. Louis has a Serra sculpture whose rusted walls form an irregular polygon. Office workers played wiffle ball within it during lunch hour, in earlier eras when crime was more under control than now. Homage to downtown St. Louis’ biggest (sole?) asset – the baseball Cardinals.

    • Replies: @Flip
    @Russ


    Homage to downtown St. Louis’ biggest (sole?) asset – the baseball Cardinals.
     
    Well, they do have the Gateway Arch. The City Museum is fun. But, yeah, a pathetic downtown for an almost 3 million metro area.
    , @Random Anonymous
    @Russ

    Well, green grapes are fruit too.

  66. @NJ Transit Commuter
    When I was a younger man and had the means to so for the first time, I would splurge on wine now and again. I could definitely tell the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle of wine, but once you got beyond that, I couldn’t really differentiate. There may be people with who can, but why should I waste money if I cannot? That was my conclusion.

    For the business I’m in, it is helpful for entertaining clients to have a basic understanding of wine, and it is fun to pick a bottle that goes well with what you are eating. But, at least for me that doesn’t have much correlation to the price of the bottle.

    Replies: @International Jew, @stillCARealist, @Currahee, @Recently Based, @J1234

    One of the guys I knew in consulting who grew up in Louisiana and was great at putting on the whole southern good ol’ boy schtick was being interviewed by an investment bank as he was graduating from HBS. They did the classic thing of taking him to a fancy restaurant and asking him to order the wine to test his social skills (this was a long time ago). He decided he had zero interest in working with these guys, so when he was handed the menu, he put on his best Gomer Pyle accent and yelled “\$100 a bottle — Hell, I can’t taste past \$10!”

    • Replies: @Faraday's Bobcat
    @Recently Based


    One of the guys I knew in consulting who grew up in Louisiana and was great at putting on the whole southern good ol’ boy schtick was being interviewed by an investment bank as he was graduating from HBS. They did the classic thing of taking him to a fancy restaurant and asking him to order the wine to test his social skills (this was a long time ago).
     
    I would enjoy doing some high-stakes business with such wise and discerning gentlemen.

    On the topic of wine, by definition, nobody likes snobbery. But the interesting question is whether wine experts are able to provide consistent, objective advice. If you give the same wine to 10 experts, do their descriptions cluster about a modal, or does one say it tastes like vanilla orchids and another say it tastes like it ran off of David Allan Coe's boots?
  67. An interesting distinction between New York and Northern Californian rich people is that the former like investing in modern art while the latter prefer investing in vineyards.

    And the similarity is that in both fields what constitutes “Good” is entirely a matter of unverifiable opinion.

  68. All I know about wines is that back in 1988, I bought my housemate/landlord and his new bride four bottles of premier cru Bordeaux when he got married and I moved on—Chateau Lafite, Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, and Chateau Margaux.

    They were priced at about \$75 a bottle, and I thought I should splurge because he’d kept the rent low for me.

    Grateful young fool that I was, I should have kept two bottles for myself. Two was plenty for them.

    I’m no wine drinker, and never have been, but as the decades passed, I slowly realized that the purchasing power of disposable income in dollars was probably never again as high as it was in the late 1980s. Those vintage wines are \$2000 a bottle or more in my local fine wines store— when and if they can get hold of a case for themselves, and choose to sell it by the bottle. I could never get myself to drink wine that expensive.

  69. For the most part.

    There’s rarely a reason for normal folks to spend more than \$20 to 25 on a bottle outside special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays.

    There’s a Spanish red available that’s about \$15 a bottle that rated 95 pts in one of the big wine mags. That rating holds up to my palate.

    • Replies: @David Jones
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    Spanish is the best reasonably priced red. They don't dump in the sulphites like the Chileans, and the wines aren't as thin as the French.
    On the main subject, the most expensive wine I've tasted was a Christmas tip from a customer whose husband had business in South Africa. Normally she gives away something that would be $10 in the US, for which I'm grateful,(at least it's something), but this wine looked like it would be more expensive as it had a very plain label. A plain Shiraz from South Africa, Boekenhoutskloof, about 8 years old. I looked up the last known price, around $75 US. Best I ever tasted, normally the most I'd spend would be the equivalent of $25. I did wonder whether she got mixed up with some cheaper stuff.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard

  70. @Jonathan Mason
    Although an expensive wine may taste better on the first mouthful or even the first glass, in the end a cheaper wine gets you drunk just as well, and after the first glass it starts to taste a lot better.

    You might as well argue the same thing about expensive brands of spirit drinks like single malt whiskeys and vodkas. To me they all have a slight mouth feel of gasoline, though of course you can mix them with Coca-Cola or orange juice to improve the flavor.

    Or even expensive shampoos and soaps. They might look or feel a bit better than cheap brands, but in the end all they do is dissolve grease.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon, @Gordo, @John Johnson, @Bill Jones

    You might as well argue the same thing about expensive brands of spirit drinks like single malt whiskeys and vodkas. To me they all have a slight mouth feel of gasoline, though of course you can mix them with Coca-Cola or orange juice to improve the flavor.

    I think liquor is actually where you have the biggest difference between high and low.

    A \$30 tequila and a \$12 tequila even when mixed will be completely noticeable. Cheap rum is awful even when mixed with Coke.

    But it definitely tops out. I don’t buy the high end bourbon market at all. \$60 bourbon is marketing. Same for vodka.

    • Agree: PiltdownMan, Barbarossa
    • Replies: @jejej
    @John Johnson

    Alcohol tastes disgusting. Every baby knows that.

    Ot makes some sense to pay for getting the same drunk experience for less grossness, and Johnny Blue hurts a lot less going down than Johnny Black.

    So if the casino is paying, make them pay for the Johnny Blue.

    As for the rest of it --- it largely has to donwoth your associations with the product.

    If you got sick as a dog drinking $5,000 bourbon then Budweiser is likely to be a more intoxicating beverage for you.

    That's why advertising works. If they can create neuro connections for you between dog shit and feeling confident then when you eat dog shit you will feel confident. At least sonling as you remain in the privacy of your own home and advertising programming without counter input from people with olfactory senses.

  71. @Jonathan Mason
    Although an expensive wine may taste better on the first mouthful or even the first glass, in the end a cheaper wine gets you drunk just as well, and after the first glass it starts to taste a lot better.

    You might as well argue the same thing about expensive brands of spirit drinks like single malt whiskeys and vodkas. To me they all have a slight mouth feel of gasoline, though of course you can mix them with Coca-Cola or orange juice to improve the flavor.

    Or even expensive shampoos and soaps. They might look or feel a bit better than cheap brands, but in the end all they do is dissolve grease.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon, @Gordo, @John Johnson, @Bill Jones

    Although an expensive wine may taste better on the first mouthful or even the first glass, in the end a cheaper wine gets you drunk just as well, and after the first glass it starts to taste a lot better.

    But the French have a saying: Only the first bottle is expensive.

  72. @Rob
    David Baltimore is President of CalTech? The David Baltimore who’s responsible for the modern virological classification system?

    He must be ninety or so.

    Replies: @PiltdownMan

    He’s 84, and is President Emeritus, which he has been since the age of 70.

  73. @Arclight
    I would say I can instantly recognize a cheap bottle of wine, which is almost always characterized by being dominated by a single characteristic (jammy/fruitiness in particular). But $25-$50 is very difficult to tell apart, and above that only rarely have I encountered a bottle where I felt it was truly exceptional. Anyway, for reds I generally stick to the $25-$35 a bottle range, whites I will dip into the high teens. There are some roses that are are in the mid-teens that are perfectly suitable for hot evenings.

    Replies: @ic1000, @Anonymous

    > I would say I can instantly recognize a cheap bottle of wine…

    Yeah, my taste buds are a less-discriminating version of yours.

    On topic, here is a longish 2013 essay by econo-blogger Alex Mayyasi, Is Wine Bull\$hit?. It covers similar ground to Sailer’s post, but with links.

    • Replies: @Pixo
    @ic1000

    That link is great.

    Once you reach a point where you have spent 10 or 20 thousand on a hoax, it becomes very hard to admit the swindle.

    So no matter how strong the evidence, the mind closes down to it. That’s how scammers keep milking their marks even when the scam should be obvious.

    The cheapest wines I have had were Spanish wines that were about 50 cents a liter if you supplied your own jug. And they were delicious.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @J.Ross

    , @Arclight
    @ic1000

    I would also say a good rule of thumb is that if you see a print or video advert for a given bottle of wine, it's total shit. I have some relatives who are big fans of a wine that falls into this category, and whenever I visit I always hit the local wine merchant first and bring half a dozen bottles of wine as a "gift" to avoid being offered the swill they like.

    Anyway, as the article you link to indicates, a lot of this is subjective. However, I do think a poorly chosen wine can ruin a nice meal, and there are some people who are much better at ensuring the wine and courses are not fighting each other than others and to me that's a real skill, although perhaps different from just assigning a given bottle a rating.

  74. There was a Japanese tv program that tested people’s ability to distinguish high quality from low quality. Expensive wine/ cheap wine. Expensive sushi/ cheap sushi. Expensive violin/ student violin. Professional photo/ student photo. Pro pianist/ student pianist. Etc. etc. for the most part choices were random, but there were a very few people who were mostly correct.

  75. @John Johnson
    Fine wine is overrated but cheap wine is garbage.

    People that say the $10 Trader Joe wines are "fine" have terrible taste. They are a step up from hobo wine but they taste cheap.

    But that doesn't mean that you have to spend $50. I'd never spend that much on wine. Maybe $30 on champagne at the most.

    Costco has some good wines in the $14-20 range.

    Colossal Reserva is a good one.

    Chloe Pinot Grigio.

    Avoid anything with hands or horses on the label.

    If you ever do wine tasting it becomes clear that half the public doesn't know what they like and would rather be told what to drink.

    Replies: @Rocko, @slumber_j, @Hangnail Hans

    All correct in my opinion. And as I’m being reminded on my current vacation, in Europe acceptable wine is a lot cheaper than that. But yeah: really cheap wine is almost invariably hard to choke down.

  76. rusted iron walls in public spaces

    Many years back, when I was visiting a Steel Rolling Mill in a Steel Plant, I saw a Sculpture in front of the mill building. It looked like a modern/abstract art. I spent a few seconds trying to understand what its meaning is. I failed. Finally, when I was about to leave, I asked one of the guys who worked there, what is the meaning of the sculpture. They all laughed and said it was the first scrap produced during their rolling mill production run. It was a bar mill that produces steel bars. If there is any unevenness in heating or part of the bar surface cools faster, the bar folds up like an irregular paperclip, producing a perplexing and mesmerizing “modern art”. They said almost everyone (not familiar with Steel Rolling mill operation) who visited stood there appreciating the sculpture.

  77. @Anonymous
    I mean they may be able to tell a marginal difference, or atleast they can predict which wine is which ever so slightly better than chance. But that may be a select few and most of the rich nerds are still pretending. It might be almost perfectly analogous to the modern art scene you mentioned that the vast majority playing and collecting are poseurs while a few can tell the difference between real high quality modern art from fakes and monkeys a bit better than chance.

    Only partially related but reminds me how Europeans, both Continentals and British always insisted that French wines were universally leagues ahead and mountains above American wines, until some Americans convinced a British restaurateur who only used French wines in his establishment because he was convinced of their superiority to fund a blind taste test competition in France with French Judges. To the shock of the French Judges they rated almost all the American wines above almost all the French wines in the Blind taste test, an almost universal and massive routing victory by the American wines.

    Some people disputed the results. There were four further blind taste testing competitions, 2 in 1978, 2 in 1986, all with mostly French Judges. The American Wines completely routed the French Wines in all 5 blind taste testing competitions. There was yet another tasting 30 years after the first one and American Wines took the top 4 spots and routed the French Wines yet again for the sixth time.

    Replies: @stillCARealist, @Anon, @John Johnson, @Rooster16, @Hypnotoad666

    I like your correlation to modern art. It essentially comes down to a network of people who enjoy wine/art, who elevate the importance of the wine/art while creating a store of value with exorbitant prices. Many times the linguistics of describing said wine/art is the most important aspect of them. “Experts” are nothing more than those who use sesquipedalian verbiage to describe the taste. Look up Rudy Kurniawan for an example.

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
    @Rooster16


    “Experts” are nothing more than those who use sesquipedalian verbiage to describe the taste.
     
    You disqualify yourself by using the word sesquipedalian .
  78. This is the kind of thing rich people care about. It’s how I know I want nothing to do with them. What could be less interesting than this? It’s all about the big word – Luxury. Luxury this, luxury that. Oink.

  79. I honestly have not had much wine past about \$75 a bottle. I’ve had some aged wines at vineyards and while enjoyable I was able to find wines in the \$30-\$50 range that were just as good.

    Here is my question for regular wine drinkers: Does aging past a certain point really make that much of a difference? Would you really be drinking 20 year old wines frequently if you had oodles of money lying around? Could you tell the difference between a 10 and 20 year old wine in a blind test?

    I have had some aged scotch and it was definitely better than the \$30-\$50 range. But I don’t care for scotch and would rather have Bulleit with some diet coke or in a sour.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @John Johnson


    Does aging past a certain point really make that much of a difference?
     
    Yes, of course it does. Let Steve Martin explain:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP51U_QBx48
    , @Intelligent Dasein
    @John Johnson


    Here is my question for regular wine drinkers: Does aging past a certain point really make that much of a difference? Would you really be drinking 20 year old wines frequently if you had oodles of money lying around? Could you tell the difference between a 10 and 20 year old wine in a blind test?
     
    Unless you're talking about a fine vintage that was kept in very carefully controlled conditions, any 20 year old bottle of wine would almost invariably be garbage.

    There is a widespread misconception that the aging of wine is monotonic, i.e. that all wines improve with age, that wines always improve with age, and that the longer they age the more they improve. Every one of these premises is absolutely false. Most wines do not improve with age; about 90% of all wine is meant to be consumed the same year it is produced, and 99% within 5 years. Even wine that does age well is rarely aged longer than 5 years.

    On the other hand, wine can be kept for longer periods of time. If you had an exceptionally good vintage year and you wanted to preserve some of that wine for future consumption, you can do that, but the wine has to be bottled carefully and kept in a climate controlled wine celler.

    I think a lot of people confuse aging with keeping. Kept wines are almost always good, but not because of the aging process. They are kept because they were good in the first place, and they are expensive both because they were of rare quality to begin with and because the long storage time itself incurs an expense. And wine ages in the barrel, not in the bottle. Bottle-aging affects the wine only minimally and usually for the worse, so this is not what people are talking about when they brag about drinking 35-year-old wines, or what have you. They are bragging about drinking a rare and exceptional vintage that was kept (not aged) for 35 years, at great expense.
    , @Esso
    @John Johnson

    I don't know about wine, but berry liqueurs all seem to converge towards a chocolate-like taste and a brownish color when they go old, which might not take all that long under a warm lamp in a warm showcase. I store mine refrigerated (helps a lot) and let them warm up before serving if they benefit from it.

    On topic: bad wines are definitely not a hoax, and wines unlike whiskey or beer don't invariably taste bad.

  80. I’ve got the same type of taste as our host and most commenters here – a \$10 gallon of Lambrusco was good enough for the day, back when I’d drink much of it.

    Maybe some people have that really distinguishing sense of taste, and more power to them. Where’s it’s a hoax is that these people convince under-confident or gullible types that they should be the same. Peer pressure has those newly-rich geeks acting like they can tell the difference and “need” those fine wines, because they don’t have the confidence to tell them “hey, it’s all the same stuff. I’m just going for high-alcohol content.”

    I agree with your 2nd point too that making wine beats making or supporting the crap art. The former is a productive enterprise, and the latter is questionable. (Both are included in the GDP.)

    Both are used as investments, but I wouldn’t invest in either. At least for wine, the value is not quite so subjective. That red bottle there at least can be said with confidence to have been bottle that year on that winery. It may not be worth \$8,000 to most people, but then that piece of art there – what the hell even IS that?!

    PS: If you’re really worried about impressing your guests, get ONE bottle of expensive stuff, drink it, keep the bottle, and fill it with some of that box wine. See if they notice. Sounds fun!

    • Replies: @Adam Smith
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Peer pressure has those newly-rich geeks acting like they can tell the difference and “need” those fine wines...
     
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/04/Sour_Grapes_2016_poster.jpg

    Selling counterfeit wine to pretentious wine snobs can be quite profitable...

    Until you get caught.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

  81. @John Johnson
    I honestly have not had much wine past about $75 a bottle. I've had some aged wines at vineyards and while enjoyable I was able to find wines in the $30-$50 range that were just as good.

    Here is my question for regular wine drinkers: Does aging past a certain point really make that much of a difference? Would you really be drinking 20 year old wines frequently if you had oodles of money lying around? Could you tell the difference between a 10 and 20 year old wine in a blind test?

    I have had some aged scotch and it was definitely better than the $30-$50 range. But I don't care for scotch and would rather have Bulleit with some diet coke or in a sour.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @Intelligent Dasein, @Esso

    Does aging past a certain point really make that much of a difference?

    Yes, of course it does. Let Steve Martin explain:

  82. @Brutusale
    @The Only Catholic Unionist

    "You think I'm an asshole. And I'm not really, it's just that I'm British and, well, you're not."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYs0kblXToA

    Also check out the book Judgment of Paris, which adds a lot of Cali wine history to the story.

    https://www.amazon.com/Judgment-Paris-George-M-Taber/dp/0743297326

    Replies: @Joe Stalin

  83. @ic1000
    @Arclight

    > I would say I can instantly recognize a cheap bottle of wine...

    Yeah, my taste buds are a less-discriminating version of yours.

    On topic, here is a longish 2013 essay by econo-blogger Alex Mayyasi, Is Wine Bull$hit?. It covers similar ground to Sailer's post, but with links.

    Replies: @Pixo, @Arclight

    That link is great.

    Once you reach a point where you have spent 10 or 20 thousand on a hoax, it becomes very hard to admit the swindle.

    So no matter how strong the evidence, the mind closes down to it. That’s how scammers keep milking their marks even when the scam should be obvious.

    The cheapest wines I have had were Spanish wines that were about 50 cents a liter if you supplied your own jug. And they were delicious.

    • Agree: R.G. Camara
    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
    @Pixo


    The cheapest wines I have had were Spanish wines that were about 50 cents a liter if you supplied your own jug. And they were delicious.
     
    I can remember being able to buy some excellent bottles at Pingo Doce supermarkets in Portugal for 1 to 2 euro.

    Replies: @Pixo, @Bill Jones

    , @J.Ross
    @Pixo

    The Spanish are the masters of cheap but excellent.
    The trick is, they actually drink a lot of wine, don't want to overpay, and don't want quality to drop.

  84. @prosa123
    I have difficulty choosing between Thunderbird and Wild Irish Rose.

    Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter, @NOTA

    Then go with Night Train.

  85. are 50 million dollar paintings a hoax? i can have a high resolution photo of it projected in my house at any time. expensive art, the original NFT scam?

    at least you get to drink the wine.

    next up – what about expensive stereo equipment? (some of it yes, other stuff, no)

  86. @J.Ross
    This was a story a million years ago, a related one was classical music reviewers not being able to distinguish recordings.

    Replies: @Barnard, @Je Suis Omar Mateen, @Paul Mendez, @Shhjjkjcf

    In the 70’s, being an “audiophile” was a thing. There were glossy magazines and luxury retail stores devoted solely to selling “sound systems” costing tens of thousands of dollars. This, when a new Pinto cost less than \$3,000.

    These sound systems could reproduce frequencies higher than what dogs and lower than what elephants could hear, yet the audiophiles claimed they could tell the difference between them. Like wine snobs, audio magazine reviewers had a thesaurus of descriptors to rate each new piece of equipment.

    Today, convenience/price has trumped sound quality. First CDs. Then mp3. My Sirius satellite quality is noticeably worse than FM played on the same car radio. But who cares?

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    @Paul Mendez


    These sound systems could reproduce frequencies higher than what dogs and lower than what elephants could hear, yet the audiophiles claimed they could tell the difference between them.
     
    I have tinnitus, constant ringing in the ears. After undergoing a battery of tests, including scans of the head, no tumors thank goodness, the doc said that the brain creates this when the ears provide unequal input into the brain.

    The audio spectrum response chart for my ears is really, really awful with the low frequency cutoff really low. I can hear higher frequencies in one ear but not the other.

    So high frequency sound reproduction is wasted money for me and I suspect many others.

    Protect your ears from high db sound environments, including constant noise, music and impulses (gun shots, etc) so that you can enjoy hearing in the future.

    Massad Ayoob states he has hearing protection (as well as body armor and firearm) for his go to gear in his home.

    Replies: @Justasking

    , @SIMP simp
    @Paul Mendez

    There still is an audiophile market and they are still peddling snake oil. And convenience is important but the CD was better than any analog player and current solid state players are basically the peak of playback technology. The problem of the audiophile snobs is that with contemporary equipment you can have incredible audio quality at reasonable prices leaving little opportunity to show off, so they go for the crazy stuff: gold connectors, shielded cables, power conditioners etc.
    Or they go retro for analog turntables, cassettes or reel-to-reel players because there is much more fiddling around with analog equipment. That's partly why there has been such a resurgence to vinyl sales.

    from wikipedia:


    In 2021, for the first time in the last 30 years, vinyl record sales exceeded CD sales; one of every 3 albums sold in the US was a vinyl LP. As per the MRC Data mid-year report for 2021, sales of vinyl records in the US surpassed that of the CDs; 19.2 million vinyl albums were sold in the first six months of 2021, outpacing the 18.9 million CDs sold.

     

    Replies: @epebble, @Sollipsist

    , @Kratoklastes
    @Paul Mendez


    In the 70’s, being an “audiophile” was a thing.
     
    It still is - it's another avenue for slightly-wealthy beta dickheads to status-signal to other beta dickheads... none of whom have ever seen a close-up image of a record-player stylus in the groove on a record, or have thought what fuckwits they look like to anyone who has seen such an image.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/crpt6bg3afzba20/RecordGroove.png?dl=1

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

  87. While wine ratings are not perfectly accurate, they are not worthless either. There is about a 4 point +/- spread in a rating system that goes from 80 to 100. So that 96 point wine might actually be a 92 (or vice versa) but it’s very unlikely that it’s going to be an 82.

    Unfortunately, the random spread between a 92 and a 96 is enough to scramble the order of the winners at any wine judging competition. Before a different panel of judges, or even before the SAME panel on a different day, the bronze medalist might be the gold or vice versa, so you can take those medals with a grain of salt. However, this does not mean that a bottle of Two Buck Chuck is the same thing as a bottle of Lafite.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703683804574533840282653628

    It’s easy to overstate the case and say “it’s all bullshit” when that is not quite true either. Wine ratings are less than completely definitive but more than complete bullshit.

    Generally speaking, there are strong diminishing returns on wine. An \$8 bottle might be twice as good as a \$4 bottle but a \$16 bottle is only going to be 50% better and a \$32 bottle is only going to be 25% better than the \$16 bottle and so on. (This is putting aside the subjective nature of what is “better” which is a whole ‘nother discussion. I mean “better” by expert criteria.)

    But some people want “the best” and have the \$ to pay for it. Is a \$66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a \$33,000 Honda Accord? It would be hard to say yes but there are some people who still want the Mercedes. And beyond that, people who want a Rolls and so on. Is some of this showing off for your friends vs. getting something objectively better? Sure, but showing off for your friends has value too.

    There is also a lot of difference in markup on wine depending on where you buy it (even forgetting about restaurants where the stuff gets marked up 3 or 4x). This is especially bad in PA, where we have a system of government owned monopoly liquor stores. The same bottle of Oyster Bay NZ Sauvignon Blanc that sells for \$9 at a discount retailer in Delaware (Total Wine or Costco) is \$17 at the PA State Store.

    • Replies: @epebble
    @Jack D

    Is a $66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a $33,000 Honda Accord?

    They are two different product categories. The purpose of Honda Accord (Hondas generally) is to provide excellent transportation. Mercedes, at least as marketed in U.S. , is to give the buyer a sense of achievement, and to others, a symbol of owner's gravitas. It is very popular with certain professions like doctors and surgeons, lawyers etc., It is no big deal in Silicon Valley where they prefer Porche, BMW, Audi and High-end Teslas etc., Rolls Royce on the other hand, is to advertise that one is truly exclusive and more in the Royalty circle rather than just being wealthy.

    Fun fact: God-Man Rajneesh owned 93 Rolls Royces here in rural Oregon in the 1980s.

    https://autojosh.com/throwback-rajneesh-a-us-based-indian-god-man-owned-93-rolls-royces-in-the-1980s/

    Replies: @dimples

    , @John Johnson
    @Jack D

    But some people want “the best” and have the $ to pay for it. Is a $66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a $33,000 Honda Accord? It would be hard to say yes but there are some people who still want the Mercedes.

    I think you would at least have a discernable difference in that case. Would most people care? Probably not.

    To me the BS areas are where even self-described connoisseurs would not be possible to discern the high end from the medium in a blind test.

    That would include:
    Modern art (biggest product hoax of all time)
    Most liquors
    Coffee
    Women's clothing
    Home furnishings
    Speakers
    Restaurants, especially steak and sushi
    Anything sold in a luxury mall

    Areas where I initially assumed the high end was marketing until I tried them:
    Gift chocolate
    Cake
    Leatherwork
    Banana Republic (not actually rebranded gap)
    Merino wool socks

    Replies: @Justvisiting

    , @AnotherDad
    @Jack D

    $66,000! Heck, even today--supply chain issues and all--you can get a really nice truck for that!

    , @Dube
    @Jack D

    A liquor industry vp for marketing told me that raising the price can increase sales. This was at the bar of the Top of the Mark, and in my very comfortable upholstered seat I didn't have to reply that I'd sometimes decided to pay just a bit more to get a bottle of something better.

    Replies: @Jack D

  88. @Pixo
    @ic1000

    That link is great.

    Once you reach a point where you have spent 10 or 20 thousand on a hoax, it becomes very hard to admit the swindle.

    So no matter how strong the evidence, the mind closes down to it. That’s how scammers keep milking their marks even when the scam should be obvious.

    The cheapest wines I have had were Spanish wines that were about 50 cents a liter if you supplied your own jug. And they were delicious.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @J.Ross

    The cheapest wines I have had were Spanish wines that were about 50 cents a liter if you supplied your own jug. And they were delicious.

    I can remember being able to buy some excellent bottles at Pingo Doce supermarkets in Portugal for 1 to 2 euro.

    • Replies: @Pixo
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    My cheapest wines that came in a bottle were French vin de table for 75 eurocents at Aldi. About $1.30 adjusting for inflation and exchange rate.

    European Aldis are such a crazy experience, and other than the low prices and coin-deposit carts, were fairly different than the American ghetto Aldis I remember from my youth.

    , @Bill Jones
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    I was in Portugal last in the early 8o's. Can't recall what the currency was and in my old wallet stuffed full of obsolete currencies: D-Marks etc I see none of Portugal. In English money wine was basically free and excellent.

  89. I’m sorry, I must be missing something. Where was the part when “good taste” got left out?

  90. …and have even been fooled with a bit of food coloring into thinking white wine is red.

    It’s easy for me to tell. White wine gives me heartburn after a few moments. Red wine gives me instant and severe heartburn. Thus, I stick with craft beer. Heartburn takes hours. (Preemptive antacids can help, but defeat the whole purpose of wine tasting.)

    An interesting distinction between New York and Northern Californian rich people is that the former like investing in modern art while the latter prefer investing in vineyards.

    And the Californians are aware of the vineyards in their own state. Urban New Yorkers either aren’t, or assume it’s all Manischewitz, Mogen David, and Welch’s.

    On top of this, the hardy, manly, native vitis labrusca has always had a bad reputation after its house pet phylloxera nearly destroyed Europe’s ancient vitis vinifera in the 19th century.

    Phylloxera: How Wine Was Saved for the World

    California went with the fey European grapes. Which themselves had to be grafted onto the North American plants back at home to survive. (The ultimate in wine snobbery would be those Europeans who claim that the post-infestation wines are a shadow of the original product. How long ago did the last individual who tasted both died? Or are they opening 200-year-old bottles to test the hypothesis?)

    Thus, two cardinal aspects of American viticulture are apparent:

    As critics say of mediocre literature, what’s good is not original, and what’s original is not good

    Though to those of us of crude tongue, labrusca can be appreciated for its very roughness, as with stout and porter ales.

    Indians got their revenge for smallpox, measles, etc.

    Indeed, doubly so when a Parisian catches syphilis from a girl he’s seduced with post-phylloxera wine.

    • Replies: @Pixo
    @Reg Cæsar

    “ Red wine gives me instant and severe heartburn.”

    Always pictured you as a pure caucasiod, evolved to enjoy fermented beverages for 10,000 years, not asiatic.

    https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/20/article-2527074-0000022200000CB2-401_634x392.jpg

    “Preemptive antacids can help, but defeat the whole purpose of wine tasting.”

    Why would that be? There’s one kind of Rolaids that have the taste and texture of Mentos, give that a shot. I could eat 20 of them if it were safe.

    Replies: @Anon

    , @EssayM
    @Reg Cæsar

    White wine gives me heartburn after a few moments. Red wine gives me instant and severe heartburn.

    Drink a big glass of water before you start. Bread, crackers and cheese help, and amplify the experience.

    Same goes for beer, really.

    , @Coemgen
    @Reg Cæsar


    wine gives me heartburn
     
    Same here. Don’t know if it’s the wine or adulterants added to wine to make it seem drier that trigger heartburn (sweeter wines are less of a problem).
  91. …yeah, I’m going to have to throw a flag on this one. Really, “wine tasters” were fooled by putting food coloring into white wine? Who were these tasters? Supposed experts? Regular wine drinkers? Random people that perhaps have occasionally drank wine but probably couldn’t tell the difference between white and red to begin with?

    • Agree: Paul Mendez
  92. My theory is that everyone’s taste in wine has an individual price point. By which I mean that most bottles above that price point will be very enjoyable, much-more-expensive being sometimes worthwhile but with rapidly diminishing returns. And anything costing less will be noticeably lacking.

    In my case that price point seems to be in the \$18 range, although Chateau St. Michelle merlot at \$14 does not disappoint.

  93. @John Johnson
    I honestly have not had much wine past about $75 a bottle. I've had some aged wines at vineyards and while enjoyable I was able to find wines in the $30-$50 range that were just as good.

    Here is my question for regular wine drinkers: Does aging past a certain point really make that much of a difference? Would you really be drinking 20 year old wines frequently if you had oodles of money lying around? Could you tell the difference between a 10 and 20 year old wine in a blind test?

    I have had some aged scotch and it was definitely better than the $30-$50 range. But I don't care for scotch and would rather have Bulleit with some diet coke or in a sour.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @Intelligent Dasein, @Esso

    Here is my question for regular wine drinkers: Does aging past a certain point really make that much of a difference? Would you really be drinking 20 year old wines frequently if you had oodles of money lying around? Could you tell the difference between a 10 and 20 year old wine in a blind test?

    Unless you’re talking about a fine vintage that was kept in very carefully controlled conditions, any 20 year old bottle of wine would almost invariably be garbage.

    There is a widespread misconception that the aging of wine is monotonic, i.e. that all wines improve with age, that wines always improve with age, and that the longer they age the more they improve. Every one of these premises is absolutely false. Most wines do not improve with age; about 90% of all wine is meant to be consumed the same year it is produced, and 99% within 5 years. Even wine that does age well is rarely aged longer than 5 years.

    On the other hand, wine can be kept for longer periods of time. If you had an exceptionally good vintage year and you wanted to preserve some of that wine for future consumption, you can do that, but the wine has to be bottled carefully and kept in a climate controlled wine celler.

    I think a lot of people confuse aging with keeping. Kept wines are almost always good, but not because of the aging process. They are kept because they were good in the first place, and they are expensive both because they were of rare quality to begin with and because the long storage time itself incurs an expense. And wine ages in the barrel, not in the bottle. Bottle-aging affects the wine only minimally and usually for the worse, so this is not what people are talking about when they brag about drinking 35-year-old wines, or what have you. They are bragging about drinking a rare and exceptional vintage that was kept (not aged) for 35 years, at great expense.

    • Agree: mark green
  94. @Paul Mendez
    @J.Ross

    In the 70’s, being an “audiophile” was a thing. There were glossy magazines and luxury retail stores devoted solely to selling “sound systems” costing tens of thousands of dollars. This, when a new Pinto cost less than $3,000.

    These sound systems could reproduce frequencies higher than what dogs and lower than what elephants could hear, yet the audiophiles claimed they could tell the difference between them. Like wine snobs, audio magazine reviewers had a thesaurus of descriptors to rate each new piece of equipment.

    Today, convenience/price has trumped sound quality. First CDs. Then mp3. My Sirius satellite quality is noticeably worse than FM played on the same car radio. But who cares?

    Replies: @Joe Stalin, @SIMP simp, @Kratoklastes

    These sound systems could reproduce frequencies higher than what dogs and lower than what elephants could hear, yet the audiophiles claimed they could tell the difference between them.

    I have tinnitus, constant ringing in the ears. After undergoing a battery of tests, including scans of the head, no tumors thank goodness, the doc said that the brain creates this when the ears provide unequal input into the brain.

    The audio spectrum response chart for my ears is really, really awful with the low frequency cutoff really low. I can hear higher frequencies in one ear but not the other.

    So high frequency sound reproduction is wasted money for me and I suspect many others.

    Protect your ears from high db sound environments, including constant noise, music and impulses (gun shots, etc) so that you can enjoy hearing in the future.

    Massad Ayoob states he has hearing protection (as well as body armor and firearm) for his go to gear in his home.

    • Replies: @Justasking
    @Joe Stalin

    Is Ayoob wearing a bad wig in those Wilson Combat-sponsored YouTubes he does?

  95. @Jack D
    While wine ratings are not perfectly accurate, they are not worthless either. There is about a 4 point +/- spread in a rating system that goes from 80 to 100. So that 96 point wine might actually be a 92 (or vice versa) but it's very unlikely that it's going to be an 82.

    Unfortunately, the random spread between a 92 and a 96 is enough to scramble the order of the winners at any wine judging competition. Before a different panel of judges, or even before the SAME panel on a different day, the bronze medalist might be the gold or vice versa, so you can take those medals with a grain of salt. However, this does not mean that a bottle of Two Buck Chuck is the same thing as a bottle of Lafite.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703683804574533840282653628

    It's easy to overstate the case and say "it's all bullshit" when that is not quite true either. Wine ratings are less than completely definitive but more than complete bullshit.

    Generally speaking, there are strong diminishing returns on wine. An $8 bottle might be twice as good as a $4 bottle but a $16 bottle is only going to be 50% better and a $32 bottle is only going to be 25% better than the $16 bottle and so on. (This is putting aside the subjective nature of what is "better" which is a whole 'nother discussion. I mean "better" by expert criteria.)

    But some people want "the best" and have the $ to pay for it. Is a $66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a $33,000 Honda Accord? It would be hard to say yes but there are some people who still want the Mercedes. And beyond that, people who want a Rolls and so on. Is some of this showing off for your friends vs. getting something objectively better? Sure, but showing off for your friends has value too.

    There is also a lot of difference in markup on wine depending on where you buy it (even forgetting about restaurants where the stuff gets marked up 3 or 4x). This is especially bad in PA, where we have a system of government owned monopoly liquor stores. The same bottle of Oyster Bay NZ Sauvignon Blanc that sells for $9 at a discount retailer in Delaware (Total Wine or Costco) is $17 at the PA State Store.

    Replies: @epebble, @John Johnson, @AnotherDad, @Dube

    Is a \$66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a \$33,000 Honda Accord?

    They are two different product categories. The purpose of Honda Accord (Hondas generally) is to provide excellent transportation. Mercedes, at least as marketed in U.S. , is to give the buyer a sense of achievement, and to others, a symbol of owner’s gravitas. It is very popular with certain professions like doctors and surgeons, lawyers etc., It is no big deal in Silicon Valley where they prefer Porche, BMW, Audi and High-end Teslas etc., Rolls Royce on the other hand, is to advertise that one is truly exclusive and more in the Royalty circle rather than just being wealthy.

    Fun fact: God-Man Rajneesh owned 93 Rolls Royces here in rural Oregon in the 1980s.

    https://autojosh.com/throwback-rajneesh-a-us-based-indian-god-man-owned-93-rolls-royces-in-the-1980s/

    • Replies: @dimples
    @epebble

    For the last four years my car has been making a loud bearing noise. It started out quietly and got louder as you went faster so I assumed it was either a dinged drive shaft or front wheel bearing. It was definitely a bearing, a low metallic rumbly sort of noise that bearings make when they are damaged. In my automotive career I've had a number of them go due to water damage and so on.

    Then recently I got new tyres as the old ones were getting bald and I didn't want to have trouble with Mr Plod. The bearing noise totally disappeared! Apparently, although I don't believe it, it was just a tyre after all! So the moral of the story is that sometimes you think you know what something is but you don't, although I'm still not convinced.

  96. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:

    There’s good wine and bad wine.

    Beyond such basics, it’s all bogus.

    Best is Gallo burgundy.

  97. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Discordiax


    heterosexual aspirations
     

    which script is going to get Ryan Gosling
     
    https://img.thedailybeast.com/image/upload/c_crop,d_placeholder_euli9k,h_1688,w_3000,x_0,y_0/dpr_2.0/c_limit,w_740/fl_lossy,q_auto/v1655314010/061622-ryangosling-barbie_uvi1kc.jpg

    https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/06/margot.jpg

    Replies: @Stan Adams, @R.G. Camara

    A movie featuring two blonde whites in a healthy romantic relationship? I seriously can’t even. I mean … it’s 2022, people!

    Actually, I was scrolling *up* through the comments (I do that a lot) and I saw the bottom pictures first. My initial reaction was, “Why is Anderson Cooper wearing a cowboy outfit?”

    They used to say that if Barbie were a real person she’d be 7’2” (based on the proportions of the doll). This was one of the factors behind the creation of Body Positive (Fat) Barbie – “Little girls are starving themselves to achieve an unobtainable ideal!”

    You never hear anyone complaining that little boys are growing up with unrealistic male role models.

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Stan Adams


    A movie featuring two blonde whites in a healthy romantic relationship? I seriously can’t even. I mean … it’s 2022, people!
     
    IKR, and for the current year the visuals look wholesome and dare I say based, with ’80s/’90s nostalgia neon/day-glo A E S T H E T I C S blasting throughout the screen in the rollerblading pic.

    Replies: @Stan Adams

  98. For me Burger King fries are better and McD burgers are better. I sneak in their drive thrus when no one is looking. Wine…French when I’m looking for a selfish pleasure w/ a side of cognac. A few years ago I tasted a \$700 a bottle cognac. Yes. I tasted why it was \$700 a bottle. I’ll go between \$30-50 for a bottle of French wine. If I’m having a party, I’ll buy Robert Mondavi Reds. I don’t like white wine even with fish. I’ll drink a Budweiser or Rolling Rock with fish. Actually my drug of choice is Bourbon. My default bourbon is Jim Bean Extra Black Aged. I like Buffalo Trace but I can’t get it here in Pennsylvania. I have to cross the Mason-Dixon Line and get it in Maryland. Every time I cross into Maryland I feel I’ve betrayed the Union.

    • Replies: @Ralph L
    @Ted D. Richards


    My default bourbon is Jim Bean Extra Black Aged.
     
    Isn't that Sean Bean Bourbon?
    Jim Beam is just a second tier movie star.
    , @EssayM
    @Ted D. Richards

    Solid bourbon recommendations.

  99. Luxury wines are a trillion dollar a year industry, yet wine tasters can’t distinguish between low and high quality wines in blind tastings, will rank wines higher based on the price or label, and have even been fooled with a bit of food coloring into thinking white wine is red.

    Really? Is that true? A trillion dollars for luxury wines? According to this site (for what it’s worth – it was the first hit I got when I googled “luxury wine market”):

    https://www.verifiedmarketresearch.com/product/luxury-wines-and-spirits-market

    says about \$ 1 trillion for luxury wines AND spirits. And what do they count as a luxury wine? Anything that doesn’t come in a box or a bottle labeled “Thunderbird”? Any spirit on the second shelf or above? I don’t know.

  100. Anonymous[295] • Disclaimer says:
    @Arclight
    I would say I can instantly recognize a cheap bottle of wine, which is almost always characterized by being dominated by a single characteristic (jammy/fruitiness in particular). But $25-$50 is very difficult to tell apart, and above that only rarely have I encountered a bottle where I felt it was truly exceptional. Anyway, for reds I generally stick to the $25-$35 a bottle range, whites I will dip into the high teens. There are some roses that are are in the mid-teens that are perfectly suitable for hot evenings.

    Replies: @ic1000, @Anonymous

    Make sure you’re not buying cooking wines. These are intended to go in stews etc. They are only a little above vinegar.

    If you buy a really bad wine, and you wonder who on earth is buying it, the answer is usually cooks.

    • Replies: @Rodger Dodger
    @Anonymous


    Make sure you’re not buying cooking wines. These are intended to go in stews etc. They are only a little above vinegar.
     
    The rule I've always heard (and believe in whole-heartedly) is, don't cook with anything you wouldn't drink.

    Replies: @Anonymous

  101. Adrian Carsini could tell not only the subtle differences between vintages, but whether a wine had been subjected to temperatures over 150 degrees. At that point the wines became “liquid filth”.

  102. @Pixo
    @ic1000

    That link is great.

    Once you reach a point where you have spent 10 or 20 thousand on a hoax, it becomes very hard to admit the swindle.

    So no matter how strong the evidence, the mind closes down to it. That’s how scammers keep milking their marks even when the scam should be obvious.

    The cheapest wines I have had were Spanish wines that were about 50 cents a liter if you supplied your own jug. And they were delicious.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @J.Ross

    The Spanish are the masters of cheap but excellent.
    The trick is, they actually drink a lot of wine, don’t want to overpay, and don’t want quality to drop.

    • Agree: kahein
  103. What’s the word? Thunderbird!

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @TWS

    James Mason suggests that you try Thunderbird. It's really delightful:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS45gE5Mlf8

    , @Jim Don Bob
    @TWS


    What’s the word? Thunderbird!
     
    What's the price? Thirty twice!

    In 1972, IIRC
  104. @Achmed E. Newman
    I've got the same type of taste as our host and most commenters here - a $10 gallon of Lambrusco was good enough for the day, back when I'd drink much of it.

    Maybe some people have that really distinguishing sense of taste, and more power to them. Where's it's a hoax is that these people convince under-confident or gullible types that they should be the same. Peer pressure has those newly-rich geeks acting like they can tell the difference and "need" those fine wines, because they don't have the confidence to tell them "hey, it's all the same stuff. I'm just going for high-alcohol content."

    I agree with your 2nd point too that making wine beats making or supporting the crap art. The former is a productive enterprise, and the latter is questionable. (Both are included in the GDP.)

    Both are used as investments, but I wouldn't invest in either. At least for wine, the value is not quite so subjective. That red bottle there at least can be said with confidence to have been bottle that year on that winery. It may not be worth $8,000 to most people, but then that piece of art there - what the hell even IS that?!

    PS: If you're really worried about impressing your guests, get ONE bottle of expensive stuff, drink it, keep the bottle, and fill it with some of that box wine. See if they notice. Sounds fun!

    Replies: @Adam Smith

    Peer pressure has those newly-rich geeks acting like they can tell the difference and “need” those fine wines…

    Selling counterfeit wine to pretentious wine snobs can be quite profitable…

    Until you get caught.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    @Adam Smith

    Dang, I might have to resort to selling counterfeit wines to winos on the street, then. "Hey, that don't taste like no MD-20/20, man!"

    Replies: @possumman

  105. @ScarletNumber

    Isn’t it simpler to assume that some people really can tell wines apart by taste and smell?
     
    No, it's simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?

    Replies: @Pontius, @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Curmudgeon, @Art Deco, @TGGP, @Cagey Beast, @Luddite in Chief

    Weren’t a bunch of Austrians busted for mixing propylene glycol (non toxic anti-freeze) into wine to enhance its sweetness a couple of decades ago? So much for your high end snobbery.
    Like the mentioned audiophiles, there are the beer snobs, the gun snobs, the auto snobs the tech snobs, the music snobs, whatever. It all comes down to successful marketing to people’s inherent prejudices. Like listening to two guys talking about the best loads for Cape Buffalo when neither will ever get within 2000 miles of one. Some of the funniest ones are on Bob Is The Oil Guy, where people have an almost religious belief in their particular favourite oil brand, discussing additive packages of fresh oil sent out for analysis and which oils they blend together in their basements to get the performance required for their vintage Porsche 930 or something.

    Progress of marketing?

    • Replies: @possumman
    @Pontius

    I think Watch Snobs are another bred of idiot. I love reading the "Oil Threads" in the various motorcycle forums I frequent --just proves that some people have way to much time on the hands. If the manufacturer wanted you to mix Motul and Castrol and 10% synth oil to use in your bike they would do that and sell it to you in a bottle for $25 /quart

    , @Anon
    @Pontius


    Weren’t a bunch of Austrians busted for mixing propylene glycol (non toxic anti-freeze) into wine to enhance its sweetness a couple of decades ago? So much for your high end snobbery.

     

    Kids, don't do it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1985_diethylene_glycol_wine_scandal

    I don't think those were high-end wines though.
  106. anon[111] • Disclaimer says:

    There was that famous Coke vs. Pepsi taste test ad campaign. Which I always thought was weird because I always thought they were relatively easy to distinguish, like McDonald’s vs. Burger King.

    Coke tends to be more syrupy and a bit less carbonated. Pepsi has less syrupy flavor and is more sharply carbonated.

    I can even distinguish RC Cola, which tends to be more citrus acid-y.

    Scotch vs. other whiskeys is easy to distinguish.

  107. It works, if you enjoy it and don’t see it as a test. Good wine is sublime at the right moment and mood. Compare it to the experience of rare steak, you feel satisfied and you love life a little more intensely for a few split seconds. A lot of wine snobs are actually just good at finding a high affordable average. Red wine drinkers are also good people in general to get shitfaced with in my experience. Very congenial.
    If it’s a con I’m a shill.

    My first choice is stout or beer.

  108. The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It’s like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes. The wine is soft, chewy and provides a lovely mouth feel.

    • LOL: Matthew Kelly
    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
    @Adam Smith

    Me tasting wine: "I'm getting subtle undertones of . . . grape juice and ethanol . . ."

    , @prosa123
    @Adam Smith

    The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It’s like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes. The wine is soft, chewy and provides a lovely mouth feel.


    Now, if one drinks too much of the wine and porks the 15-year-old, well, things won't turns out good.

    , @AnotherDad
    @Adam Smith


    The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It’s like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes.
     
    You're pitching me a wine that will land me in jail if I actually drink it?

    Replies: @Adam Smith

    , @Barbarossa
    @Adam Smith

    No, no, that's the wrong orifice entirely! It goes in the mouth you fool!

  109. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Anyone else here in a summertime Eurotrash Med mood? Salud

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeE8_DCvXlY

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c750nVozwN0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1YH-1ySnjg

    Replies: @Dmon, @International Jew

    Hate to go all Reg Cæsar on you but Alessandra/Alexandra is a dumb name to give a girl; it means “protector of men”.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
    @International Jew

    What's wrong with that?

    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @International Jew


    Hate to go all Reg Cæsar on you but Alessandra/Alexandra is a dumb name to give a girl; it means “protector of men”.
     
    Why do you think Reg would object to that?

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/Immaculate_Conception_Monument_%28University_of_Dayton%29_-_statue.JPG

    https://d5y9g7a5.rocketcdn.me/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/voto-de-minerva-saiba-como-surgiu-essa-expressao-tao-usada-1.jpg
  110. “Time Waits for No One,” is the excellent Spanish red I mentioned above. I want to say the specific year is 2019. There is a skull and crossbones on the label, making it hard to miss on the shelves.

  111. @International Jew
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Hate to go all Reg Cæsar on you but Alessandra/Alexandra is a dumb name to give a girl; it means "protector of men".

    Replies: @JimDandy, @Jenner Ickham Errican

    What’s wrong with that?

    • Agree: tyrone
  112. @John Johnson
    @Jonathan Mason

    You might as well argue the same thing about expensive brands of spirit drinks like single malt whiskeys and vodkas. To me they all have a slight mouth feel of gasoline, though of course you can mix them with Coca-Cola or orange juice to improve the flavor.

    I think liquor is actually where you have the biggest difference between high and low.

    A $30 tequila and a $12 tequila even when mixed will be completely noticeable. Cheap rum is awful even when mixed with Coke.

    But it definitely tops out. I don't buy the high end bourbon market at all. $60 bourbon is marketing. Same for vodka.

    Replies: @jejej

    Alcohol tastes disgusting. Every baby knows that.

    Ot makes some sense to pay for getting the same drunk experience for less grossness, and Johnny Blue hurts a lot less going down than Johnny Black.

    So if the casino is paying, make them pay for the Johnny Blue.

    As for the rest of it — it largely has to donwoth your associations with the product.

    If you got sick as a dog drinking \$5,000 bourbon then Budweiser is likely to be a more intoxicating beverage for you.

    That’s why advertising works. If they can create neuro connections for you between dog shit and feeling confident then when you eat dog shit you will feel confident. At least sonling as you remain in the privacy of your own home and advertising programming without counter input from people with olfactory senses.

  113. @Anonymous
    I mean they may be able to tell a marginal difference, or atleast they can predict which wine is which ever so slightly better than chance. But that may be a select few and most of the rich nerds are still pretending. It might be almost perfectly analogous to the modern art scene you mentioned that the vast majority playing and collecting are poseurs while a few can tell the difference between real high quality modern art from fakes and monkeys a bit better than chance.

    Only partially related but reminds me how Europeans, both Continentals and British always insisted that French wines were universally leagues ahead and mountains above American wines, until some Americans convinced a British restaurateur who only used French wines in his establishment because he was convinced of their superiority to fund a blind taste test competition in France with French Judges. To the shock of the French Judges they rated almost all the American wines above almost all the French wines in the Blind taste test, an almost universal and massive routing victory by the American wines.

    Some people disputed the results. There were four further blind taste testing competitions, 2 in 1978, 2 in 1986, all with mostly French Judges. The American Wines completely routed the French Wines in all 5 blind taste testing competitions. There was yet another tasting 30 years after the first one and American Wines took the top 4 spots and routed the French Wines yet again for the sixth time.

    Replies: @stillCARealist, @Anon, @John Johnson, @Rooster16, @Hypnotoad666

    The problem lies in the definition of “better.” Once you get past vinegary swill all wine is “good” — but highly variable in the subtleties of its taste. Which of these variations you like is a matter of palette, personal preference, and maybe how you are feeling at the moment.

    People should probably try to appreciate wine for all its differences, and to find what differences they like. Being the status-driven, hierarchical creatures that we are, however, we inevitably feel the need to rank things from best to worst and to pay more accordingly, just to prove we can.

  114. @Paul Mendez
    @J.Ross

    In the 70’s, being an “audiophile” was a thing. There were glossy magazines and luxury retail stores devoted solely to selling “sound systems” costing tens of thousands of dollars. This, when a new Pinto cost less than $3,000.

    These sound systems could reproduce frequencies higher than what dogs and lower than what elephants could hear, yet the audiophiles claimed they could tell the difference between them. Like wine snobs, audio magazine reviewers had a thesaurus of descriptors to rate each new piece of equipment.

    Today, convenience/price has trumped sound quality. First CDs. Then mp3. My Sirius satellite quality is noticeably worse than FM played on the same car radio. But who cares?

    Replies: @Joe Stalin, @SIMP simp, @Kratoklastes

    There still is an audiophile market and they are still peddling snake oil. And convenience is important but the CD was better than any analog player and current solid state players are basically the peak of playback technology. The problem of the audiophile snobs is that with contemporary equipment you can have incredible audio quality at reasonable prices leaving little opportunity to show off, so they go for the crazy stuff: gold connectors, shielded cables, power conditioners etc.
    Or they go retro for analog turntables, cassettes or reel-to-reel players because there is much more fiddling around with analog equipment. That’s partly why there has been such a resurgence to vinyl sales.

    from wikipedia:

    In 2021, for the first time in the last 30 years, vinyl record sales exceeded CD sales; one of every 3 albums sold in the US was a vinyl LP. As per the MRC Data mid-year report for 2021, sales of vinyl records in the US surpassed that of the CDs; 19.2 million vinyl albums were sold in the first six months of 2021, outpacing the 18.9 million CDs sold.

    • Agree: Etruscan Film Star
    • Replies: @epebble
    @SIMP simp

    gold connectors

    There is even a market for Gold plated Ethernet cables! Obviously, it is directed to users who do not know that Ethernet works by Collision Detection i.e., data is expected to get damaged during transmission, but the application will not be affected

    https://www.firefold.com/blogs/news/is-50-micron-gold-plating-important-on-ethernet-cables

    , @Sollipsist
    @SIMP simp

    The average CD (after the late 80s/early 90s when they finally stopped mastering for vinyl) easily beats the average vinyl LP on the same system. And either one easily beats the mp3 or any of the streaming formats that people mainly listen to on their phones or Bluetooth speakers.

    Screw the hipsters and status-seeking audiophiles. But, having said that, listening to a vinyl test pressing on a good turntable is an ear-opening experience. It's not all about accurate reproduction, the impact of the sound makes a difference. Given the choice, all else equal I'd go for a vinyl test pressing over an SACD.

    Maybe it's a generational thing; growing up with the "sound" of vinyl, to me, the vast majority of even quality digital recordings tend to sound bass-heavy, weak in the midrange where a lot of the action is, a little brittle in the upper mids and artificially sparkly in the high end. Then again, I'd rather watch a high-quality film than a high-quality digital video...

    Replies: @SIMP simp, @Etruscan Film Star

  115. @ScarletNumber

    Isn’t it simpler to assume that some people really can tell wines apart by taste and smell?
     
    No, it's simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?

    Replies: @Pontius, @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Curmudgeon, @Art Deco, @TGGP, @Cagey Beast, @Luddite in Chief

    I wonder how much a job pays designing silly and whimsical “New Age” wine bottle brand names and labels for the same Modesto, CA rot gut. I have an idea of my own I’d like to develop for export to |Europe.

    Transnational Sidewalk Turd

    In multiple languages, of course.

  116. OT, maybe. I just subscribed to Linh Dinh Substack for \$7/mo. Haven’t been able to support Unz directly since Patron deplatformed him. I feel guilty about it.

    Steve, every fundraiser you do reminds me I need to support your critical commentary; and eyesight. But I am lazy and all the payment methods you support are 100x more tedious than double-clicking my side button to subscribe on Substack with Apple Pay. If that is rude to say, I am sorry.

    Can’t you cross-post? I could continue to read you here, but support you on Substack. I think you’d make a lot of money on Substack Steve

    • Replies: @pirelli
    @botazefa

    I really wish Steve could get a substack or something so I could read him without coming to this site. The fact that he still hasn’t makes me think that either (1) he just doesn’t want to, for whatever reason (more of a hassle? More pressure?), or (2) substack won’t let him on their platform.

    Replies: @botazefa

  117. @Adam Smith
    The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It's like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes. The wine is soft, chewy and provides a lovely mouth feel.

    https://i.redd.it/mnlmevrcy1dx.jpg

    Replies: @Hypnotoad666, @prosa123, @AnotherDad, @Barbarossa

    Me tasting wine: “I’m getting subtle undertones of . . . grape juice and ethanol . . .”

    • Agree: Pixo
  118. I am definitely not a culture snob and claim no knowledge at all of wine. However, my personal experience suggests that there is an enormous distance between the wines one ordinarily finds on the shelves of grocery and liquor stores — even the most upscale and expensive ones — and the better quality wines from family-run vineyards in Europe.

    My cousin married a European, who would annually visit Europe, drop in on several vineyards owned by family friends, and bring back casks of wine from each. These were stored in the couple’s basement and decanted as needed into carafes and bottles. I sampled one of these wines once while visiting my cousin. It was an ethereal experience. I cannot adequately describe the richness and complexity of the wine’s taste and aroma. Suffice it to say it was better than any alcoholic beverage I’ve ever drunk before or since.

    Unfortunately for me, my cousin’s husband proved to be a brutish thug and a cad. They separated after an extremely acrimonious and brutal divorce and not long after he died in an ugly accident that might well have been a suicide. For me, the only tragedy in the denouement is that I’ll probably never again drink a really good wine.

  119. @Emil Nikola Richard
    If you can tell the difference between Burger King french fries and McDonalds french fries I am afraid that your test buds have gone insane.

    That is like comparing pig shit and dog shit. It does not amaze me that you drink box wine. 25.00 for a bottle of wine is what the bankers and politicians have done to the dollar.

    On the bright side your liver doesn't really want you drinking more than three or four bottles of wine per month any how.

    Replies: @Seminumerical, @Aeronerauk, @J.Ross

  120. @Jack D
    While wine ratings are not perfectly accurate, they are not worthless either. There is about a 4 point +/- spread in a rating system that goes from 80 to 100. So that 96 point wine might actually be a 92 (or vice versa) but it's very unlikely that it's going to be an 82.

    Unfortunately, the random spread between a 92 and a 96 is enough to scramble the order of the winners at any wine judging competition. Before a different panel of judges, or even before the SAME panel on a different day, the bronze medalist might be the gold or vice versa, so you can take those medals with a grain of salt. However, this does not mean that a bottle of Two Buck Chuck is the same thing as a bottle of Lafite.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703683804574533840282653628

    It's easy to overstate the case and say "it's all bullshit" when that is not quite true either. Wine ratings are less than completely definitive but more than complete bullshit.

    Generally speaking, there are strong diminishing returns on wine. An $8 bottle might be twice as good as a $4 bottle but a $16 bottle is only going to be 50% better and a $32 bottle is only going to be 25% better than the $16 bottle and so on. (This is putting aside the subjective nature of what is "better" which is a whole 'nother discussion. I mean "better" by expert criteria.)

    But some people want "the best" and have the $ to pay for it. Is a $66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a $33,000 Honda Accord? It would be hard to say yes but there are some people who still want the Mercedes. And beyond that, people who want a Rolls and so on. Is some of this showing off for your friends vs. getting something objectively better? Sure, but showing off for your friends has value too.

    There is also a lot of difference in markup on wine depending on where you buy it (even forgetting about restaurants where the stuff gets marked up 3 or 4x). This is especially bad in PA, where we have a system of government owned monopoly liquor stores. The same bottle of Oyster Bay NZ Sauvignon Blanc that sells for $9 at a discount retailer in Delaware (Total Wine or Costco) is $17 at the PA State Store.

    Replies: @epebble, @John Johnson, @AnotherDad, @Dube

    But some people want “the best” and have the \$ to pay for it. Is a \$66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a \$33,000 Honda Accord? It would be hard to say yes but there are some people who still want the Mercedes.

    I think you would at least have a discernable difference in that case. Would most people care? Probably not.

    To me the BS areas are where even self-described connoisseurs would not be possible to discern the high end from the medium in a blind test.

    That would include:
    Modern art (biggest product hoax of all time)
    Most liquors
    Coffee
    Women’s clothing
    Home furnishings
    Speakers
    Restaurants, especially steak and sushi
    Anything sold in a luxury mall

    Areas where I initially assumed the high end was marketing until I tried them:
    Gift chocolate
    Cake
    Leatherwork
    Banana Republic (not actually rebranded gap)
    Merino wool socks

    • Replies: @Justvisiting
    @John Johnson

    "modern art....hoax"

    I had a distant relative who became ridiculously wealthy because she loved and collected modern art from starving artists nobody had ever heard of--we are talking buying paintings for one hundred dollars that became worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her "hit" rate was close to 100%.

    She had a "knack" which most people (including me) do not have.

    There is a there there. I just have no clue how to see it.

  121. Speaking of hoaxes.

    https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20220708/cremator-pleads-guility-selling-body-parts

    Your loved one wasn’t cremated. He was dismantled and sold for parts.

  122. “When I hear the words California based industry I reach for my (Ockham’s) butter knife?”

    -Steve Sailer

    Lol the pure obtuseness that dominates Steve’s analysis of anything that might in even the most incidental way hurt his property value is hilarious. If Steve lived in Houston invade the world invite the world would be an exuberant call to action.

  123. @Pontius
    @ScarletNumber

    Weren't a bunch of Austrians busted for mixing propylene glycol (non toxic anti-freeze) into wine to enhance its sweetness a couple of decades ago? So much for your high end snobbery.
    Like the mentioned audiophiles, there are the beer snobs, the gun snobs, the auto snobs the tech snobs, the music snobs, whatever. It all comes down to successful marketing to people's inherent prejudices. Like listening to two guys talking about the best loads for Cape Buffalo when neither will ever get within 2000 miles of one. Some of the funniest ones are on Bob Is The Oil Guy, where people have an almost religious belief in their particular favourite oil brand, discussing additive packages of fresh oil sent out for analysis and which oils they blend together in their basements to get the performance required for their vintage Porsche 930 or something.

    Progress of marketing?

    https://youtu.be/q0O8Q0x38mI?t=958

    Replies: @possumman, @Anon

    I think Watch Snobs are another bred of idiot. I love reading the “Oil Threads” in the various motorcycle forums I frequent –just proves that some people have way to much time on the hands. If the manufacturer wanted you to mix Motul and Castrol and 10% synth oil to use in your bike they would do that and sell it to you in a bottle for \$25 /quart

  124. @Anon
    Good wines are not a hoax. My sister once asked a wine shop guy for recommendations and we ended up with the two best ones I've ever drunk. By contrast, my parents have always been happy to drink rot gut with their fancy dinners, and they don't care because it's cheap.

    The problem with wines is the same with the book market. Most people are content with crappy best sellers. But they honestly do like them. They have no time or interest in developing their taste. Most people honestly like crappy wine.

    American goat cheese is one of the most boring cheeses ever, but people who think they're sophisticated jump up and down about its bland, baby-food pablum taste.

    Coca-Cola tastes like battery acid yet most people like that too. However, many of these people like to fool themselves with the notion that they're sophisticated and have excellent taste when they don't. It's just the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Replies: @Redneck farmer, @Roger, @Daniel H

    So, you’ve drank battery acid?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Redneck farmer


    So, you’ve drank battery acid?
     
    Drunk. Drunk!

    The other day, I drove to the dollar store to get a hard-bristle hair brush. Upon leaving, the car died in the parking lot. The brush was used to clean the battery terminals. However, I gave it a token run across my scalp so at least once it would be used for its intended purpose.

    Do people in manufactories consider that a certain portion of their output will be put to some other use? Say, matches or toothpicks employed to make an Eiffel Tower?

    Replies: @Bill Jones

    , @Unintended Consequence
    @Redneck farmer

    That's not too different from cleaning acid off your car battery connectors with coca cola yet still drinking the stuff.

  125. @Thirdtwin
    Yes. So are “craft beers”.

    Replies: @possumman

    Every Craft Brewer makes the same dozen varieties—I generally buy according to the Artwork on the can—Union Craft in Baltimore makes one called Snow Pants—great looking label! They should all take the “sours” and just label them SKUNKY.

  126. @ScarletNumber

    Isn’t it simpler to assume that some people really can tell wines apart by taste and smell?
     
    No, it's simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?

    Replies: @Pontius, @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Curmudgeon, @Art Deco, @TGGP, @Cagey Beast, @Luddite in Chief

    There are people that can tell the difference between Coke, Pepsi, and RC Cola. I’m not one of them. I can, however tell the taste differences between single malt Scotches. In alcoholic beverages, the cask wood and climate determine the taste. Whether one is “better” (or fine) than another is a matter of personal taste.

  127. TG says:

    To address the last part of this post, some time ago I was a student at MIT and there was this big horrible steel sculpture put up in a public space, the artist was Louise Nevelson, and it got a lot of flack from the student body. It got painted bright colors, and several times buried in snow.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/2006/07/01/273881/is-it-art/

    Though in this case, the sculpture stayed.

  128. It’s more like 90% of those at the top who “prefer” the expensive stuff only do so because they think it makes them seem sophisticated, but can’t really tell the difference, so become label whores to protect themselves.

    Lots of hucksters have noted this among the elite and sell them junk but market it as high-end sophisticated stuff: “If you have to ask you can’t afford it.”

    Emperor’s New Clothes.

  129. @Jon
    I hosted a wine tasting back when those were a big thing. I made it blind, and threw in a bottle of Two-Buck-Chuck from Trader Joe's, along with wines at the $15, $30, and a couple of $60+ price points. Chuck came in second. Most people got a kick out of it, but one couple dropped out of the wine club and never forgave me for embarrassing them on their wine tastes.

    For example, there has been a vast influx into the wine industry over the last half century of rich Silicon Valley nerds. Are you saying they all agreed to propagate the ancient hoaxes about fine wine rather than figure out some way to prosper by beating the system?
     
    That's exactly what they are doing. Silicon Valley nerds are absolutely the nouveau riche - many of them are desperate to upgrade their social class to fit their income. I did a tour of Napa/Sonoma back in the early heyday of the internet. There were throngs of these nerds taking wine tasting classes and buying "starter sets" of wines and accessories to impress their friends.

    Replies: @Paleo Liberal, @Anon

    2 buck Chuck is one of my favorites

    I can’t tell the difference so why pay more?

    • Agree: SafeNow
  130. An interesting distinction between New York and Northern Californian rich people is that the former like investing in modern art while the latter prefer investing in vineyards.

    I would not want to live in California and see another 10% of my income sucked into the voracious maw of the super-state. But, this is some proof that the California tech guys are indeed smarter.

    Vineyards are pretty and actually produce something worthwhile–wine. And girls like them. Wine aids romance, and ergo–in time–the production of babies.

    In contrast, “modern art” is usually ugly and supporting it just spreads monkey pox.

  131. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Discordiax


    heterosexual aspirations
     

    which script is going to get Ryan Gosling
     
    https://img.thedailybeast.com/image/upload/c_crop,d_placeholder_euli9k,h_1688,w_3000,x_0,y_0/dpr_2.0/c_limit,w_740/fl_lossy,q_auto/v1655314010/061622-ryangosling-barbie_uvi1kc.jpg

    https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/06/margot.jpg

    Replies: @Stan Adams, @R.G. Camara

    I remember when big fat unpopular Amy Schumer was attached to this movie. The internet revolted, and one-star Amy was sent back to her family reunions with uncle Chuck Schumer. (But don’t call her a privileged JAP!)

    Now they just have box office poison Margot Robbie, she of the “woke” Suicide Squad/Harley Quinn films. Good luck!

  132. @Jack D
    While wine ratings are not perfectly accurate, they are not worthless either. There is about a 4 point +/- spread in a rating system that goes from 80 to 100. So that 96 point wine might actually be a 92 (or vice versa) but it's very unlikely that it's going to be an 82.

    Unfortunately, the random spread between a 92 and a 96 is enough to scramble the order of the winners at any wine judging competition. Before a different panel of judges, or even before the SAME panel on a different day, the bronze medalist might be the gold or vice versa, so you can take those medals with a grain of salt. However, this does not mean that a bottle of Two Buck Chuck is the same thing as a bottle of Lafite.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703683804574533840282653628

    It's easy to overstate the case and say "it's all bullshit" when that is not quite true either. Wine ratings are less than completely definitive but more than complete bullshit.

    Generally speaking, there are strong diminishing returns on wine. An $8 bottle might be twice as good as a $4 bottle but a $16 bottle is only going to be 50% better and a $32 bottle is only going to be 25% better than the $16 bottle and so on. (This is putting aside the subjective nature of what is "better" which is a whole 'nother discussion. I mean "better" by expert criteria.)

    But some people want "the best" and have the $ to pay for it. Is a $66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a $33,000 Honda Accord? It would be hard to say yes but there are some people who still want the Mercedes. And beyond that, people who want a Rolls and so on. Is some of this showing off for your friends vs. getting something objectively better? Sure, but showing off for your friends has value too.

    There is also a lot of difference in markup on wine depending on where you buy it (even forgetting about restaurants where the stuff gets marked up 3 or 4x). This is especially bad in PA, where we have a system of government owned monopoly liquor stores. The same bottle of Oyster Bay NZ Sauvignon Blanc that sells for $9 at a discount retailer in Delaware (Total Wine or Costco) is $17 at the PA State Store.

    Replies: @epebble, @John Johnson, @AnotherDad, @Dube

    \$66,000! Heck, even today–supply chain issues and all–you can get a really nice truck for that!

  133. @Intelligent Dasein

    “One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a "common good"! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
     

    Fine wines are absolutely not a hoax. How could they be? Think of all the manifold factors that influence the final result. Different grape varieties, different soils and microclimates, different weather from year to year, different aging methods---there is so much variety here that it allows those twin mistresses, Chance and Skill, to coax out rare and delightful combinations that amaze the senses. I know a good sommelier, and I attend tastings once every couple of months or so. There can be no doubt about the fact that some wines are incredibly special.

    Have you ever had a good amontillado? Have you ever experienced that incredible transition where, in a single sip, the taste profile changes from briny green olives, to warm melted butter, to chocolate covered almonds? It's magical. Now compare that to the flat taste of a grocery store marsala. You can see at once that there is a certain similarity there, but also that one is a pale imitation of the other.

    In all matters of taste, it is impossible that the fine should not exist. Is fine sushi a hoax? Is good tobacco a hoax? Heirloom tomatoes compared to mass market reds? Is wagyu beef the same as ground chuck? French baguette and Wonderbread? Is good cooking in general "a hoax"? Anybody who would seriously entertain the idea is, to be frank, a clod.

    The differences are all in the details, the particulars of process, you might say in the "breeding" of the ingredients. You would think that a forum full of HBD enthusiasts would appreciate this, but once again you manage to get it wrong at the very juncture where your predilections would have predicted success.

    Here, then, is some Real Science!™ for you. It's from the TV show Mythbusters, which I know some of you have watched before. I'm sorry about the quality of the recording, but it should be pretty fun nonetheless. This myth involves not wine, but vodka; I figured it would still be applicable. The myth in question was whether you could buy a cheap bottle of vodka and make it taste like top shelf vodka by running it through a charcoal water filter. They bought a real bottle of top shelf vodka as a control, and then they ran the cheap vodka through the filter zero times, one time, and all the way up to six times. They brought in a professional spirit taster to help judge the results. The interesting thing to me is not whether the myth was busted or not, but the fact that the spirit taster nailed every single sample: He correctly named the top shelf vodka, the cheap vodka, and all of the filtration sequences, one through six, in the correct order.

    Lest anyone ever tell you again that those wine judges are just making it up, show them this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO077nu2m5E

    Replies: @Justvisiting, @Esso, @Twinkie, @hhsiii

    “Is good tobacco a hoax?”

    I know nothing about wines, but cigars (Cuban and non Cuban) are in my wheel-house.

    Blind taste tests have made a lot of cigar “experts” look like fools, just as described earlier in this thread.

    Cuban cigars are particularly confusing since there can be crazy quality variation even within the same box as well as by year and factory.

    Cuban just tripled and quadrupled the prices on Cohiba and Trinidad. At their best these can be amazing cigars, but in blind taste tests a Juan Lopez (at 20% of the price) has been known to be confused with a (possibly sub par) Cohiba.

    So–good tobacco is not a hoax, but many of the “experts” are useless.

    There is one other factor with tobacco and I suspect it applies to wine as well.

    Different people do have different taste preferences and different levels of ability to taste and appreciate fine tobacco.

    • Replies: @Peter D. Bredon
    @Justvisiting


    There is one other factor with tobacco and I suspect it applies to wine as well. Different people do have different taste preferences and different levels of ability to taste and appreciate fine tobacco.
     
    Indeed, and why not go further, and just acknowledge that taste is subjective? Whatever it is that accounts for "I like that" varies from person to person, just as it varies from animal to animal. Saying someone should really like something, and would "if they had any taste" is like arguing over whether a cat's vision (sharper, but no colors) or a human's vision is "more real". (I may have the cat wrong but you know what I mean). Buy the finest, most elite chocolate and force your dog to eat it. See what happens.

    There's no inherent "telos" of wine other than pleasing someone's palate. A bridge that falls down is objectively "worse" than one that doesn't, a surgical procedure that doesn't work is worse than one that does, but a wine that I fail to like isn't "worse" than one you like.

    Colin Wilson, in a book whose British title was Brandy of the Damned (the US changed it to Chords and Discords, since no one would get the Shaw reference) dismisses music snobbery. People like to say "I used to like X but I became more sophisticated and now I only like Y" as if that was an advance. Actually, it's a loss: you no longer get enjoyment/wisdom whatever from X, yet the only purpose of art is to produce that effect: it's like sealing off one of your windows and thinking that makes the view more "sophisticated."

  134. @Adam Smith
    @Achmed E. Newman


    Peer pressure has those newly-rich geeks acting like they can tell the difference and “need” those fine wines...
     
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/04/Sour_Grapes_2016_poster.jpg

    Selling counterfeit wine to pretentious wine snobs can be quite profitable...

    Until you get caught.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    Dang, I might have to resort to selling counterfeit wines to winos on the street, then. “Hey, that don’t taste like no MD-20/20, man!”

    • Replies: @possumman
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I used to work with a girl named Mary Daniels but the guys all called her MD-20/20 and for good reason.

  135. @John Johnson
    @Jack D

    But some people want “the best” and have the $ to pay for it. Is a $66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a $33,000 Honda Accord? It would be hard to say yes but there are some people who still want the Mercedes.

    I think you would at least have a discernable difference in that case. Would most people care? Probably not.

    To me the BS areas are where even self-described connoisseurs would not be possible to discern the high end from the medium in a blind test.

    That would include:
    Modern art (biggest product hoax of all time)
    Most liquors
    Coffee
    Women's clothing
    Home furnishings
    Speakers
    Restaurants, especially steak and sushi
    Anything sold in a luxury mall

    Areas where I initially assumed the high end was marketing until I tried them:
    Gift chocolate
    Cake
    Leatherwork
    Banana Republic (not actually rebranded gap)
    Merino wool socks

    Replies: @Justvisiting

    “modern art….hoax”

    I had a distant relative who became ridiculously wealthy because she loved and collected modern art from starving artists nobody had ever heard of–we are talking buying paintings for one hundred dollars that became worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her “hit” rate was close to 100%.

    She had a “knack” which most people (including me) do not have.

    There is a there there. I just have no clue how to see it.

  136. @Recently Based
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    One of the guys I knew in consulting who grew up in Louisiana and was great at putting on the whole southern good ol' boy schtick was being interviewed by an investment bank as he was graduating from HBS. They did the classic thing of taking him to a fancy restaurant and asking him to order the wine to test his social skills (this was a long time ago). He decided he had zero interest in working with these guys, so when he was handed the menu, he put on his best Gomer Pyle accent and yelled "$100 a bottle -- Hell, I can't taste past $10!"

    Replies: @Faraday's Bobcat

    One of the guys I knew in consulting who grew up in Louisiana and was great at putting on the whole southern good ol’ boy schtick was being interviewed by an investment bank as he was graduating from HBS. They did the classic thing of taking him to a fancy restaurant and asking him to order the wine to test his social skills (this was a long time ago).

    I would enjoy doing some high-stakes business with such wise and discerning gentlemen.

    On the topic of wine, by definition, nobody likes snobbery. But the interesting question is whether wine experts are able to provide consistent, objective advice. If you give the same wine to 10 experts, do their descriptions cluster about a modal, or does one say it tastes like vanilla orchids and another say it tastes like it ran off of David Allan Coe’s boots?

  137. I must have walked along that rusty hulk in Federal Plaza a hundred times before I realized it was a work of art.

  138. @Adam Smith
    The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It's like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes. The wine is soft, chewy and provides a lovely mouth feel.

    https://i.redd.it/mnlmevrcy1dx.jpg

    Replies: @Hypnotoad666, @prosa123, @AnotherDad, @Barbarossa

    The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It’s like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes. The wine is soft, chewy and provides a lovely mouth feel.

    Now, if one drinks too much of the wine and porks the 15-year-old, well, things won’t turns out good.

    • Agree: Adam Smith
  139. @Joe Stalin
    @Paul Mendez


    These sound systems could reproduce frequencies higher than what dogs and lower than what elephants could hear, yet the audiophiles claimed they could tell the difference between them.
     
    I have tinnitus, constant ringing in the ears. After undergoing a battery of tests, including scans of the head, no tumors thank goodness, the doc said that the brain creates this when the ears provide unequal input into the brain.

    The audio spectrum response chart for my ears is really, really awful with the low frequency cutoff really low. I can hear higher frequencies in one ear but not the other.

    So high frequency sound reproduction is wasted money for me and I suspect many others.

    Protect your ears from high db sound environments, including constant noise, music and impulses (gun shots, etc) so that you can enjoy hearing in the future.

    Massad Ayoob states he has hearing protection (as well as body armor and firearm) for his go to gear in his home.

    Replies: @Justasking

    Is Ayoob wearing a bad wig in those Wilson Combat-sponsored YouTubes he does?

  140. Q: What’s a fine Jewish wine?
    A: I want to go to Miami.

    It is understandable that it might be harder to tell fine wines from crap in California. We used to do alert duty at March AFB, and many of my colleagues made side-trips to a winery in the San Bernardino hills to get very sweet crap wine that they all thought was great.

  141. @ic1000
    @Arclight

    > I would say I can instantly recognize a cheap bottle of wine...

    Yeah, my taste buds are a less-discriminating version of yours.

    On topic, here is a longish 2013 essay by econo-blogger Alex Mayyasi, Is Wine Bull$hit?. It covers similar ground to Sailer's post, but with links.

    Replies: @Pixo, @Arclight

    I would also say a good rule of thumb is that if you see a print or video advert for a given bottle of wine, it’s total shit. I have some relatives who are big fans of a wine that falls into this category, and whenever I visit I always hit the local wine merchant first and bring half a dozen bottles of wine as a “gift” to avoid being offered the swill they like.

    Anyway, as the article you link to indicates, a lot of this is subjective. However, I do think a poorly chosen wine can ruin a nice meal, and there are some people who are much better at ensuring the wine and courses are not fighting each other than others and to me that’s a real skill, although perhaps different from just assigning a given bottle a rating.

  142. @Je Suis Omar Mateen
    @J.Ross

    Wine differences are much more subtle than classical recording/performance differences.

    If you mean comparing a digitally remastered recording to the original analog, yeah, it's just about impossible to distinguish. And it is literally impossible, even for trained engineers, to distinguish low-resolution from high-resolution recordings, such as CD versus Blu-ray. But if you're saying classical mavens can't distinguish John Gardiner's Beethoven from Thomas Tilson's Beethoven, that's total and complete bulls**t.

    Replies: @J.Ross

    It was reviewers holding forth on the difference between two recordings (I think both were digital) and it turned out to be the same recording.

    • Replies: @Rodger Dodger
    @J.Ross


    It was reviewers holding forth on the difference between two recordings (I think both were digital) and it turned out to be the same recording.
     
    In high school long ago, a friend wrote a program for his (then new) HP55 calculator that wrote poetry using a random number generator. We gave examples to the school's English teachers to analyze. I remember one particular teacher who thought the author had homoerotic tendencies.
  143. @Russ
    There was a study at the Univ of Bordeaux some years ago wherein experienced wine-tasters were served white wines dyed red with food coloring and asked their assessments. Uniformly, their assessments centered on the "fruitiness" of the wines. The takeaway was that, of the senses, sight overrode taste/smell when it came to signalling the brain.

    Downtown St. Louis has a Serra sculpture whose rusted walls form an irregular polygon. Office workers played wiffle ball within it during lunch hour, in earlier eras when crime was more under control than now. Homage to downtown St. Louis' biggest (sole?) asset - the baseball Cardinals.

    Replies: @Flip, @Random Anonymous

    Homage to downtown St. Louis’ biggest (sole?) asset – the baseball Cardinals.

    Well, they do have the Gateway Arch. The City Museum is fun. But, yeah, a pathetic downtown for an almost 3 million metro area.

  144. @The Wild Geese Howard
    @Pixo


    The cheapest wines I have had were Spanish wines that were about 50 cents a liter if you supplied your own jug. And they were delicious.
     
    I can remember being able to buy some excellent bottles at Pingo Doce supermarkets in Portugal for 1 to 2 euro.

    Replies: @Pixo, @Bill Jones

    My cheapest wines that came in a bottle were French vin de table for 75 eurocents at Aldi. About \$1.30 adjusting for inflation and exchange rate.

    European Aldis are such a crazy experience, and other than the low prices and coin-deposit carts, were fairly different than the American ghetto Aldis I remember from my youth.

  145. @Reg Cæsar

    ...and have even been fooled with a bit of food coloring into thinking white wine is red.
     
    It's easy for me to tell. White wine gives me heartburn after a few moments. Red wine gives me instant and severe heartburn. Thus, I stick with craft beer. Heartburn takes hours. (Preemptive antacids can help, but defeat the whole purpose of wine tasting.)

    An interesting distinction between New York and Northern Californian rich people is that the former like investing in modern art while the latter prefer investing in vineyards.
     
    And the Californians are aware of the vineyards in their own state. Urban New Yorkers either aren't, or assume it's all Manischewitz, Mogen David, and Welch's.

    On top of this, the hardy, manly, native vitis labrusca has always had a bad reputation after its house pet phylloxera nearly destroyed Europe's ancient vitis vinifera in the 19th century.


    Phylloxera: How Wine Was Saved for the World


    https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55257c9de4b0c26feadc169c/1432732856861-OWBR19K9JYCSZHK8SM1H/CONGRESO+GASTRONOMIA+BICENTENARIO2.jpg


    California went with the fey European grapes. Which themselves had to be grafted onto the North American plants back at home to survive. (The ultimate in wine snobbery would be those Europeans who claim that the post-infestation wines are a shadow of the original product. How long ago did the last individual who tasted both died? Or are they opening 200-year-old bottles to test the hypothesis?)

    Thus, two cardinal aspects of American viticulture are apparent:

    As critics say of mediocre literature, what's good is not original, and what's original is not good

    Though to those of us of crude tongue, labrusca can be appreciated for its very roughness, as with stout and porter ales.

    Indians got their revenge for smallpox, measles, etc.

    Indeed, doubly so when a Parisian catches syphilis from a girl he's seduced with post-phylloxera wine.

    Replies: @Pixo, @EssayM, @Coemgen

    “ Red wine gives me instant and severe heartburn.”

    Always pictured you as a pure caucasiod, evolved to enjoy fermented beverages for 10,000 years, not asiatic.

    “Preemptive antacids can help, but defeat the whole purpose of wine tasting.”

    Why would that be? There’s one kind of Rolaids that have the taste and texture of Mentos, give that a shot. I could eat 20 of them if it were safe.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Pixo

    Antacids are just calcium carbonate to neutralize your stomach acid. You'd do just as well to take a magnesium or a zinc tablet.

  146. @ScarletNumber

    Isn’t it simpler to assume that some people really can tell wines apart by taste and smell?
     
    No, it's simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?

    Replies: @Pontius, @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Curmudgeon, @Art Deco, @TGGP, @Cagey Beast, @Luddite in Chief

    Advertising doesn’t work.

    • Troll: ScarletNumber
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Art Deco


    Advertising doesn’t work.
     
    Half of it works. You just never know which half.

    Replies: @Rodger Dodger

  147. Anon[107] • Disclaimer says:
    @Pontius
    @ScarletNumber

    Weren't a bunch of Austrians busted for mixing propylene glycol (non toxic anti-freeze) into wine to enhance its sweetness a couple of decades ago? So much for your high end snobbery.
    Like the mentioned audiophiles, there are the beer snobs, the gun snobs, the auto snobs the tech snobs, the music snobs, whatever. It all comes down to successful marketing to people's inherent prejudices. Like listening to two guys talking about the best loads for Cape Buffalo when neither will ever get within 2000 miles of one. Some of the funniest ones are on Bob Is The Oil Guy, where people have an almost religious belief in their particular favourite oil brand, discussing additive packages of fresh oil sent out for analysis and which oils they blend together in their basements to get the performance required for their vintage Porsche 930 or something.

    Progress of marketing?

    https://youtu.be/q0O8Q0x38mI?t=958

    Replies: @possumman, @Anon

    Weren’t a bunch of Austrians busted for mixing propylene glycol (non toxic anti-freeze) into wine to enhance its sweetness a couple of decades ago? So much for your high end snobbery.

    Kids, don’t do it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1985_diethylene_glycol_wine_scandal

    I don’t think those were high-end wines though.

  148. @Russ
    There was a study at the Univ of Bordeaux some years ago wherein experienced wine-tasters were served white wines dyed red with food coloring and asked their assessments. Uniformly, their assessments centered on the "fruitiness" of the wines. The takeaway was that, of the senses, sight overrode taste/smell when it came to signalling the brain.

    Downtown St. Louis has a Serra sculpture whose rusted walls form an irregular polygon. Office workers played wiffle ball within it during lunch hour, in earlier eras when crime was more under control than now. Homage to downtown St. Louis' biggest (sole?) asset - the baseball Cardinals.

    Replies: @Flip, @Random Anonymous

    Well, green grapes are fruit too.

  149. Tim Ferris has a podcast with a sommelier, who belongs to a very select society of professional tasters. The entry test requires blind tasting of various samples, they have to report the wine, location grown, vintage etc. Some people have amazing taste buds.

  150. Anonymous[655] • Disclaimer says:

    I suspect wine is like art. Up to a certain point, the price reflects how much enjoyment people get from the product. But once you get into the really high priced stuff, it is about money laundering.

    You can’t pay someone 3 million dollars for some shady business deal. But you can buy some paint splashed on a canvas or a cellar full of old wine for 3 million dollars and the IRS won’t bat an eye.

    Of course there are just naive people with lots of money who buy those things to signal status. Those are the people that lend the whole affair a sense of legitimacy. They are, however, incidental to the main purpose of the market.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @Anonymous

    Hadn't thought of that but it makes more sense than if you assume the art market is on the level.

  151. The very best bottle of champagne I’ve had cost me about \$250, if memory serves, and if someone were to offer me a couple of cases of it at the same price, an admittedly unlikely event, I’d pay up in a heartbeat.

  152. @John Henry
    This reminds me of the old saying, "You can tell a fine high class bottle of wine by that it got's a screw cap."

    I believe that was from Redd Foxx.

    Replies: @JimDandy, @Dave from Oz, @Etruscan Film Star

    That’s no longer true, from what I understand.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @JimDandy

    About 10 years ago Anthony Bourdain did a No Reservations show in Paris, bringing along his good buddy Eric Ripert, renowned chef/owner of Le Bernardin in New York. They were having lunch with three French chefs, and they were drinking youngish French wines out of screw-top bottles. Ripert was horrified, but he was roundly mocked by the French guys (and Bourdain) for his reactionary views. As Bourdain pointed out, they were in Paris to talk to the Young Turks that were changing French gastronomy; should they be surprised that French wine traditions were changing, too?

    Bottom line is that the modern screw-top is better for the wine, and the bang for the buck in aging red wine has limits.

    Replies: @peterike

  153. I spent a lot of my youth working in and with restaurants and wineries.

    Winemaking is a skill, but enjoying it is not (though many people pretend it is).

    Drinking pnly single varietal wines (e.g. Pinot Noir) is what screws everyone up. The best wines in the world are blends.

    You’ll find good value in wines when you buy and drink them in their country of origin, near the winery. (This does not work in California wine country where they overcharge for everything.)

  154. @The Wild Geese Howard
    For the most part.

    There's rarely a reason for normal folks to spend more than $20 to 25 on a bottle outside special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays.

    There's a Spanish red available that's about $15 a bottle that rated 95 pts in one of the big wine mags. That rating holds up to my palate.

    Replies: @David Jones

    Spanish is the best reasonably priced red. They don’t dump in the sulphites like the Chileans, and the wines aren’t as thin as the French.
    On the main subject, the most expensive wine I’ve tasted was a Christmas tip from a customer whose husband had business in South Africa. Normally she gives away something that would be \$10 in the US, for which I’m grateful,(at least it’s something), but this wine looked like it would be more expensive as it had a very plain label. A plain Shiraz from South Africa, Boekenhoutskloof, about 8 years old. I looked up the last known price, around \$75 US. Best I ever tasted, normally the most I’d spend would be the equivalent of \$25. I did wonder whether she got mixed up with some cheaper stuff.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
    @David Jones


    Spanish is the best reasonably priced red. They don’t dump in the sulphites like the Chileans, and the wines aren’t as thin as the French.
     
    Thank you for the insights.

    Any thoughts on the Argentinians and what they are up to these days?

    I ask because I feel the best bottle of wine I've ever had is a $50 Argentinian Malbec in Mendoza for my birthday in 2017.

    Replies: @Colin Wright, @Brutusale, @Just Some JB

  155. I can’t tell the difference between good and bad wine, unless it’s something like Red Dagger or Night Train fortified stuff. I even like peach wine and muscadine wines.
    One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen was at a wine tasting in Northern California. I worked for a large corporation that had an extremely snobby fine wine club. I was invited to the wine tastings because I worked closely with some of the club, and for some unaccountable reason, they thought I was A-OK. Dogs and cats also think so.
    The wine tasting started with some close analyses for some expensive wine. Everything was civil, but I could already feel some tension in the air. I was just sitting back with a few other philistines getting steadily drunker and doing some devastating George W. Bush impressions (I am a hard right-winger and George Bush is just an imbecile and a traitorous lapdog for the Jews).
    As the wine club got steadily drunker, the arguments began. The arguments finally reached a cresendo when the topic of the Napa Valley Wine Train came up. There were fierce partisans on each side, and the blunt insults and shouting started.
    We just loved it. We got to drink our fill of good and bad wine and see our co-workers totally decompensating. It was a great night. One of the best.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    @Fisk Ellington Rutledge IV

    George Bush is just an imbecile and a traitorous lapdog for the Jews

    He is neither, of course. We've discovered in the last several years what he actually is: someone who had no use for the people who voted for him. For all his shortcomings, his brother is more trustworthy.

    Replies: @Fisk Ellington Rutledge IV

  156. @Ted D. Richards
    For me Burger King fries are better and McD burgers are better. I sneak in their drive thrus when no one is looking. Wine...French when I'm looking for a selfish pleasure w/ a side of cognac. A few years ago I tasted a $700 a bottle cognac. Yes. I tasted why it was $700 a bottle. I'll go between $30-50 for a bottle of French wine. If I'm having a party, I'll buy Robert Mondavi Reds. I don't like white wine even with fish. I'll drink a Budweiser or Rolling Rock with fish. Actually my drug of choice is Bourbon. My default bourbon is Jim Bean Extra Black Aged. I like Buffalo Trace but I can't get it here in Pennsylvania. I have to cross the Mason-Dixon Line and get it in Maryland. Every time I cross into Maryland I feel I've betrayed the Union.

    Replies: @Ralph L, @EssayM

    My default bourbon is Jim Bean Extra Black Aged.

    Isn’t that Sean Bean Bourbon?
    Jim Beam is just a second tier movie star.

  157. @John Johnson
    I honestly have not had much wine past about $75 a bottle. I've had some aged wines at vineyards and while enjoyable I was able to find wines in the $30-$50 range that were just as good.

    Here is my question for regular wine drinkers: Does aging past a certain point really make that much of a difference? Would you really be drinking 20 year old wines frequently if you had oodles of money lying around? Could you tell the difference between a 10 and 20 year old wine in a blind test?

    I have had some aged scotch and it was definitely better than the $30-$50 range. But I don't care for scotch and would rather have Bulleit with some diet coke or in a sour.

    Replies: @Achmed E. Newman, @Intelligent Dasein, @Esso

    I don’t know about wine, but berry liqueurs all seem to converge towards a chocolate-like taste and a brownish color when they go old, which might not take all that long under a warm lamp in a warm showcase. I store mine refrigerated (helps a lot) and let them warm up before serving if they benefit from it.

    On topic: bad wines are definitely not a hoax, and wines unlike whiskey or beer don’t invariably taste bad.

  158. @Reg Cæsar

    ...and have even been fooled with a bit of food coloring into thinking white wine is red.
     
    It's easy for me to tell. White wine gives me heartburn after a few moments. Red wine gives me instant and severe heartburn. Thus, I stick with craft beer. Heartburn takes hours. (Preemptive antacids can help, but defeat the whole purpose of wine tasting.)

    An interesting distinction between New York and Northern Californian rich people is that the former like investing in modern art while the latter prefer investing in vineyards.
     
    And the Californians are aware of the vineyards in their own state. Urban New Yorkers either aren't, or assume it's all Manischewitz, Mogen David, and Welch's.

    On top of this, the hardy, manly, native vitis labrusca has always had a bad reputation after its house pet phylloxera nearly destroyed Europe's ancient vitis vinifera in the 19th century.


    Phylloxera: How Wine Was Saved for the World


    https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55257c9de4b0c26feadc169c/1432732856861-OWBR19K9JYCSZHK8SM1H/CONGRESO+GASTRONOMIA+BICENTENARIO2.jpg


    California went with the fey European grapes. Which themselves had to be grafted onto the North American plants back at home to survive. (The ultimate in wine snobbery would be those Europeans who claim that the post-infestation wines are a shadow of the original product. How long ago did the last individual who tasted both died? Or are they opening 200-year-old bottles to test the hypothesis?)

    Thus, two cardinal aspects of American viticulture are apparent:

    As critics say of mediocre literature, what's good is not original, and what's original is not good

    Though to those of us of crude tongue, labrusca can be appreciated for its very roughness, as with stout and porter ales.

    Indians got their revenge for smallpox, measles, etc.

    Indeed, doubly so when a Parisian catches syphilis from a girl he's seduced with post-phylloxera wine.

    Replies: @Pixo, @EssayM, @Coemgen

    White wine gives me heartburn after a few moments. Red wine gives me instant and severe heartburn.

    Drink a big glass of water before you start. Bread, crackers and cheese help, and amplify the experience.

    Same goes for beer, really.

  159. @The Only Catholic Unionist
    No mention of the movie Bottle Shock with the late Alan Rickman ... ? If you have not seen it, run do not walk, as the expression goes ...

    Replies: @Tom F., @Brutusale, @Ben tillman

    Great movie!

  160. Priceonomics covered this almost a decade ago (“Is Wine Bullshit?”.

    Of course it is. Study after study shows that even soi-disant ‘expert’ wine wankers – what I refer to as “Wine Rabbis” – can’t routinely tell the difference between a \$10 bot and a \$200 bot, and can’t sequentially rate the same wine to within acceptably-small-ε (‘expert’-level).

    We’ve failed to genocide wine wankers for several decades now – and so the field started to get a bit crowded.

    Bullshitters have branched out so now there are olive oil wankers; coffee wankers and so on ad nauseam. Grifters gotta grift, and not everyone has the commitment required to become a priest.

    Back in the olden days (late 2000s) I used to get our ‘quaffing’ wine from a bowser @60 centimes a litre (pumped into a 20l plastic bidon), so I constantly rail at ‘box wine‘ as being massively overpriced.

    Did the job – moved the brain needle by the required amount.

    Cannabis tincture would have done the job better; been cheaper; and had no adverse metabolic effect.

  161. Letting an inexpensive red wine breathe for a few hours (or overnight) can double its worth, in my experience. Buy a lower-middle priced wine from Argentina or Chile, try it right when you open it, try it again a few hours later and then try what’s left the next day. The difference can sometimes be huge. Usually the rougher the wine, the bigger the improvement.

    I’d also recommend wines labelled “organic”, if you’re shopping for cheaper ones. They seem to be better.

    • Agree: Daniel H
    • Replies: @TontoBubbaGoldstein
    @Cagey Beast

    ...then try what’s left the next day.

    Here on the Rez/Kibbutz, there is never any left the next day...

  162. @Adam Smith
    The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It's like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes. The wine is soft, chewy and provides a lovely mouth feel.

    https://i.redd.it/mnlmevrcy1dx.jpg

    Replies: @Hypnotoad666, @prosa123, @AnotherDad, @Barbarossa

    The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It’s like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes.

    You’re pitching me a wine that will land me in jail if I actually drink it?

    • Replies: @Adam Smith
    @AnotherDad

    Apparently, yes. Yes I am.

    Seriously though, André Simon, a French-born wine merchant and prolific writer about wine, once described a wine as "a girl of fifteen, who is already a great artist, coming on tip-toe and curtseying herself out with childish grace and laughing blue eyes."

    Truth is that I (kinda) stole his line to help craft a sarcastic comment that reads a bit like something a pretentious sommelier might write after a tasting.

  163. I can tell the difference between Mad Dog 20/20 and a \$50 bottle of Luis Jadot, but they still taste like wine, which tastes like sour grapes. I can tell a bigger difference between cheap and expensive beer and scotch than between cheap and expensive wines.

  164. @Anon
    The answer is no.

    However, amusingly enough, wine critics have not seldom been found to be taste blind. (No firm citation available, I'm afraid.) Perhaps that explained the unique and bizarre wine descriptions of Auberon Waugh's?

    A more difficult problem is what we might call vintage fraud, which is rebottling a younger vintage into the bottle of an older (and more expensive) one. You're liable to marvel at how young and fresh it seems in spite of its age.

    Re: red vs white, it's well known. If you want to be serious about blind tasting you can get wine glasses like the following.

    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2695/8926/products/[email protected]?v=1522213320

    Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic

    I’m certain that I could tell the difference between a red and a white, blind. I’m prety sure I could also tell Pinot Noir vs. Merlot and Chardonnay vs. Pinot Grigio but I’d probably have a hard time with Pinot Noir vs. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio vs. Sauvignon Blanc.

    I can (at least, I think I can) discern bouquet, feel, tannic, dry, fruit-forward, aftertaste, buttery/garlic-y, and melon-y. With some systematic technique and repeated tastings, I could probably throw in the concept of “balanced” with all that as well.

    But that’s about it. So wine, beer, whiskey, art, cigars, etc., just find out what you like and buy it.

    I agree with other commenters that there are some definite price points. I’d put it between \$15 and \$50. A family member once bought us a \$200 Cabernet at a restaurant and it was noticeably wonderful. Restaurants mark-up aggressively so I figure \$50.

    If I ever really decided to go down the oenophile rabbit hole, I’d adopt Dr. Ann Noble’s Wine Wheel. I might put that on my bucket list: assemble all the ingredients to train my palate for systematic wine-tasting and post reviews on the Internet. Then >> profit. (PS: I’ve got a pretty humble bucket list).

    https://www.winearomawheel.com/

    Sensory perceptions can be trained up. Bakers, for instance, can discern moisture content within single digit percentages. Piano tuners can discern, IIRC, eighth-tones.

    There’s also lack of uniform practices by vintners and variations in plant genetics and local conditions.

    • Replies: @Rocker
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Pinot Noir is nothing like Cabernet which I find strange given that you claim to be able to discern tannin.

    Replies: @JimDandy, @The Anti-Gnostic

    , @Unintended Consequence
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Very informative. I haven't really studied wine though I did buy a book that explains each type of wine, what they might go with for a meal and what type of glass to serve it in.

    I started with a state's wine for tourism which taught me the difference between sweeter vs dryer. I've since moved and have settled on two brands mainly: the entry level Sterling merlot, cab or meritage; or Coppola merlot or cab. I seldom remember to buy white wine though I like it one or two up from sweet. I went through a phase of drinking box wines but found that they taste more and more like the clear bag with each subsequent glass, not ever drinking that again.

    Also, it's important not to go bargain basement with wine because spices may be added to produce a flavor that resembles a better wine but is spices! I've also found that some cheap and no so cheap wines have weird aftertastes even if they aren't in a plastic bag. The least I'll pay for a bottle of wine is $10. Of course, the most I'll spend is $20 if I'm drinking alone. When the prices shot up a few months ago, I decided to forgo the pleasure until the basic Sterling brand drops closer to $12 again. It's not just the price; It's that I might actually drink wine with a lasagna frozen dinner or a, um, hamburger...

  165. Interesting but not surprising that the most subjective topics on iSteve here seem to get the most heated or argumentative responses.

    Sports, films, actors, foods, wine (here), women, etc.

    I drink a lot of wine (not at one time, but daily at dinner) and many of the comments seem spot on.

    Cost isn’t the main factor as quality isn’t linear to cost. Wines can spoil and get too old, too hot, etc.

    Some don’t like the taste (usually as you get older/drink more, you like it more) so if you don’t drink much, cheap tastes the same as expensive.

    Wine has the largest mark up at retail in liquor stores and restaurants, so it is usually offered in abundance. I’ve read that for menu listed wines, the most popular one is usually the second most expensive one. You want to impress your date but not be stupid. But the second one is usually not that good and just put there to pad the markup.

    If you are used to wine, the good ones always taste much better after the second glass, or fourth. Bad ones don’t taste as good. But as some note, cost isn’t the main factor.

    We are now drinking a lot of French La Vieille Ferme blush, red, white. Can get it for \$6.99/bottle. Sometimes sold out, so we’re not the only ones. Whether it’s the French Two Buck Chuck or not, a good value. EU wine subsidies have long created what they call the European “wine lake.”

    Beers are now much the same, with many variations, “craft” brews, etc. I’m not as big on those but some I like, some not much. Coors was the exotic brew in my late teens where I grew up. People would drive 100o miles to Denver to pick up cases. Now, it’s more like sour dishwater.

    Taste is highly personal though in various things you can learn a lot. Those hot young Hollywood babes seem desirable, then you learn that most of them are horrible and crazy. Like the male studs.

    Now even plain water comes in numerous styles and sources.

    If cheap is your thing, don’t bother…

  166. @Paul Mendez
    @J.Ross

    In the 70’s, being an “audiophile” was a thing. There were glossy magazines and luxury retail stores devoted solely to selling “sound systems” costing tens of thousands of dollars. This, when a new Pinto cost less than $3,000.

    These sound systems could reproduce frequencies higher than what dogs and lower than what elephants could hear, yet the audiophiles claimed they could tell the difference between them. Like wine snobs, audio magazine reviewers had a thesaurus of descriptors to rate each new piece of equipment.

    Today, convenience/price has trumped sound quality. First CDs. Then mp3. My Sirius satellite quality is noticeably worse than FM played on the same car radio. But who cares?

    Replies: @Joe Stalin, @SIMP simp, @Kratoklastes

    In the 70’s, being an “audiophile” was a thing.

    It still is – it’s another avenue for slightly-wealthy beta dickheads to status-signal to other beta dickheads… none of whom have ever seen a close-up image of a record-player stylus in the groove on a record, or have thought what fuckwits they look like to anyone who has seen such an image.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    @Kratoklastes

    "none of whom have ever seen a close-up image of a record-player stylus in the groove on a record, or have thought what fuckwits they look like to anyone who has seen such an image"

    Ah, what you need to REALLY appreciate your vinyl is a record-player with no stylus, one that shines a laser on the grooves.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_turntable

    A snip at 15k!

    https://townsquare.media/site/443/files/2015/05/Laser-Turntable-630x420.jpg

  167. @Ted D. Richards
    For me Burger King fries are better and McD burgers are better. I sneak in their drive thrus when no one is looking. Wine...French when I'm looking for a selfish pleasure w/ a side of cognac. A few years ago I tasted a $700 a bottle cognac. Yes. I tasted why it was $700 a bottle. I'll go between $30-50 for a bottle of French wine. If I'm having a party, I'll buy Robert Mondavi Reds. I don't like white wine even with fish. I'll drink a Budweiser or Rolling Rock with fish. Actually my drug of choice is Bourbon. My default bourbon is Jim Bean Extra Black Aged. I like Buffalo Trace but I can't get it here in Pennsylvania. I have to cross the Mason-Dixon Line and get it in Maryland. Every time I cross into Maryland I feel I've betrayed the Union.

    Replies: @Ralph L, @EssayM

    Solid bourbon recommendations.

  168. TGGP says: • Website
    @ScarletNumber

    Isn’t it simpler to assume that some people really can tell wines apart by taste and smell?
     
    No, it's simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?

    Replies: @Pontius, @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Curmudgeon, @Art Deco, @TGGP, @Cagey Beast, @Luddite in Chief

    This is the real reason advertising works:
    http://www.meltingasphalt.com/ads-dont-work-that-way/
    Not because people are dumb, but because they’re smart enough to recognize the signal associated with a product and then make use of it by conspicuously consuming it.

    As for wines, Steve did not provide “endless evidence” that anyone can distinguish them in a taste test.

    • Troll: ScarletNumber
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @TGGP


    As for wines, Steve did not provide “endless evidence” that anyone can distinguish them in a taste test.
     
    Endless evidence is available. The question is, evidence for what? Taste, or fraud?
  169. @Anon
    Good wines are not a hoax. My sister once asked a wine shop guy for recommendations and we ended up with the two best ones I've ever drunk. By contrast, my parents have always been happy to drink rot gut with their fancy dinners, and they don't care because it's cheap.

    The problem with wines is the same with the book market. Most people are content with crappy best sellers. But they honestly do like them. They have no time or interest in developing their taste. Most people honestly like crappy wine.

    American goat cheese is one of the most boring cheeses ever, but people who think they're sophisticated jump up and down about its bland, baby-food pablum taste.

    Coca-Cola tastes like battery acid yet most people like that too. However, many of these people like to fool themselves with the notion that they're sophisticated and have excellent taste when they don't. It's just the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Replies: @Redneck farmer, @Roger, @Daniel H

    So wine tastes good if an expert recommends it, but not if served at annoying family dinners.

  170. @Art Deco
    @ScarletNumber

    Advertising doesn't work.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Advertising doesn’t work.

    Half of it works. You just never know which half.

    • Replies: @Rodger Dodger
    @Reg Cæsar



    Advertising doesn’t work.
     
    Half of it works. You just never know which half.
     
    Coke and Pepsi together spend $8B annually (!) on advertising and I've never understood why. Does anyone actually drink one or the other based on their marketing? I suspect either one could not spend a penny and the change in their market share wouldn't be noticed

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @John Johnson

  171. @Anon
    Good wines are not a hoax. My sister once asked a wine shop guy for recommendations and we ended up with the two best ones I've ever drunk. By contrast, my parents have always been happy to drink rot gut with their fancy dinners, and they don't care because it's cheap.

    The problem with wines is the same with the book market. Most people are content with crappy best sellers. But they honestly do like them. They have no time or interest in developing their taste. Most people honestly like crappy wine.

    American goat cheese is one of the most boring cheeses ever, but people who think they're sophisticated jump up and down about its bland, baby-food pablum taste.

    Coca-Cola tastes like battery acid yet most people like that too. However, many of these people like to fool themselves with the notion that they're sophisticated and have excellent taste when they don't. It's just the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Replies: @Redneck farmer, @Roger, @Daniel H

    Coca-Cola tastes like battery acid yet most people like that too

    Coca-Cola is sublime.

    • Replies: @tyrone
    @Daniel H


    Coca-Cola is sublime.
     
    ......sadly the Coca Cola corporation is not.
    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Daniel H


    Coca-Cola is sublime.
     
    It's sublemon-lime.
  172. I don’t care about wine, but I know one taster who is way above most of you had written.
    He’s Mozart for wines. He can discern various levels of quality & nuance I don’t know even exist, in such a manner that it borders on the paranormal.

    So, it’s not just snobbery or something fake- there are people whose taste in wine is impeccable & completely reliable.But, they’re basically artists and are so rare that virtually all sophisticated consumers simply can’t tell the difference between high priced wines.

  173. @ScarletNumber

    Isn’t it simpler to assume that some people really can tell wines apart by taste and smell?
     
    No, it's simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?

    Replies: @Pontius, @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Curmudgeon, @Art Deco, @TGGP, @Cagey Beast, @Luddite in Chief

    “No, it’s simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?”

    So it it just our easily persuaded imagination at work when we prefer one wine, beer or whiskey over another? If you genuinely believe that then you may be the equivalent of colourblind when it comes to booze.

  174. @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Anon

    I'm certain that I could tell the difference between a red and a white, blind. I'm prety sure I could also tell Pinot Noir vs. Merlot and Chardonnay vs. Pinot Grigio but I'd probably have a hard time with Pinot Noir vs. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio vs. Sauvignon Blanc.

    I can (at least, I think I can) discern bouquet, feel, tannic, dry, fruit-forward, aftertaste, buttery/garlic-y, and melon-y. With some systematic technique and repeated tastings, I could probably throw in the concept of "balanced" with all that as well.

    But that's about it. So wine, beer, whiskey, art, cigars, etc., just find out what you like and buy it.

    I agree with other commenters that there are some definite price points. I'd put it between $15 and $50. A family member once bought us a $200 Cabernet at a restaurant and it was noticeably wonderful. Restaurants mark-up aggressively so I figure $50.

    If I ever really decided to go down the oenophile rabbit hole, I'd adopt Dr. Ann Noble's Wine Wheel. I might put that on my bucket list: assemble all the ingredients to train my palate for systematic wine-tasting and post reviews on the Internet. Then >> profit. (PS: I've got a pretty humble bucket list).

    https://www.winearomawheel.com/

    Sensory perceptions can be trained up. Bakers, for instance, can discern moisture content within single digit percentages. Piano tuners can discern, IIRC, eighth-tones.

    There's also lack of uniform practices by vintners and variations in plant genetics and local conditions.

    Replies: @Rocker, @Unintended Consequence

    Pinot Noir is nothing like Cabernet which I find strange given that you claim to be able to discern tannin.

    • Replies: @JimDandy
    @Rocker

    Yeah, Pinot Noir and Cab are my shorthand for what I like (Cabs) and don't like (Pinot Noirs).

    Replies: @Trevor

    , @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Rocker

    Cab is PN amped up. Cab is not Merlot amped up.

    Like I mentioned, wines are all over the map. Somebody can be bottling something and call it PN or Malbec or Cabernet grapes but nobody really knows or knows the vintner's husbandry.

  175. @TGGP
    @ScarletNumber

    This is the real reason advertising works:
    http://www.meltingasphalt.com/ads-dont-work-that-way/
    Not because people are dumb, but because they're smart enough to recognize the signal associated with a product and then make use of it by conspicuously consuming it.

    As for wines, Steve did not provide "endless evidence" that anyone can distinguish them in a taste test.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    As for wines, Steve did not provide “endless evidence” that anyone can distinguish them in a taste test.

    Endless evidence is available. The question is, evidence for what? Taste, or fraud?

  176. @Intelligent Dasein

    “One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a "common good"! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
     

    Fine wines are absolutely not a hoax. How could they be? Think of all the manifold factors that influence the final result. Different grape varieties, different soils and microclimates, different weather from year to year, different aging methods---there is so much variety here that it allows those twin mistresses, Chance and Skill, to coax out rare and delightful combinations that amaze the senses. I know a good sommelier, and I attend tastings once every couple of months or so. There can be no doubt about the fact that some wines are incredibly special.

    Have you ever had a good amontillado? Have you ever experienced that incredible transition where, in a single sip, the taste profile changes from briny green olives, to warm melted butter, to chocolate covered almonds? It's magical. Now compare that to the flat taste of a grocery store marsala. You can see at once that there is a certain similarity there, but also that one is a pale imitation of the other.

    In all matters of taste, it is impossible that the fine should not exist. Is fine sushi a hoax? Is good tobacco a hoax? Heirloom tomatoes compared to mass market reds? Is wagyu beef the same as ground chuck? French baguette and Wonderbread? Is good cooking in general "a hoax"? Anybody who would seriously entertain the idea is, to be frank, a clod.

    The differences are all in the details, the particulars of process, you might say in the "breeding" of the ingredients. You would think that a forum full of HBD enthusiasts would appreciate this, but once again you manage to get it wrong at the very juncture where your predilections would have predicted success.

    Here, then, is some Real Science!™ for you. It's from the TV show Mythbusters, which I know some of you have watched before. I'm sorry about the quality of the recording, but it should be pretty fun nonetheless. This myth involves not wine, but vodka; I figured it would still be applicable. The myth in question was whether you could buy a cheap bottle of vodka and make it taste like top shelf vodka by running it through a charcoal water filter. They bought a real bottle of top shelf vodka as a control, and then they ran the cheap vodka through the filter zero times, one time, and all the way up to six times. They brought in a professional spirit taster to help judge the results. The interesting thing to me is not whether the myth was busted or not, but the fact that the spirit taster nailed every single sample: He correctly named the top shelf vodka, the cheap vodka, and all of the filtration sequences, one through six, in the correct order.

    Lest anyone ever tell you again that those wine judges are just making it up, show them this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO077nu2m5E

    Replies: @Justvisiting, @Esso, @Twinkie, @hhsiii

    warm melted butter

    Thanks for the warning.

    But you see, all those associations are why you can’t trust your sense of smell. It conflates aromas, depending on the memory of the dishes you have eaten. I have scented and pinpointed mushrooms and animals a number of times, but almost every time the first thing I picked up was the smell of food, with spices that could not have been there in the forest.

    Wine does have an incredible variety of aromas to be derived from a single species (artic bramble /nagoonberry has an even bigger aromatic support, the liqueur is worth a try if you can find a fresh bottle), I’m not saying the talk about hints of x and y is all bullshit. I once tasted plum jam in an Australian wine and I really liked it, reminded me of arctic bramble. But then a few months later on a boxing day visit I saw the same label of wine on the table, poured and took a sip… and the taste wasn’t there. I read the backside where it said “body of plum” or something of the sort.

    Because of the different sorts of wine there is a novelty/variety value in wines, some sorts having a limited supply that drives up prices, which is then exarcerbated by signaling and acquired tastes. But bottles over 1000 \$ call for a money laundering or tax avoidance investigation in my opinion.

  177. @Redneck farmer
    @Anon

    So, you've drank battery acid?

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Unintended Consequence

    So, you’ve drank battery acid?

    Drunk. Drunk!

    The other day, I drove to the dollar store to get a hard-bristle hair brush. Upon leaving, the car died in the parking lot. The brush was used to clean the battery terminals. However, I gave it a token run across my scalp so at least once it would be used for its intended purpose.

    Do people in manufactories consider that a certain portion of their output will be put to some other use? Say, matches or toothpicks employed to make an Eiffel Tower?

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    @Reg Cæsar

    You upbraided Redneck for his use of a word:


    So, you’ve drank battery acid?
     

    Drunk. Drunk!
     
    Without asking the pertinent question: Was it purple?

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32748711/

  178. When I see how many here can’t stand the idea of wine drinking — let alone discriminating wine drinking — I’m reminded that you’re the same crowd who absolutely lost your minds when Angela Saini wrote “in the autumn” rather than in “in the fall”.

    Montgomery Gentry fans represent! Being “real” is just another affectation.

  179. @Intelligent Dasein

    “One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a "common good"! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
     

    Fine wines are absolutely not a hoax. How could they be? Think of all the manifold factors that influence the final result. Different grape varieties, different soils and microclimates, different weather from year to year, different aging methods---there is so much variety here that it allows those twin mistresses, Chance and Skill, to coax out rare and delightful combinations that amaze the senses. I know a good sommelier, and I attend tastings once every couple of months or so. There can be no doubt about the fact that some wines are incredibly special.

    Have you ever had a good amontillado? Have you ever experienced that incredible transition where, in a single sip, the taste profile changes from briny green olives, to warm melted butter, to chocolate covered almonds? It's magical. Now compare that to the flat taste of a grocery store marsala. You can see at once that there is a certain similarity there, but also that one is a pale imitation of the other.

    In all matters of taste, it is impossible that the fine should not exist. Is fine sushi a hoax? Is good tobacco a hoax? Heirloom tomatoes compared to mass market reds? Is wagyu beef the same as ground chuck? French baguette and Wonderbread? Is good cooking in general "a hoax"? Anybody who would seriously entertain the idea is, to be frank, a clod.

    The differences are all in the details, the particulars of process, you might say in the "breeding" of the ingredients. You would think that a forum full of HBD enthusiasts would appreciate this, but once again you manage to get it wrong at the very juncture where your predilections would have predicted success.

    Here, then, is some Real Science!™ for you. It's from the TV show Mythbusters, which I know some of you have watched before. I'm sorry about the quality of the recording, but it should be pretty fun nonetheless. This myth involves not wine, but vodka; I figured it would still be applicable. The myth in question was whether you could buy a cheap bottle of vodka and make it taste like top shelf vodka by running it through a charcoal water filter. They bought a real bottle of top shelf vodka as a control, and then they ran the cheap vodka through the filter zero times, one time, and all the way up to six times. They brought in a professional spirit taster to help judge the results. The interesting thing to me is not whether the myth was busted or not, but the fact that the spirit taster nailed every single sample: He correctly named the top shelf vodka, the cheap vodka, and all of the filtration sequences, one through six, in the correct order.

    Lest anyone ever tell you again that those wine judges are just making it up, show them this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO077nu2m5E

    Replies: @Justvisiting, @Esso, @Twinkie, @hhsiii

    Fine wines are absolutely not a hoax. How could they be? Think of all the manifold factors that influence the final result. Different grape varieties, different soils and microclimates, different weather from year to year, different aging methods—there is so much variety here that it allows those twin mistresses, Chance and Skill, to coax out rare and delightful combinations that amaze the senses.

    In this, I agree wholeheartedly and believe you are absolutely correct.

    But it is also absolutely irrelevant in our social and national context – because the vast majority of human beings have neither the ability nor the inclination to engage in the inculcation of fine senses. And our country is not France or Japan, in which countries there is still widely-held and -admired adherence to artisanal traditions and pursuit of perfection in craftmanship.

    It is like this with all manners of goods. The market is mostly geared toward that which satisfies the whims (and often base instincts) of, say, 80-90% of the consumers. The goal, then, becomes the delivery of such products at the lowest competitive and profitable price possible. This means that the small fraction of people who truly appreciate and enjoy more exalted taste (and those who merely seek to imitate this taste) will have to indulge in goods of far more uneconomic prices. Is a \$3,000 Wilson Combat 1911 six times the gun a Glock 19 is? The answer is clearly no and that economic calculation determines the choice of the vast majority of consumers and in turn the entire, non-niche, market.

    I’ve mentioned this repeatedly in the past. Increasingly, this economy appears polarized. Middle class products of decent quality and workmanship are vanishing in many goods categories (electronics excepted, for example) and the market is bifurcated into cheap junks of low quality and durability on one hand and the truly high-end products that serve the enlarged affluent class. It’s not just wine – it’s furniture, leather goods, etc.

    Recently I got tired of plastic tumblers and cups for use at pool-side that would warp, become cloudy, and otherwise have sharp edges. I had to order plastic cups made in Japan.

    • Replies: @6dust6
    @Twinkie

    I have worked as a craftsman as a designer and maker of fine furniture for 45 years now and can vouch that your comments are sad but true, and reminded me of de Tocqueville's observation on the quality of things produced in our fledging democracy: "When none but the wealthy had watches, they were almost all very good ones; few are now made which are worth much, but everybody has one in his pocket."

  180. anonymous[232] • Disclaimer says:

    Every year Robert Hodgson selects the finest wines from his small California winery and puts them into competitions around the state.

    And in most years, the results are surprisingly inconsistent: some whites rated as gold medallists in one contest do badly in another. Reds adored by some panels are dismissed by others. Over the decades Hodgson, a softly spoken retired oceanographer, became curious. Judging wines is by its nature subjective, but the awards appeared to be handed out at random.

    So drawing on his background in statistics, Hodgson approached the organisers of the California State Fair wine competition, the oldest contest of its kind in North America, and proposed an experiment for their annual June tasting sessions.

    Each panel of four judges would be presented with their usual “flight” of samples to sniff, sip and slurp. But some wines would be presented to the panel three times, poured from the same bottle each time. The results would be compiled and analysed to see whether wine testing really is scientific.

    The first experiment took place in 2005. The last was in Sacramento earlier this month. Hodgson’s findings have stunned the wine industry. Over the years he has shown again and again that even trained, professional palates are terrible at judging wine.

    “The results are disturbing,” says Hodgson from the Fieldbrook Winery in Humboldt County, described by its owner as a rural paradise. “Only about 10% of judges are consistent and those judges who were consistent one year were ordinary the next year.

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis

  181. It is extremely easy – 90 percent of smokers, even panhandler-level smokers, can do it – to distinguish a 2 dollar cigar (Prince Edward, factory rolled with an obvious whiff of aluminum) from a 10 dollar cigar (hand rolled).
    50 percent of people can distinguish rail bourbon, blind tasted, from 30 dollar bourbon. The other 50 percent of people do not matter, in this discussion.

    Basically, though, NOBODY can tell 50 dollar wine from 500 dollar wine, unless they have worked on the relevant terroir. I can do it, if we are talking Livermore Valley, Santa Barbara, the Loire Valley, and, to a certain degree, Burgundy, Argentina, Chile and Long Island. But I cannot do it anywhere else – (and I am kind of confident on the subject, so this is a very humble thing for me to say!)

    That being said, it does annoy me when hoi polloi start talking about the fact that people like me – and I am someone who can easily tell good wine from bad wine – are “lying” when we say we know what we are talking about. I mean, it does not really annoy me, I just feel sorry for them.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    @middle-aged vet

    '...That being said, it does annoy me when hoi polloi start talking about the fact that people like me – and I am someone who can easily tell good wine from bad wine – are “lying” when we say we know what we are talking about. I mean, it does not really annoy me, I just feel sorry for them.'

    My chagrin about my failure to acquire a palate that would cost me several thousand dollars a year is limited.

    I see it as a blessing that I can name one or two $4.99 bottles of wine I find perfectly drinkable. I avoid touching anything over $20.00.

    I might like it.

    Replies: @middle-aged vet

  182. @Stan Adams
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    A movie featuring two blonde whites in a healthy romantic relationship? I seriously can’t even. I mean … it’s 2022, people!

    Actually, I was scrolling *up* through the comments (I do that a lot) and I saw the bottom pictures first. My initial reaction was, “Why is Anderson Cooper wearing a cowboy outfit?”

    They used to say that if Barbie were a real person she’d be 7’2” (based on the proportions of the doll). This was one of the factors behind the creation of Body Positive (Fat) Barbie - “Little girls are starving themselves to achieve an unobtainable ideal!”

    You never hear anyone complaining that little boys are growing up with unrealistic male role models.

    Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    A movie featuring two blonde whites in a healthy romantic relationship? I seriously can’t even. I mean … it’s 2022, people!

    IKR, and for the current year the visuals look wholesome and dare I say based, with ’80s/’90s nostalgia neon/day-glo A E S T H E T I C S blasting throughout the screen in the rollerblading pic.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Indeed. Perhaps the old girl has life in her yet.

  183. @Achmed E. Newman
    @Adam Smith

    Dang, I might have to resort to selling counterfeit wines to winos on the street, then. "Hey, that don't taste like no MD-20/20, man!"

    Replies: @possumman

    I used to work with a girl named Mary Daniels but the guys all called her MD-20/20 and for good reason.

  184. @stillCARealist
    @Anonymous

    As a former wine drinker I can confirm. After spending years drinking CA wines I thought I should branch out and find the good French wines. Well, I spent a lot of money, but I never found good French wine. It was all blah, regardless of price. The word most often associated with their wine? Watery.

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    Californa wines are pretty good – how they get the delicate strawberry flavour into some Zinfandels I’ll never know – hopefully not with strawberry concentrate.

    Aussie wine in the 1970s were a bit of a joke, but now they are really good – Aussie Shiraz is my go-to red. But even Pythons have been edited for today’s sensitivities – the line about ‘Chateau Legaupna – guaranteed to prise open the legs of even the most reluctant sheila’ from this 1972 record has vanished.

    Another good fighting wine is ‘Melbourne Old-and-Yellow’, which is particularly heavy, and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat.

    Quite the reverse is true of ‘Chateau Chunder’, which is an appellation controlee especially grown for those keen on regurgitation — a fine wine which really opens up the sluices at both ends.

    Real emetic fans will also go for a ‘Hobart Muddy’, and a prize winning ‘Cuvee Reserve Chateau Bottled Nuit San Wogga Wogga’, which has a bouquet like an aborigine’s armpit.

  185. @International Jew
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Hate to go all Reg Cæsar on you but Alessandra/Alexandra is a dumb name to give a girl; it means "protector of men".

    Replies: @JimDandy, @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Hate to go all Reg Cæsar on you but Alessandra/Alexandra is a dumb name to give a girl; it means “protector of men”.

    Why do you think Reg would object to that?

  186. @Daniel H
    @Anon


    Coca-Cola tastes like battery acid yet most people like that too
     
    Coca-Cola is sublime.

    Replies: @tyrone, @Reg Cæsar

    Coca-Cola is sublime.

    ……sadly the Coca Cola corporation is not.

  187. @Kratoklastes
    @Paul Mendez


    In the 70’s, being an “audiophile” was a thing.
     
    It still is - it's another avenue for slightly-wealthy beta dickheads to status-signal to other beta dickheads... none of whom have ever seen a close-up image of a record-player stylus in the groove on a record, or have thought what fuckwits they look like to anyone who has seen such an image.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/crpt6bg3afzba20/RecordGroove.png?dl=1

    Replies: @YetAnotherAnon

    “none of whom have ever seen a close-up image of a record-player stylus in the groove on a record, or have thought what fuckwits they look like to anyone who has seen such an image”

    Ah, what you need to REALLY appreciate your vinyl is a record-player with no stylus, one that shines a laser on the grooves.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_turntable

    A snip at 15k!

    • LOL: ScarletNumber
  188. @Anonymous
    I suspect wine is like art. Up to a certain point, the price reflects how much enjoyment people get from the product. But once you get into the really high priced stuff, it is about money laundering.

    You can't pay someone 3 million dollars for some shady business deal. But you can buy some paint splashed on a canvas or a cellar full of old wine for 3 million dollars and the IRS won't bat an eye.

    Of course there are just naive people with lots of money who buy those things to signal status. Those are the people that lend the whole affair a sense of legitimacy. They are, however, incidental to the main purpose of the market.

    Replies: @Art Deco

    Hadn’t thought of that but it makes more sense than if you assume the art market is on the level.

  189. @botazefa
    OT, maybe. I just subscribed to Linh Dinh Substack for $7/mo. Haven't been able to support Unz directly since Patron deplatformed him. I feel guilty about it.

    Steve, every fundraiser you do reminds me I need to support your critical commentary; and eyesight. But I am lazy and all the payment methods you support are 100x more tedious than double-clicking my side button to subscribe on Substack with Apple Pay. If that is rude to say, I am sorry.

    Can't you cross-post? I could continue to read you here, but support you on Substack. I think you'd make a lot of money on Substack Steve

    Replies: @pirelli

    I really wish Steve could get a substack or something so I could read him without coming to this site. The fact that he still hasn’t makes me think that either (1) he just doesn’t want to, for whatever reason (more of a hassle? More pressure?), or (2) substack won’t let him on their platform.

    • Replies: @botazefa
    @pirelli


    I really wish Steve could get a substack or something so I could read him without coming to this site.
     
    Maybe at this stage in his life Steve just doesn't want the hassle of learning a new publishing platform. I can relate to that feeling.

    I get the sense you only come to Unz for Sailer's blogs? I wonder how many other Unz visits are primarily driven by Sailer. I originally came here after following Dr James Thompson to Unz. Then I discovered iSteve and all the other great writers.
  190. @CCR
    Burger King burgers AND fries are better than McDonald's burgers and fries.

    Replies: @Shel100, @Che Guava

    That might be true now but back in the old days McDonald’s had the best fries.

  191. @Fisk Ellington Rutledge IV
    I can't tell the difference between good and bad wine, unless it's something like Red Dagger or Night Train fortified stuff. I even like peach wine and muscadine wines.
    One of the funniest things I've ever seen was at a wine tasting in Northern California. I worked for a large corporation that had an extremely snobby fine wine club. I was invited to the wine tastings because I worked closely with some of the club, and for some unaccountable reason, they thought I was A-OK. Dogs and cats also think so.
    The wine tasting started with some close analyses for some expensive wine. Everything was civil, but I could already feel some tension in the air. I was just sitting back with a few other philistines getting steadily drunker and doing some devastating George W. Bush impressions (I am a hard right-winger and George Bush is just an imbecile and a traitorous lapdog for the Jews).
    As the wine club got steadily drunker, the arguments began. The arguments finally reached a cresendo when the topic of the Napa Valley Wine Train came up. There were fierce partisans on each side, and the blunt insults and shouting started.
    We just loved it. We got to drink our fill of good and bad wine and see our co-workers totally decompensating. It was a great night. One of the best.

    Replies: @Art Deco

    George Bush is just an imbecile and a traitorous lapdog for the Jews

    He is neither, of course. We’ve discovered in the last several years what he actually is: someone who had no use for the people who voted for him. For all his shortcomings, his brother is more trustworthy.

    • Replies: @Fisk Ellington Rutledge IV
    @Art Deco

    George W. Bush was a GloboHomo and third-world immigration enthusiast; all part of the Jewish agenda. None of the Bush family can be trusted. George H.W. Bush was a notorious traitor and globalist tool. The Bush family has been as destructive as the Kennedy family. They are all traitors to their race and their civilization. All negro worshipers. Totally disgusting.

  192. @Dmon
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    In America, wine drinking is associated with either social climbing and conspicuous consumption (expensive wine) or defeat and dereliction (cheap wine). How about gettin' the toes tapping with a little beer-drinking music?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFrGzKpGvaU&ab_channel=verycoolsound

    Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    How about gettin’ the toes tapping with a little beer-drinking music?

    Nah, we Continental mode right now

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Walken I recognize, but who is the chanteuse? She's gorgeous.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @Jenner Ickham Errican

  193. @Neutral Observer

    Although an expensive wine may taste better on the first mouthful or even the first glass, in the end a cheaper wine gets you drunk just as well, and after the first glass it starts to taste a lot better.
     
    Yep. Your observation is embedded in the Gospel story of the Wedding Feast of Cana when Jesus turned water into wine:

    And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

    The headwaiters who served the wine way back then used that same timeless logic.

    When I was a non-wine-drinking kid and heard that Gospel story at Sunday Mass, I didn't get that part. But I learned it pretty fast when I started drinking wine as an adult.

    BTW, the Value/Price curve for vodka flattens asymptotically even faster.

    Replies: @Unintended Consequence

    It would be fun for someone to graph the value vs price of booze, the diminishing returns (or something like that).

  194. @Daniel H
    @Anon


    Coca-Cola tastes like battery acid yet most people like that too
     
    Coca-Cola is sublime.

    Replies: @tyrone, @Reg Cæsar

    Coca-Cola is sublime.

    It’s sublemon-lime.

  195. To get a rough feel for how complicated wine knowledge/evaluation is, I did some quick research on prices for sommelier courses. An introductory sommelier course is around \$750. Tellingly, an online course is available (for about \$500). Phone sex comes to mind – – it’s the vocabulary that’s the important thing.

  196. @The Wild Geese Howard
    @Pixo


    The cheapest wines I have had were Spanish wines that were about 50 cents a liter if you supplied your own jug. And they were delicious.
     
    I can remember being able to buy some excellent bottles at Pingo Doce supermarkets in Portugal for 1 to 2 euro.

    Replies: @Pixo, @Bill Jones

    I was in Portugal last in the early 8o’s. Can’t recall what the currency was and in my old wallet stuffed full of obsolete currencies: D-Marks etc I see none of Portugal. In English money wine was basically free and excellent.

  197. From media reports on the Sri Lankan insurrection, it’s not clear if I’m meant to think it’s a good or bad thing. I hope they make up their mind soon.

  198. @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Anon

    I'm certain that I could tell the difference between a red and a white, blind. I'm prety sure I could also tell Pinot Noir vs. Merlot and Chardonnay vs. Pinot Grigio but I'd probably have a hard time with Pinot Noir vs. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio vs. Sauvignon Blanc.

    I can (at least, I think I can) discern bouquet, feel, tannic, dry, fruit-forward, aftertaste, buttery/garlic-y, and melon-y. With some systematic technique and repeated tastings, I could probably throw in the concept of "balanced" with all that as well.

    But that's about it. So wine, beer, whiskey, art, cigars, etc., just find out what you like and buy it.

    I agree with other commenters that there are some definite price points. I'd put it between $15 and $50. A family member once bought us a $200 Cabernet at a restaurant and it was noticeably wonderful. Restaurants mark-up aggressively so I figure $50.

    If I ever really decided to go down the oenophile rabbit hole, I'd adopt Dr. Ann Noble's Wine Wheel. I might put that on my bucket list: assemble all the ingredients to train my palate for systematic wine-tasting and post reviews on the Internet. Then >> profit. (PS: I've got a pretty humble bucket list).

    https://www.winearomawheel.com/

    Sensory perceptions can be trained up. Bakers, for instance, can discern moisture content within single digit percentages. Piano tuners can discern, IIRC, eighth-tones.

    There's also lack of uniform practices by vintners and variations in plant genetics and local conditions.

    Replies: @Rocker, @Unintended Consequence

    Very informative. I haven’t really studied wine though I did buy a book that explains each type of wine, what they might go with for a meal and what type of glass to serve it in.

    I started with a state’s wine for tourism which taught me the difference between sweeter vs dryer. I’ve since moved and have settled on two brands mainly: the entry level Sterling merlot, cab or meritage; or Coppola merlot or cab. I seldom remember to buy white wine though I like it one or two up from sweet. I went through a phase of drinking box wines but found that they taste more and more like the clear bag with each subsequent glass, not ever drinking that again.

    Also, it’s important not to go bargain basement with wine because spices may be added to produce a flavor that resembles a better wine but is spices! I’ve also found that some cheap and no so cheap wines have weird aftertastes even if they aren’t in a plastic bag. The least I’ll pay for a bottle of wine is \$10. Of course, the most I’ll spend is \$20 if I’m drinking alone. When the prices shot up a few months ago, I decided to forgo the pleasure until the basic Sterling brand drops closer to \$12 again. It’s not just the price; It’s that I might actually drink wine with a lasagna frozen dinner or a, um, hamburger…

  199. What I learned empirically from the one time I went to a fancy vinyard in Napa is that taste and smell are inextricably linked. To appreciate a wine’s qualities, I needed to put my nose over the glass but inhale with both my nose and mouth. This greatly increased my sensitivity to the aroma. Then I moved my mouth to the rim of the glass and sipped while smelling. In all cases, each wine had not only a distinct aroma but also triggered a unique mix of emotions. From that experience I concluded that fine wine isn’t a total fraud although I’m sure many Tony Soprano types have made millions selling counterfeit fine wine to high end restaurants.

    The Napa wines I tried ranged in price from \$50 to \$200 per 750 mL. My preference was for the \$70 wines, all red with medium tanin. Actually, I don’t understand how the vinyard prices it’s various wines.

  200. @Emil Nikola Richard
    If you can tell the difference between Burger King french fries and McDonalds french fries I am afraid that your test buds have gone insane.

    That is like comparing pig shit and dog shit. It does not amaze me that you drink box wine. 25.00 for a bottle of wine is what the bankers and politicians have done to the dollar.

    On the bright side your liver doesn't really want you drinking more than three or four bottles of wine per month any how.

    Replies: @Seminumerical, @Aeronerauk, @J.Ross

    absolutely bonkers comment. You’re either a snob or had your tastebuds burnt off in a childhood hot pocket accident.

  201. Some people enjoy grapefruit, or Tabasco sauce, which used to astonish me. Now I simply recognize that different people have different palates and what tastes awful to me might be delightful to another. Ergo, wine snobbery is 96.3% BS, and wine snobs have done me a favor by outing themselves.

  202. @David Jones
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    Spanish is the best reasonably priced red. They don't dump in the sulphites like the Chileans, and the wines aren't as thin as the French.
    On the main subject, the most expensive wine I've tasted was a Christmas tip from a customer whose husband had business in South Africa. Normally she gives away something that would be $10 in the US, for which I'm grateful,(at least it's something), but this wine looked like it would be more expensive as it had a very plain label. A plain Shiraz from South Africa, Boekenhoutskloof, about 8 years old. I looked up the last known price, around $75 US. Best I ever tasted, normally the most I'd spend would be the equivalent of $25. I did wonder whether she got mixed up with some cheaper stuff.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard

    Spanish is the best reasonably priced red. They don’t dump in the sulphites like the Chileans, and the wines aren’t as thin as the French.

    Thank you for the insights.

    Any thoughts on the Argentinians and what they are up to these days?

    I ask because I feel the best bottle of wine I’ve ever had is a \$50 Argentinian Malbec in Mendoza for my birthday in 2017.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    'Thank you for the insights.

    'Any thoughts on the Argentinians and what they are up to these days?

    'I ask because I feel the best bottle of wine I’ve ever had is a $50 Argentinian Malbec in Mendoza for my birthday in 2017.'

    Yes!

    The best bottle of wine I ever had came when we crossed over from Chile to Argentina to see Aconcagua. I had to change some currency to get into the national park, and as a consequence, on the way back, I had about $8.00 worth of Argentinian Pesos to unload. So we stopped in the duty-free shop to see what was up.

    I was looking at some plonk del cheapo, and dude said 'get this instead: it's really good.'

    It was eight bucks. I did. It was really good.

    Chile, too. Best values on the planet. The absolute bottom won't be good, but step up a notch and you're into some seriously good drinking.

    , @Brutusale
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    If you live in an area where there's a Total Wine, check out the Eccentric line of wines from Opi Sadler's Mascota Vineyards.

    https://www.gatewaytosouthamerica-newsblog.com/argentine-rodolfo-opi-sadler-is-seen-as-the-best-red-wine-maker-in-the-world/

    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=eccentric%20cabernet%20sauvignon
    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=eccentric%20red%20blend

    His Mascota line is marginally better for a bit more money.

    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=mascota%20vineyards

    When I have guests who prefer something a bit more tannin-forward, I go to Italy for super Tuscans. Italian wines, IMHO, have the best bang for the buck.

    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=renieri%20invetro
    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=renieri

    I'm not a real fan of white wine, but this is the one that's in my chiller.
    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=pine%20ridge%20chenin%20blanc%20viognier

    The great thing about Total Wine (disclosure: my best friend manages one of the stores) is the ability to actually taste the wine before you buy it.

    Replies: @Jack D

    , @Just Some JB
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    Years ago (2007) on vacation in Tuscany with my family, I stopped in regularly at the local Co-Op grocery store in Montespertoli for groceries and, of course, wine. After a few days of enjoying many excellent bottles, and choosing them at lower and lower prices, I set my final price point at 2 euro or less per bottle.

    Even at 2 euro, I was never disappointed in the quality of what I found on the shelves. Excellent wine at incredibly low prices.

  203. @Rocker
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Pinot Noir is nothing like Cabernet which I find strange given that you claim to be able to discern tannin.

    Replies: @JimDandy, @The Anti-Gnostic

    Yeah, Pinot Noir and Cab are my shorthand for what I like (Cabs) and don’t like (Pinot Noirs).

    • Replies: @Trevor
    @JimDandy

    I like both Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Maybe that is just a difference in personal taste.

    But at any given price level, it is harder to find a good Pinot Noir than a Cab.

    Try Meiomi Pinot Noir. It varies between $20 to $30 where I am but may be different in other states due to state alcohol taxes. In fact, it runs $5 or $10 more in an adjacent state.

    But yes, it is notably distinctively different from Cabernet.

    Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease, @JimDandy

  204. @Emil Nikola Richard
    If you can tell the difference between Burger King french fries and McDonalds french fries I am afraid that your test buds have gone insane.

    That is like comparing pig shit and dog shit. It does not amaze me that you drink box wine. 25.00 for a bottle of wine is what the bankers and politicians have done to the dollar.

    On the bright side your liver doesn't really want you drinking more than three or four bottles of wine per month any how.

    Replies: @Seminumerical, @Aeronerauk, @J.Ross

    McDonald’s set an industry standard and supposedly comes from only one type of potato. Burger King is actually a sort of reconstituted thing, like a Pringle versus a true potato chip, with a totally different shape and texture. Points off for not starting with Checker’s/Rally’s.

  205. Perhaps a wine palate is like perfect pitch, or 20-20 vision? Some folks have it, most don’t?

    Those two advantages disappear with age. Putting on glasses took a little adjustment for me, but I’m told that musicians who lose their pitch can lose their minds about it.

  206. @Cagey Beast
    Letting an inexpensive red wine breathe for a few hours (or overnight) can double its worth, in my experience. Buy a lower-middle priced wine from Argentina or Chile, try it right when you open it, try it again a few hours later and then try what's left the next day. The difference can sometimes be huge. Usually the rougher the wine, the bigger the improvement.

    I'd also recommend wines labelled "organic", if you're shopping for cheaper ones. They seem to be better.

    Replies: @TontoBubbaGoldstein

    …then try what’s left the next day.

    Here on the Rez/Kibbutz, there is never any left the next day…

  207. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Stan Adams


    A movie featuring two blonde whites in a healthy romantic relationship? I seriously can’t even. I mean … it’s 2022, people!
     
    IKR, and for the current year the visuals look wholesome and dare I say based, with ’80s/’90s nostalgia neon/day-glo A E S T H E T I C S blasting throughout the screen in the rollerblading pic.

    Replies: @Stan Adams

    Indeed. Perhaps the old girl has life in her yet.

  208. @Dumbo
    Well, a $25 wine is usually better than a $5 one, but the higher in price you go, the difference becomes minimal and probably more related to tastes.

    I have never tried the $10,000 Romanée-Conti, but I don't think it is 100 times better than a random $100 wine.

    Replies: @Jefferson Temple, @James J. O'Meara

    I believe you. Yet, I keep a box of Black Box Malbec from Chile in the fridge most of the time. It is very tasty and costs the equivalent of \$5 a bottle or \$7 a bottle if not on sale. Why pay more?

  209. @prosa123
    I have difficulty choosing between Thunderbird and Wild Irish Rose.

    Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter, @NOTA

    “Would you like a brown paper bag for that, sir?”

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @NOTA


    “Would you like a brown paper bag for that, sir?”
     
    I thought those bags were white. Or, years ago, blue:



    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0331/9391/8600/products/sicsac_grande.jpg?v=1582642062

    https://stuckattheairport.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/airsickness-bag-delta-aviation-quiz.jpg
  210. Great minds think alike. I was contemplating the wine question just this afternoon — as I killed the last of a \$25.00 bottle of Malbec. Whenever I hit a winery, if they have something that’s actually good, I pay them for being nice to me — which is the idea.

    …so I wind up with some wines that cost more than my usual fuel of choice. But was the \$25.00 Malbec actually better than my usual Trader Joes’ Tried ‘n True \$4.99 Plonk du Italien?

    Yes.

    Was it five times as good? No. Maybe twice as good — but not five times as good. I have once sprung for a \$40 bottle of wine.

    It sucked.

    More relevantly, I once read about a GREAT con job. Dude took labels off of consumed \$8000.00 bottles of wine; stuck them on \$250.00 bottles of wine — sold them as great deals for \$7000.00.

    It was years before he got caught (if I recall aright). The thing is, who can actually tell a bottle of \$250.00 wine from a bottle of \$8000.00 wine? A great Bordeaux can only be so great.

    …but send me some bottles. I’ll give you my considered opinion.

  211. you can’t tell them apart if you’re some kind of complete heartlander trog. wine works by ranges, and the ranges are night and day — though obvs there’re going to be declining marginal returns as you get into stupid reified higher-price scales

    a lot of amazing and completely distinctive-tasting wine can’t even be made cheaply per se, eg, barolo, amarone

  212. @middle-aged vet
    It is extremely easy - 90 percent of smokers, even panhandler-level smokers, can do it - to distinguish a 2 dollar cigar (Prince Edward, factory rolled with an obvious whiff of aluminum) from a 10 dollar cigar (hand rolled).
    50 percent of people can distinguish rail bourbon, blind tasted, from 30 dollar bourbon. The other 50 percent of people do not matter, in this discussion.


    Basically, though, NOBODY can tell 50 dollar wine from 500 dollar wine, unless they have worked on the relevant terroir. I can do it, if we are talking Livermore Valley, Santa Barbara, the Loire Valley, and, to a certain degree, Burgundy, Argentina, Chile and Long Island. But I cannot do it anywhere else - (and I am kind of confident on the subject, so this is a very humble thing for me to say!)

    That being said, it does annoy me when hoi polloi start talking about the fact that people like me - and I am someone who can easily tell good wine from bad wine - are "lying" when we say we know what we are talking about. I mean, it does not really annoy me, I just feel sorry for them.

    Replies: @Colin Wright

    ‘…That being said, it does annoy me when hoi polloi start talking about the fact that people like me – and I am someone who can easily tell good wine from bad wine – are “lying” when we say we know what we are talking about. I mean, it does not really annoy me, I just feel sorry for them.’

    My chagrin about my failure to acquire a palate that would cost me several thousand dollars a year is limited.

    I see it as a blessing that I can name one or two \$4.99 bottles of wine I find perfectly drinkable. I avoid touching anything over \$20.00.

    I might like it.

    • Replies: @middle-aged vet
    @Colin Wright

    Every year I live, on average, there are previously poor American citizens who are literally 100k per annum richer or more, sometimes much more, than they would be if I did not relax during that year, and if I did not enjoy life every once in a while.

    I would love to go back in time and hang out in the barracks with my friends on weeknights and hit the cheap bars in San Diego on Friday and Saturday night but that option has not been available to me for a long time, so I do what I can.

    Love you man, but don't think you are better than me.

    Also, I probably spend less on wine than the average person spends on fast food. Those hamburgers and those frozen sugar milks don't pay for themselves.

  213. Has anyone tried

    Bumwine.com
    best reviews.. no pretensions

  214. @The Wild Geese Howard
    @David Jones


    Spanish is the best reasonably priced red. They don’t dump in the sulphites like the Chileans, and the wines aren’t as thin as the French.
     
    Thank you for the insights.

    Any thoughts on the Argentinians and what they are up to these days?

    I ask because I feel the best bottle of wine I've ever had is a $50 Argentinian Malbec in Mendoza for my birthday in 2017.

    Replies: @Colin Wright, @Brutusale, @Just Some JB

    ‘Thank you for the insights.

    ‘Any thoughts on the Argentinians and what they are up to these days?

    ‘I ask because I feel the best bottle of wine I’ve ever had is a \$50 Argentinian Malbec in Mendoza for my birthday in 2017.’

    Yes!

    The best bottle of wine I ever had came when we crossed over from Chile to Argentina to see Aconcagua. I had to change some currency to get into the national park, and as a consequence, on the way back, I had about \$8.00 worth of Argentinian Pesos to unload. So we stopped in the duty-free shop to see what was up.

    I was looking at some plonk del cheapo, and dude said ‘get this instead: it’s really good.’

    It was eight bucks. I did. It was really good.

    Chile, too. Best values on the planet. The absolute bottom won’t be good, but step up a notch and you’re into some seriously good drinking.

    • Thanks: The Wild Geese Howard
  215. There’s a murder mystery , an old Columbo movie, where Columbo catches a murderer by having him drink from a spoiled bottle of wine from an overheated wine cellar confirming the detective’s suspicions and leading to denouncement where the killer says he’s one of the few people in the world who could have detected the difference.

    Sometimes I shop at a boutique wine shop, that imports from small vineyards in Europe. I’ll ask for recommendations from the staff. They include tasting notes. I never go above \$40 a bottle. The wines can be quite good but the subtleties of the tasting notes are out of my league even at that level.

    One of their points of pride is that the wine is kept at 55 degrees from the vineyard to the store to preserve the taste. The movie ‘Any Old Port in a Storm’ is a hit with the shopkeepers.

    • Replies: @Etruscan Film Star
    @mc23


    One of their points of pride is that the wine is kept at 55 degrees from the vineyard to the store to preserve the taste. The movie ‘Any Old Port in a Storm’ is a hit with the shopkeepers.
     
    So you ducked into the store one day to get out of the rain and wind, and they recommended a bottle of aged Port?
  216. @Colin Wright
    @middle-aged vet

    '...That being said, it does annoy me when hoi polloi start talking about the fact that people like me – and I am someone who can easily tell good wine from bad wine – are “lying” when we say we know what we are talking about. I mean, it does not really annoy me, I just feel sorry for them.'

    My chagrin about my failure to acquire a palate that would cost me several thousand dollars a year is limited.

    I see it as a blessing that I can name one or two $4.99 bottles of wine I find perfectly drinkable. I avoid touching anything over $20.00.

    I might like it.

    Replies: @middle-aged vet

    Every year I live, on average, there are previously poor American citizens who are literally 100k per annum richer or more, sometimes much more, than they would be if I did not relax during that year, and if I did not enjoy life every once in a while.

    I would love to go back in time and hang out in the barracks with my friends on weeknights and hit the cheap bars in San Diego on Friday and Saturday night but that option has not been available to me for a long time, so I do what I can.

    Love you man, but don’t think you are better than me.

    Also, I probably spend less on wine than the average person spends on fast food. Those hamburgers and those frozen sugar milks don’t pay for themselves.

  217. @NOTA
    @prosa123

    "Would you like a brown paper bag for that, sir?"

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    “Would you like a brown paper bag for that, sir?”

    I thought those bags were white. Or, years ago, blue:

  218. @Reg Cæsar

    ...and have even been fooled with a bit of food coloring into thinking white wine is red.
     
    It's easy for me to tell. White wine gives me heartburn after a few moments. Red wine gives me instant and severe heartburn. Thus, I stick with craft beer. Heartburn takes hours. (Preemptive antacids can help, but defeat the whole purpose of wine tasting.)

    An interesting distinction between New York and Northern Californian rich people is that the former like investing in modern art while the latter prefer investing in vineyards.
     
    And the Californians are aware of the vineyards in their own state. Urban New Yorkers either aren't, or assume it's all Manischewitz, Mogen David, and Welch's.

    On top of this, the hardy, manly, native vitis labrusca has always had a bad reputation after its house pet phylloxera nearly destroyed Europe's ancient vitis vinifera in the 19th century.


    Phylloxera: How Wine Was Saved for the World


    https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55257c9de4b0c26feadc169c/1432732856861-OWBR19K9JYCSZHK8SM1H/CONGRESO+GASTRONOMIA+BICENTENARIO2.jpg


    California went with the fey European grapes. Which themselves had to be grafted onto the North American plants back at home to survive. (The ultimate in wine snobbery would be those Europeans who claim that the post-infestation wines are a shadow of the original product. How long ago did the last individual who tasted both died? Or are they opening 200-year-old bottles to test the hypothesis?)

    Thus, two cardinal aspects of American viticulture are apparent:

    As critics say of mediocre literature, what's good is not original, and what's original is not good

    Though to those of us of crude tongue, labrusca can be appreciated for its very roughness, as with stout and porter ales.

    Indians got their revenge for smallpox, measles, etc.

    Indeed, doubly so when a Parisian catches syphilis from a girl he's seduced with post-phylloxera wine.

    Replies: @Pixo, @EssayM, @Coemgen

    wine gives me heartburn

    Same here. Don’t know if it’s the wine or adulterants added to wine to make it seem drier that trigger heartburn (sweeter wines are less of a problem).

  219. Every year I live, on average, there are poor people who are literally 100k richer or more, sometimes much more, than they would be if I did not relax during that year, and if I did not enjoy life every once in a while.

    I would love to go back in time and hang out in the barracks with my friends on weeknights and hit the cheap bars in San Diego on Friday and Saturday night but that option has not been available to me for a long time, so I do what I can.

    Love you man, but don’t think you are better than me.

    Also, I spend less on wine than the average person spends on fast food.

  220. I’ve never been a big wine fan, and if I’m drinking wine on its own, I often find myself enjoying light whites such as sauvignon blanc more than ‘impressive’ reds.

    But I do like a drink or two. Port is one tipple where I’ve found a little extra money makes a lot of difference. Low-end port just takes like sweetened red wine; it’s not worth drinking. But if you move up to a mid-range port (either ruby or tawny) you’ll notice a marked improvement in richness and taste. Port is a nice drink for people (like Mrs C and me) who like just one after-dinner drink a day. A bottle of wine is too much even for the two of us in a single go.

    I’ve also started enjoying whisky a bit in recent years. It’s nice for an end-of-day relaxer, and it’s not very expensive over the long haul if you’re only knocking back a finger’s worth a day, and you buy mostly at the lower-middle price range, like I do.

    I don’t know about in the USA, but in the UK, and here in Hong Kong, ‘craft’ gin is hot hot hot. The Mrs and I also like an icy G & T, especially now during HK’s brutal summer heat. A basic gin such as Gordon’s or Beefeater is under USD20/bottle, and you get quite a few drinks out of that. But there are now lots of gins in the USD40-50 range that really do taste very different from the standard brands, since it seems you can dump in just about any organic matter you like into a vat of gin and call it a ‘botanical’ (I may be oversimplifying the process a bit here . . . ). The tastes these botanicals add to gin are unmissable, but it’s a real crapshoot when you’re buying these blends; some are just delightful, but others I find obnoxious. I’ve found it pays to read the labels; the distiller will often give quite explicit explanations of what their gins will taste like, and you soon learn to identify the flavors you like.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    https://www.unz.com/anepigone/ranking-of-countries-by-neighborly-nationalism/#comment-4250814


    Every Friday and Saturday night, after the kids go to bed, I make an adult beverage each for my wife and me:

    2 shots of Tanqueray Rangpur gin
    A few juniper berry seeds
    1 shot of spearmint syrup (substitute with any Monin flavored syrup if desired)
    4-5 blocks of ice
    3-4 slices of grapefruit
    3-4 wedges of cucumber
    Top off with good quality tonic and stir well.

    It makes my wife relaxed and cheerful, which means it makes me happy. 😉
     
  221. @SIMP simp
    @Paul Mendez

    There still is an audiophile market and they are still peddling snake oil. And convenience is important but the CD was better than any analog player and current solid state players are basically the peak of playback technology. The problem of the audiophile snobs is that with contemporary equipment you can have incredible audio quality at reasonable prices leaving little opportunity to show off, so they go for the crazy stuff: gold connectors, shielded cables, power conditioners etc.
    Or they go retro for analog turntables, cassettes or reel-to-reel players because there is much more fiddling around with analog equipment. That's partly why there has been such a resurgence to vinyl sales.

    from wikipedia:


    In 2021, for the first time in the last 30 years, vinyl record sales exceeded CD sales; one of every 3 albums sold in the US was a vinyl LP. As per the MRC Data mid-year report for 2021, sales of vinyl records in the US surpassed that of the CDs; 19.2 million vinyl albums were sold in the first six months of 2021, outpacing the 18.9 million CDs sold.

     

    Replies: @epebble, @Sollipsist

    gold connectors

    There is even a market for Gold plated Ethernet cables! Obviously, it is directed to users who do not know that Ethernet works by Collision Detection i.e., data is expected to get damaged during transmission, but the application will not be affected

    https://www.firefold.com/blogs/news/is-50-micron-gold-plating-important-on-ethernet-cables

    • LOL: SIMP simp
  222. @TWS
    What's the word? Thunderbird!

    Replies: @Mr. Anon, @Jim Don Bob

    James Mason suggests that you try Thunderbird. It’s really delightful:

  223. @Intelligent Dasein

    “One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a "common good"! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.”

    ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
     

    Fine wines are absolutely not a hoax. How could they be? Think of all the manifold factors that influence the final result. Different grape varieties, different soils and microclimates, different weather from year to year, different aging methods---there is so much variety here that it allows those twin mistresses, Chance and Skill, to coax out rare and delightful combinations that amaze the senses. I know a good sommelier, and I attend tastings once every couple of months or so. There can be no doubt about the fact that some wines are incredibly special.

    Have you ever had a good amontillado? Have you ever experienced that incredible transition where, in a single sip, the taste profile changes from briny green olives, to warm melted butter, to chocolate covered almonds? It's magical. Now compare that to the flat taste of a grocery store marsala. You can see at once that there is a certain similarity there, but also that one is a pale imitation of the other.

    In all matters of taste, it is impossible that the fine should not exist. Is fine sushi a hoax? Is good tobacco a hoax? Heirloom tomatoes compared to mass market reds? Is wagyu beef the same as ground chuck? French baguette and Wonderbread? Is good cooking in general "a hoax"? Anybody who would seriously entertain the idea is, to be frank, a clod.

    The differences are all in the details, the particulars of process, you might say in the "breeding" of the ingredients. You would think that a forum full of HBD enthusiasts would appreciate this, but once again you manage to get it wrong at the very juncture where your predilections would have predicted success.

    Here, then, is some Real Science!™ for you. It's from the TV show Mythbusters, which I know some of you have watched before. I'm sorry about the quality of the recording, but it should be pretty fun nonetheless. This myth involves not wine, but vodka; I figured it would still be applicable. The myth in question was whether you could buy a cheap bottle of vodka and make it taste like top shelf vodka by running it through a charcoal water filter. They bought a real bottle of top shelf vodka as a control, and then they ran the cheap vodka through the filter zero times, one time, and all the way up to six times. They brought in a professional spirit taster to help judge the results. The interesting thing to me is not whether the myth was busted or not, but the fact that the spirit taster nailed every single sample: He correctly named the top shelf vodka, the cheap vodka, and all of the filtration sequences, one through six, in the correct order.

    Lest anyone ever tell you again that those wine judges are just making it up, show them this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO077nu2m5E

    Replies: @Justvisiting, @Esso, @Twinkie, @hhsiii

    Generalizing, but yeah, \$50 wines usually taste a bit better than \$10. There’s also some wines that have sold better once the price was raised. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is no better than Pinot Grigio which costs less than half as much.

    I love finding a good \$10-15 wine. But often one vintage will be ok then they’ll overproduce it from then on.

    I can tell a Pinot Noir from a Cab, from a Chianti. If you drink enough you get better at it. My wife didn’t drink much wine growing up but has a better palate than I do. She can tell when I try to sneak an \$8 Sauvignon Blanc past her.

    I had a roommate once who taught me a lot about wine. He worked retail. Once I went to a tasting with him and he identified a 1982 Pichon Baron blind. He said oh we had this at the store last week. Pretty sure it wasn’t a parlor trick. Anyway that was great, he got discounts, was a great cook and I would drink great stuff he brought home and just chip in a little for dinner.

    I wish I could afford to drink Romanee Conti now and then, or Haut Brion etc once a week, or Far Niente whatever, or Montelena (which I think is the ‘73 California which beat the French). Not to show off, but just to drink at home by myself (ok my wife can have a glass). It really is better than plonk. But I rarely spend more than \$20.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    @hhsiii


    $50 wines usually taste a bit better than $10.

     

    But not usually any better than $20 wines.

    I rarely spend more than $20.
     
    And you are rarely missing anything.

    Replies: @hhsiii

  224. Wow, an isteve thread I can actually comment on in depth! I wish I weren’t at work when it was posted because it seems like it’s moved on, but I’m still going to because outside Japanese religion, and life in Hawaii, I don’t have much else to say.

    So first off, I’d like to preface this by saying I have a drinks review channel on youtube. I’m not a wine guy, but a beer guy, and about 80% of my reviews are of beers. I’m just a hobbyist who’s been doing this for a long time, not a professional beer cicerone, or beer brewer, though I do have a family member who works for a craft brewer and several others regularly homebrew. Now, I know that wine isn’t beer and there are a lot of aspects about wine culture that don’t map on to beer culture and vice versa, that said, I think I can shed some light on what differentiates between snobbery, social signaling and the actual profession and pastime of tasting beverages including verticals, comparisons and blind IDs. So, some basic information now.

    1. There is a strong genetic component to being taster. I don’t know if it’s related to the supertaster gene or something else, but this isn’t something that everyone can do to an equal level. It has more to do with the acuity of your nose than your tongue, though both are essential.

    2. Even if you have innate skill at tasting, you still have to practice at it, which means tasting with a sense of purpose and in a systematic way. I drink alone and without distractions most of the time to best assess what I’m reviewing. Tasting as a social activity is fun and worthwhile in its own right, but if it’s the only way you taste, you’re never going to develop the discernment skills you get from sitting alone and analyzing the various sensations you’re undergoing. Practice also means drinking from as wide a selection of styles and brands as possible, and when possible, doing side by side comparisons. Myself, I’ve lost track of how many beers I’ve tasted, but it’s well over 1,000 unique brews, of which I’ve probably recorded reviewing around 500.

    Ironically this also means that the primary reason most people drink alcohol is an impediment to what I love most about it. I rarely have more than three drinks a session, and usually only one or two because I get taste fatigue due to intoxication. Also, oddly, I don’t like being drunk.

    3. This does not necessarily lead to snobbery. Yes, I’ve had barrel-aged farmhouse sours that cost 30 bucks a bottle, and yes I’ve enjoyed them… or found them to be glorified vinegar at times… but the beer I love most in the world, the one I return to when I just want perfection in a bottle? The humble Anchor Steam Beer. But as much as I love Anchor Steam, I can’t imagine leaving that wide world of tastes and smells in beers and other drinks I’ve yet to try for just one particular beer.

    I think that’s what separates the snobs from the real enthusiasts, not necessarily that their personal mainstay isn’t pretentious/expensive, but that they’ll approach tasting something humble in the same way they approach some FOMO limited release. Another thing is that they can review something somewhat honestly, despite their own tastes. For example, I am not a big fan of IPAs. I do not drink them outside of prepping or recording a review, and I personally find them unbalanced as a style (well, this is really oversimplifying, but in short). That said, I know what a well made IPA and what a bleh IPA tastes like, and what IPA lovers are looking for when they drink one and review accordingly to their tastes and not my own personal subjective ones.

    4. Even in the beer world there’s social signaling. Not as much as wine, but it’s there. I don’t concern myself much with it. I care about what’s in the glass, not everything else surrounding it. That said, I can sort of theorize why people have trouble telling the difference between expensive wine and middle shelf wine. Like I said, you need practice to gain discernment. If you’re going to get discernment of expensive wine, you have to taste a lot of it. That means only people who have the money, innate tasting ability and systematic discipline to go through multiple bottles of Chateau Lafite with an eye for sussing out what makes it unique and different from a run of the mill Claret will actually be able to do so. I would imagine outside of the high end of professional sommeliers, there’s very few people in the world in that Venn Diagram, especially once you get all the signaling bullshit mixed in there.

    5. There’s signaling even in the world of tasters. Yeah, I’m going to unveil the secret. When I sip a bourbon barrel aged stout, I’m not actually tasting “roasted coffee” and “carob nibs” in the way you may think it is. What I like to say is that the taste is “evocative”, not direct. It is also subjective to a certain level. That said, if I said I tasted “fresh cut apples” in that stout, then everyone would know I’m full of crap. Think of a spectrum of taste for a particular brand or style and what points along that spectrum that stand out for each taster will be different.

    And just as a side note, would people stop citing that study about people not being able to tell the difference between red wine and white wine that had food coloring in it? It was literally just one study, and the subjects were not professional or amateur wine tasters, they were random college students, a particular demographic not known for discernment when it comes to alcohol.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Spike Gomes

    Thanks.

  225. @Rocker
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Pinot Noir is nothing like Cabernet which I find strange given that you claim to be able to discern tannin.

    Replies: @JimDandy, @The Anti-Gnostic

    Cab is PN amped up. Cab is not Merlot amped up.

    Like I mentioned, wines are all over the map. Somebody can be bottling something and call it PN or Malbec or Cabernet grapes but nobody really knows or knows the vintner’s husbandry.

  226. Anon[197] • Disclaimer says:

    My personal experience is that the only cheap wines that are drinkable are Relax Riesling, and if you’re broker than that, a Riunite Lambrusco, which is rougher but still drinkable if you’re eating Italian. Everything else on the low-priced end that I’ve ever tasted is vile.

    By the way, I’ve heard a former alcoholic say that if you’re an alcoholic, everything with alcohol in it tastes good to you. There are a lot of professional wine tasters who are alcoholic. It’s a hazard of the profession.

  227. @Anonymous

    So, I only buy box wine at Costco.
     
    https://64.media.tumblr.com/8450be8aa6b4ce80e073ef4a39dbb9b3/64e4f02f6499d61a-08/s1280x1920/e41244b14788fc003578bc79b042b81252427445.png
    “Steve, is this a Château Margaux?”

    Replies: @Ganderson

    One of my favorite episodes. Donald Pleasance kills his brother to prevent him from selling the family winery to the fictionalized Gallos. Columbo becomes a wine connoisseur in order to catch him.

  228. @Rocko
    @John Johnson

    But what if you just want to get plastered? Me, I'm not much of a drinker and not a fan of wine but if I want to get drunk I'll just get the jug of wine with the horses. I'm not an elitist.

    No wonder that in the slave trading days when European slave catchers paid African slave catchers with brandy or rum the slave catchers would make fun of Europeans and their "sophisticated" sense of taste which meant paying more for a bottle of wine whena bottle of rum was cheaper and got the job of inebriation much quicker.

    Replies: @John Johnson

    But what if you just want to get plastered? Me, I’m not much of a drinker and not a fan of wine but if I want to get drunk I’ll just get the jug of wine with the horses. I’m not an elitist.

    Yuck. I can’t stand the acres of dead horses wine. Not even a sip.

    If you want to get drunk on the cheap then I would suggest a light beer you can stand with some lime and a shot of tequila dropped into it. The beer will hide pretty cheap tequila. Slam or sip it.

    That cheap costco wine grosses me out. I really can’t stand it.

    My relatives drink it and they would probably enjoy an evening of boxed wine with Steve.

    Sad thing is that they can afford much better and yet they buy acres of dead horses or stinky feet. I’ve brought over a \$19 bottle of costco wine that they marveled over. But I know full well that once they enter those costco doors they cannot resist the price of boxed wine.

  229. @Pixo
    @Reg Cæsar

    “ Red wine gives me instant and severe heartburn.”

    Always pictured you as a pure caucasiod, evolved to enjoy fermented beverages for 10,000 years, not asiatic.

    https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/12/20/article-2527074-0000022200000CB2-401_634x392.jpg

    “Preemptive antacids can help, but defeat the whole purpose of wine tasting.”

    Why would that be? There’s one kind of Rolaids that have the taste and texture of Mentos, give that a shot. I could eat 20 of them if it were safe.

    Replies: @Anon

    Antacids are just calcium carbonate to neutralize your stomach acid. You’d do just as well to take a magnesium or a zinc tablet.

  230. @AnotherDad
    @Adam Smith


    The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It’s like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes.
     
    You're pitching me a wine that will land me in jail if I actually drink it?

    Replies: @Adam Smith

    Apparently, yes. Yes I am.

    Seriously though, André Simon, a French-born wine merchant and prolific writer about wine, once described a wine as “a girl of fifteen, who is already a great artist, coming on tip-toe and curtseying herself out with childish grace and laughing blue eyes.”

    Truth is that I (kinda) stole his line to help craft a sarcastic comment that reads a bit like something a pretentious sommelier might write after a tasting.

  231. @The Last Real Calvinist
    I've never been a big wine fan, and if I'm drinking wine on its own, I often find myself enjoying light whites such as sauvignon blanc more than 'impressive' reds.

    But I do like a drink or two. Port is one tipple where I've found a little extra money makes a lot of difference. Low-end port just takes like sweetened red wine; it's not worth drinking. But if you move up to a mid-range port (either ruby or tawny) you'll notice a marked improvement in richness and taste. Port is a nice drink for people (like Mrs C and me) who like just one after-dinner drink a day. A bottle of wine is too much even for the two of us in a single go.

    I've also started enjoying whisky a bit in recent years. It's nice for an end-of-day relaxer, and it's not very expensive over the long haul if you're only knocking back a finger's worth a day, and you buy mostly at the lower-middle price range, like I do.

    I don't know about in the USA, but in the UK, and here in Hong Kong, 'craft' gin is hot hot hot. The Mrs and I also like an icy G & T, especially now during HK's brutal summer heat. A basic gin such as Gordon's or Beefeater is under USD20/bottle, and you get quite a few drinks out of that. But there are now lots of gins in the USD40-50 range that really do taste very different from the standard brands, since it seems you can dump in just about any organic matter you like into a vat of gin and call it a 'botanical' (I may be oversimplifying the process a bit here . . . ). The tastes these botanicals add to gin are unmissable, but it's a real crapshoot when you're buying these blends; some are just delightful, but others I find obnoxious. I've found it pays to read the labels; the distiller will often give quite explicit explanations of what their gins will taste like, and you soon learn to identify the flavors you like.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    https://www.unz.com/anepigone/ranking-of-countries-by-neighborly-nationalism/#comment-4250814

    Every Friday and Saturday night, after the kids go to bed, I make an adult beverage each for my wife and me:

    2 shots of Tanqueray Rangpur gin
    A few juniper berry seeds
    1 shot of spearmint syrup (substitute with any Monin flavored syrup if desired)
    4-5 blocks of ice
    3-4 slices of grapefruit
    3-4 wedges of cucumber
    Top off with good quality tonic and stir well.

    It makes my wife relaxed and cheerful, which means it makes me happy. 😉

  232. @Spike Gomes
    Wow, an isteve thread I can actually comment on in depth! I wish I weren't at work when it was posted because it seems like it's moved on, but I'm still going to because outside Japanese religion, and life in Hawaii, I don't have much else to say.

    So first off, I'd like to preface this by saying I have a drinks review channel on youtube. I'm not a wine guy, but a beer guy, and about 80% of my reviews are of beers. I'm just a hobbyist who's been doing this for a long time, not a professional beer cicerone, or beer brewer, though I do have a family member who works for a craft brewer and several others regularly homebrew. Now, I know that wine isn't beer and there are a lot of aspects about wine culture that don't map on to beer culture and vice versa, that said, I think I can shed some light on what differentiates between snobbery, social signaling and the actual profession and pastime of tasting beverages including verticals, comparisons and blind IDs. So, some basic information now.

    1. There is a strong genetic component to being taster. I don't know if it's related to the supertaster gene or something else, but this isn't something that everyone can do to an equal level. It has more to do with the acuity of your nose than your tongue, though both are essential.

    2. Even if you have innate skill at tasting, you still have to practice at it, which means tasting with a sense of purpose and in a systematic way. I drink alone and without distractions most of the time to best assess what I'm reviewing. Tasting as a social activity is fun and worthwhile in its own right, but if it's the only way you taste, you're never going to develop the discernment skills you get from sitting alone and analyzing the various sensations you're undergoing. Practice also means drinking from as wide a selection of styles and brands as possible, and when possible, doing side by side comparisons. Myself, I've lost track of how many beers I've tasted, but it's well over 1,000 unique brews, of which I've probably recorded reviewing around 500.

    Ironically this also means that the primary reason most people drink alcohol is an impediment to what I love most about it. I rarely have more than three drinks a session, and usually only one or two because I get taste fatigue due to intoxication. Also, oddly, I don't like being drunk.

    3. This does not necessarily lead to snobbery. Yes, I've had barrel-aged farmhouse sours that cost 30 bucks a bottle, and yes I've enjoyed them... or found them to be glorified vinegar at times... but the beer I love most in the world, the one I return to when I just want perfection in a bottle? The humble Anchor Steam Beer. But as much as I love Anchor Steam, I can't imagine leaving that wide world of tastes and smells in beers and other drinks I've yet to try for just one particular beer.

    I think that's what separates the snobs from the real enthusiasts, not necessarily that their personal mainstay isn't pretentious/expensive, but that they'll approach tasting something humble in the same way they approach some FOMO limited release. Another thing is that they can review something somewhat honestly, despite their own tastes. For example, I am not a big fan of IPAs. I do not drink them outside of prepping or recording a review, and I personally find them unbalanced as a style (well, this is really oversimplifying, but in short). That said, I know what a well made IPA and what a bleh IPA tastes like, and what IPA lovers are looking for when they drink one and review accordingly to their tastes and not my own personal subjective ones.

    4. Even in the beer world there's social signaling. Not as much as wine, but it's there. I don't concern myself much with it. I care about what's in the glass, not everything else surrounding it. That said, I can sort of theorize why people have trouble telling the difference between expensive wine and middle shelf wine. Like I said, you need practice to gain discernment. If you're going to get discernment of expensive wine, you have to taste a lot of it. That means only people who have the money, innate tasting ability and systematic discipline to go through multiple bottles of Chateau Lafite with an eye for sussing out what makes it unique and different from a run of the mill Claret will actually be able to do so. I would imagine outside of the high end of professional sommeliers, there's very few people in the world in that Venn Diagram, especially once you get all the signaling bullshit mixed in there.

    5. There's signaling even in the world of tasters. Yeah, I'm going to unveil the secret. When I sip a bourbon barrel aged stout, I'm not actually tasting "roasted coffee" and "carob nibs" in the way you may think it is. What I like to say is that the taste is "evocative", not direct. It is also subjective to a certain level. That said, if I said I tasted "fresh cut apples" in that stout, then everyone would know I'm full of crap. Think of a spectrum of taste for a particular brand or style and what points along that spectrum that stand out for each taster will be different.

    And just as a side note, would people stop citing that study about people not being able to tell the difference between red wine and white wine that had food coloring in it? It was literally just one study, and the subjects were not professional or amateur wine tasters, they were random college students, a particular demographic not known for discernment when it comes to alcohol.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Thanks.

  233. @Redneck farmer
    @Anon

    So, you've drank battery acid?

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Unintended Consequence

    That’s not too different from cleaning acid off your car battery connectors with coca cola yet still drinking the stuff.

  234. @stillCARealist
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    What about single malt Scotch? Is that a motivator for the clients? That's all I'll touch now, and it can get expensive PDQ. Fortunately it only takes an ounce of the firewater to make me cry Uncle.

    And yes, there is quite the range of quality from rotgut up to exquisite. But I've never spent more than about $50/bottle, so I can't say if the correlation continues up linearly beyond that.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Barbarossa

    I can’t say if the correlation continues up linearly beyond that.

    It doesn’t, and this holds true in all fields. First you pay 10x for a 1% improvement, then you pay another 10x for no improvement at all, just bragging rights. Veblen goods, IOW.

  235. @Jack D
    While wine ratings are not perfectly accurate, they are not worthless either. There is about a 4 point +/- spread in a rating system that goes from 80 to 100. So that 96 point wine might actually be a 92 (or vice versa) but it's very unlikely that it's going to be an 82.

    Unfortunately, the random spread between a 92 and a 96 is enough to scramble the order of the winners at any wine judging competition. Before a different panel of judges, or even before the SAME panel on a different day, the bronze medalist might be the gold or vice versa, so you can take those medals with a grain of salt. However, this does not mean that a bottle of Two Buck Chuck is the same thing as a bottle of Lafite.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703683804574533840282653628

    It's easy to overstate the case and say "it's all bullshit" when that is not quite true either. Wine ratings are less than completely definitive but more than complete bullshit.

    Generally speaking, there are strong diminishing returns on wine. An $8 bottle might be twice as good as a $4 bottle but a $16 bottle is only going to be 50% better and a $32 bottle is only going to be 25% better than the $16 bottle and so on. (This is putting aside the subjective nature of what is "better" which is a whole 'nother discussion. I mean "better" by expert criteria.)

    But some people want "the best" and have the $ to pay for it. Is a $66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a $33,000 Honda Accord? It would be hard to say yes but there are some people who still want the Mercedes. And beyond that, people who want a Rolls and so on. Is some of this showing off for your friends vs. getting something objectively better? Sure, but showing off for your friends has value too.

    There is also a lot of difference in markup on wine depending on where you buy it (even forgetting about restaurants where the stuff gets marked up 3 or 4x). This is especially bad in PA, where we have a system of government owned monopoly liquor stores. The same bottle of Oyster Bay NZ Sauvignon Blanc that sells for $9 at a discount retailer in Delaware (Total Wine or Costco) is $17 at the PA State Store.

    Replies: @epebble, @John Johnson, @AnotherDad, @Dube

    A liquor industry vp for marketing told me that raising the price can increase sales. This was at the bar of the Top of the Mark, and in my very comfortable upholstered seat I didn’t have to reply that I’d sometimes decided to pay just a bit more to get a bottle of something better.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Dube

    This is called a "Veblen good"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good

    The best business in the world is to be the owner of a brand that is a Veblen good. It's like a license to print money.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

  236. Princeton is also graced by one of Richard Serra’s Iconic Rusty Wall Sculptures:

    Richard Serra, American, born 1938
    The Hedgehog and the Fox, 2000
    Cor-Ten steel
    Princeton University, gift of Peter T. Joseph, Class of 1972 and Graduate School Class of 1973, in honor of his children, Danielle and Nicholas

    Hear the Curator

    Like other works by Richard Serra, which demand interaction and reflection, this sculpture must be understood not only by viewing it but also by walking through it to catch different glimpses of sky and light and experience new spatial sensations. As you pace between its walls, you become a participant in the art; the artwork, in turn, directly challenges its surroundings. Composed of sinuous bands of rusted steel, the work eliminates any decoration or specific references that could lessen the intensity of the encounter.

    The title of the sculpture is The Hedgehog and the Fox, which refers to an essay by Isaiah Berlin, who quotes from the Greek poet Archilo­chus: “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one great thing.” As the artist explained, “It points to how scholars either become free thinkers and invent [–] or become subjugated to the dictates of history. This is the classical problem posed to every student.”

    Hear the Professor of Art and Archaeology

    Richard Serra finds great strength in the material language of his sculpture. More than any other artist of the postwar period, he has kept sculpture not only alive but vital, making it central, even essential, insisting on the category when others abandoned it or stretched it beyond all recognition, developing it in ways that keep faith with the great sculpture of the past while also opening up new possibilities for the future. Serra connects past and future so intensely in his work by always insisting on the present of our own experience. That’s the first and last test for him: How does the work engage us? How do we engage it? It’s a challenge that’s always open, never hermetic in its workings, never prescribed in its effects. So, however private our experience might be, it is always public too.

    This fabulous ribbon piece of two long passages is called The Hedgehog and the Fox. The title refers to a famous typology of thinkers proposed by the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, one based on the ancient saying that “a fox knows many things while the hedgehog knows one big thing.” (Berlin divided minds up in this way: Plato, Dante, and Proust were hedgehogs, he thought, while Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Joyce were foxes.) I imagine Serra means the work as an invitation to students to explore these two passages—to dive deeply into one subject, like the hedgehog, or to scout out various fields of study, like the fox.

    https://artmuseum.princeton.edu/campus-art/objects/55459?lat=40.3462&lon=-74.6519

  237. Boxed wine is a primary sponsor of the boomer generation.

    They know it sucks but would rather spend the money on important things like natural healing potions and movies about fictional Blacks in space.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    @John Johnson

    And cats, don't forget the cats, them wine-box Wimmin loves them some cats.

  238. @Giant Duck
    For those with limited resources, it's an issue of diminishing returns. Take Champagne, for example. Veuve Clicquot is very good. Dom Perignon is even better. However, Dom costs five times as much as Veuve. Is Dom five times better? I've had both and I say "no way".

    But if I were so wealthy that the $200 price difference between the two was not a relevant amount of money to me, I'd drink Dom every time. And that's the demographic profile of high-end wine consumers.

    Replies: @Charlesz Martel

    In my opinion the best deal on Champagne (Although not technically a Champagne) is Domaine Carneros. It is the California version of Tattinger, about half the price of the French one. I can tell then apart, but the difference is very slight for a half-priced product. It is by far the best American sparkling wine.

    California wines are all sweeter than they should be, but Americans like sweet food and drink. There are good California wines made to French standards, but they cost twice what better French wines do.

    Tbe American wine market has caused a global shift in wine sweetness, as Americans were considered a huge untapped market since the 70’s, and vintners moved their wines toward the American palate, such as it is.

    The best deals in wine are Cameron Hughes. You can find some very good deals if you know what you’re doing and follow the latest on the conpany’s offerings. There are blogs that discuss their products at length.

    I haven’t checked in a few years, so this info may not be current.

    Most people do not appreciate fine food or drink. But try an experiment for yourself.

    Go buy a Hershey bar and then go to Aldi’s and buy a chocolate bar. Taste both, compare the prices, and get back to me. The Aldi product is way cheaper and far better.

    Then order some truffles from Leonidas.

    You’ll think you’ve died and went to heaven. You’ll realize that you had never tasted good chocolate in your life before then.

    You can all thank me later.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Charlesz Martel


    Go buy a Hershey bar and then go to Aldi’s and buy a chocolate bar. Taste both, compare the prices, and get back to me. The Aldi product is way cheaper and far better.
     
    Yes, but Aldi won't have it the next day. ;)

    Replies: @Jack D

    , @Barbarossa
    @Charlesz Martel

    Hershey "chocolate" is foul. I've never had Leonidas truffles, but would happily give them a try sometime. They are pricey, but not entirely insane if they are as good as you say they are. My general dictum still holds with chocolate though, I can get quite good chocolate for $3 to $5 a bar which satisfies in small amounts. Money being a generally finite quantity, I like to find that sweet spot of quality and value whether it's coffee, chocolate, wine or scotch.

    As I alluded to with the chocolate, decent quality provides more enjoyment with less quantity, so I really don't spend more on a lot of this than the el-cheapo. I know I spend way less on alcohol than the guy walking out out of the gas station with the 30 pack of Keystone every couple of days!

  239. @John Johnson
    Fine wine is overrated but cheap wine is garbage.

    People that say the $10 Trader Joe wines are "fine" have terrible taste. They are a step up from hobo wine but they taste cheap.

    But that doesn't mean that you have to spend $50. I'd never spend that much on wine. Maybe $30 on champagne at the most.

    Costco has some good wines in the $14-20 range.

    Colossal Reserva is a good one.

    Chloe Pinot Grigio.

    Avoid anything with hands or horses on the label.

    If you ever do wine tasting it becomes clear that half the public doesn't know what they like and would rather be told what to drink.

    Replies: @Rocko, @slumber_j, @Hangnail Hans

    If you ever do wine tasting it becomes clear that half the public doesn’t know what they like and would rather be told what to drink.

    And what to think, to extend a metaphor.

  240. The way I can tell if I’ve had cheaper wine than usual is how bad my pee smells on the way out.

  241. @hhsiii
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Generalizing, but yeah, $50 wines usually taste a bit better than $10. There’s also some wines that have sold better once the price was raised. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is no better than Pinot Grigio which costs less than half as much.

    I love finding a good $10-15 wine. But often one vintage will be ok then they’ll overproduce it from then on.

    I can tell a Pinot Noir from a Cab, from a Chianti. If you drink enough you get better at it. My wife didn’t drink much wine growing up but has a better palate than I do. She can tell when I try to sneak an $8 Sauvignon Blanc past her.

    I had a roommate once who taught me a lot about wine. He worked retail. Once I went to a tasting with him and he identified a 1982 Pichon Baron blind. He said oh we had this at the store last week. Pretty sure it wasn’t a parlor trick. Anyway that was great, he got discounts, was a great cook and I would drink great stuff he brought home and just chip in a little for dinner.

    I wish I could afford to drink Romanee Conti now and then, or Haut Brion etc once a week, or Far Niente whatever, or Montelena (which I think is the ‘73 California which beat the French). Not to show off, but just to drink at home by myself (ok my wife can have a glass). It really is better than plonk. But I rarely spend more than $20.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans

    \$50 wines usually taste a bit better than \$10.

    But not usually any better than \$20 wines.

    I rarely spend more than \$20.

    And you are rarely missing anything.

    • Replies: @hhsiii
    @Hangnail Hans

    It depends. Usually I’ll prefer the $50. It’s the $200 ones compared to the $20s where it gets more noticeable.

    It can be fairly expensive to make a good wine. Fewer grapes per acre to concentrate flavor, destemming, new oak instead of old concrete, etc.

    I like what I like, and yeah, if I was a millionaire (cash flow wise and not just inflated real estate wise) I’d be buying more expensive stuff. Not to impress anyone since my wife and I rarely entertain. Although now and then when I visit my brother in laws or good friends I’ll spring for a$40-50, just to not come off too chintzy.

  242. @John Henry
    This reminds me of the old saying, "You can tell a fine high class bottle of wine by that it got's a screw cap."

    I believe that was from Redd Foxx.

    Replies: @JimDandy, @Dave from Oz, @Etruscan Film Star

    Screw cap is a far better way to package wine than with a cork. Much better exclusion of oxygen, and it wont rot as cork can do. Similarly, goon bag is an even better way to do it, because the goon bag has no air in it at all.

  243. @Reg Cæsar
    @Redneck farmer


    So, you’ve drank battery acid?
     
    Drunk. Drunk!

    The other day, I drove to the dollar store to get a hard-bristle hair brush. Upon leaving, the car died in the parking lot. The brush was used to clean the battery terminals. However, I gave it a token run across my scalp so at least once it would be used for its intended purpose.

    Do people in manufactories consider that a certain portion of their output will be put to some other use? Say, matches or toothpicks employed to make an Eiffel Tower?

    Replies: @Bill Jones

    You upbraided Redneck for his use of a word:

    So, you’ve drank battery acid?

    Drunk. Drunk!

    Without asking the pertinent question: Was it purple?

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32748711/

  244. @John Johnson
    Boxed wine is a primary sponsor of the boomer generation.

    They know it sucks but would rather spend the money on important things like natural healing potions and movies about fictional Blacks in space.

    Replies: @Bill Jones

    And cats, don’t forget the cats, them wine-box Wimmin loves them some cats.

  245. @epebble
    @Jack D

    Is a $66,000 Mercedes E-Class twice as good as a $33,000 Honda Accord?

    They are two different product categories. The purpose of Honda Accord (Hondas generally) is to provide excellent transportation. Mercedes, at least as marketed in U.S. , is to give the buyer a sense of achievement, and to others, a symbol of owner's gravitas. It is very popular with certain professions like doctors and surgeons, lawyers etc., It is no big deal in Silicon Valley where they prefer Porche, BMW, Audi and High-end Teslas etc., Rolls Royce on the other hand, is to advertise that one is truly exclusive and more in the Royalty circle rather than just being wealthy.

    Fun fact: God-Man Rajneesh owned 93 Rolls Royces here in rural Oregon in the 1980s.

    https://autojosh.com/throwback-rajneesh-a-us-based-indian-god-man-owned-93-rolls-royces-in-the-1980s/

    Replies: @dimples

    For the last four years my car has been making a loud bearing noise. It started out quietly and got louder as you went faster so I assumed it was either a dinged drive shaft or front wheel bearing. It was definitely a bearing, a low metallic rumbly sort of noise that bearings make when they are damaged. In my automotive career I’ve had a number of them go due to water damage and so on.

    Then recently I got new tyres as the old ones were getting bald and I didn’t want to have trouble with Mr Plod. The bearing noise totally disappeared! Apparently, although I don’t believe it, it was just a tyre after all! So the moral of the story is that sometimes you think you know what something is but you don’t, although I’m still not convinced.

  246. @Hangnail Hans
    @hhsiii


    $50 wines usually taste a bit better than $10.

     

    But not usually any better than $20 wines.

    I rarely spend more than $20.
     
    And you are rarely missing anything.

    Replies: @hhsiii

    It depends. Usually I’ll prefer the \$50. It’s the \$200 ones compared to the \$20s where it gets more noticeable.

    It can be fairly expensive to make a good wine. Fewer grapes per acre to concentrate flavor, destemming, new oak instead of old concrete, etc.

    I like what I like, and yeah, if I was a millionaire (cash flow wise and not just inflated real estate wise) I’d be buying more expensive stuff. Not to impress anyone since my wife and I rarely entertain. Although now and then when I visit my brother in laws or good friends I’ll spring for a\$40-50, just to not come off too chintzy.

  247. @SIMP simp
    Diamonds are boring looking yellowish glass shards and lots of people are willing to pay large amounts of money on them, but only if they mined from the earth. Look-alikes like cubic zirconia and perfectly indistinguishable synthetic diamonds are not deemed equally valuable, so their value is not in how they look but in their price.
    This quote from Cordelia from the Buffy tv show captures the feeling best: "It's like when i go shopping!I always have to get the most expensive things.Not because it's the most expensive, but because they cost more!"

    Replies: @Frau Katze

    Diamonds have very high index of refraction. They are definitely more sparkly than other gems.

    But synthetic diamonds (the exact same molecule) are just as sparkly.

    The modern taste that rejects synthetic diamonds comes down to one thing: advertisements that promote mined diamonds.

  248. @Anonymous
    @Arclight

    Make sure you're not buying cooking wines. These are intended to go in stews etc. They are only a little above vinegar.

    If you buy a really bad wine, and you wonder who on earth is buying it, the answer is usually cooks.

    Replies: @Rodger Dodger

    Make sure you’re not buying cooking wines. These are intended to go in stews etc. They are only a little above vinegar.

    The rule I’ve always heard (and believe in whole-heartedly) is, don’t cook with anything you wouldn’t drink.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Rodger Dodger

    Boiling good wine is like boiling good beef: a tragic waste.

  249. @J.Ross
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    It was reviewers holding forth on the difference between two recordings (I think both were digital) and it turned out to be the same recording.

    Replies: @Rodger Dodger

    It was reviewers holding forth on the difference between two recordings (I think both were digital) and it turned out to be the same recording.

    In high school long ago, a friend wrote a program for his (then new) HP55 calculator that wrote poetry using a random number generator. We gave examples to the school’s English teachers to analyze. I remember one particular teacher who thought the author had homoerotic tendencies.

  250. @Reg Cæsar
    @Art Deco


    Advertising doesn’t work.
     
    Half of it works. You just never know which half.

    Replies: @Rodger Dodger

    Advertising doesn’t work.

    Half of it works. You just never know which half.

    Coke and Pepsi together spend \$8B annually (!) on advertising and I’ve never understood why. Does anyone actually drink one or the other based on their marketing? I suspect either one could not spend a penny and the change in their market share wouldn’t be noticed

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Rodger Dodger


    Coke and Pepsi together spend $8B annually (!) on advertising and I’ve never understood why. Does anyone actually drink one or the other based on their marketing?

     

    $8bn is greater than the GDP of 47 countries:

    https://www.worldometers.info/gdp/gdp-by-country/


    Funny you should ask. This afternoon I found this book in a Little Free Library:



    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61RsX4jjIRL._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_FMwebp_.jpg


    My answer is always ready:




    https://youtu.be/loamVbAOsPo

    https://youtu.be/FJ_ljtsIPCc

    https://youtu.be/3BfaVsiqGLA

    https://youtu.be/8MWQtrH-zrw

    https://youtu.be/9E-arRWZ5wc
    , @John Johnson
    @Rodger Dodger

    Coke and Pepsi together spend $8B annually (!) on advertising and I’ve never understood why. Does anyone actually drink one or the other based on their marketing? I suspect either one could not spend a penny and the change in their market share wouldn’t be noticed

    It's some marketing theory that you have to keep your brand out there to maintain your image as a major company.

    So if you see a Coke logo at a ball park the primary purpose isn't to encourage you to buy one.

    Shoe companies also subscribe to the theory. Does anyone buy Nike because they put a small logo on Olympic uniforms? Probably not but the theory states that they have to fund brand advertising.

    I took a class where this theory was debated. I sided with the position that they would be better off spending the money on real marketing efforts and not just plastering logos everywhere.

  251. Anonymous[529] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Dmon


    How about gettin’ the toes tapping with a little beer-drinking music?
     
    Nah, we Continental mode right now

    https://media.giphy.com/media/l0HlxJ8HxkMsgdZJe/giphy.gif


    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/42/d5/28/42d52822a5171d8134add0b662709d74.gif

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Walken I recognize, but who is the chanteuse? She’s gorgeous.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
    @Anonymous


    She’s gorgeous.

     

    The chanteuse is is the always delectable French gal Alizée:

    https://youtu.be/xzTG_1Xun54
    , @Jenner Ickham Errican
    @Anonymous

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliz%C3%A9e

  252. Anonymous[259] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon
    @Anonymous

    The first one known as 'the Judgment of Paris'. Not quite as decisive as you describe it but shocking enough. The judges' scoring shown in the link below.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgment_of_Paris_(wine)

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Yeah I admit the original judgement wasn’t as much of a landslide as I imagined. The 5 ones after it were though, massive landslides.

  253. @Twinkie
    @Intelligent Dasein


    Fine wines are absolutely not a hoax. How could they be? Think of all the manifold factors that influence the final result. Different grape varieties, different soils and microclimates, different weather from year to year, different aging methods—there is so much variety here that it allows those twin mistresses, Chance and Skill, to coax out rare and delightful combinations that amaze the senses.
     
    In this, I agree wholeheartedly and believe you are absolutely correct.

    But it is also absolutely irrelevant in our social and national context - because the vast majority of human beings have neither the ability nor the inclination to engage in the inculcation of fine senses. And our country is not France or Japan, in which countries there is still widely-held and -admired adherence to artisanal traditions and pursuit of perfection in craftmanship.

    It is like this with all manners of goods. The market is mostly geared toward that which satisfies the whims (and often base instincts) of, say, 80-90% of the consumers. The goal, then, becomes the delivery of such products at the lowest competitive and profitable price possible. This means that the small fraction of people who truly appreciate and enjoy more exalted taste (and those who merely seek to imitate this taste) will have to indulge in goods of far more uneconomic prices. Is a $3,000 Wilson Combat 1911 six times the gun a Glock 19 is? The answer is clearly no and that economic calculation determines the choice of the vast majority of consumers and in turn the entire, non-niche, market.

    I've mentioned this repeatedly in the past. Increasingly, this economy appears polarized. Middle class products of decent quality and workmanship are vanishing in many goods categories (electronics excepted, for example) and the market is bifurcated into cheap junks of low quality and durability on one hand and the truly high-end products that serve the enlarged affluent class. It's not just wine - it's furniture, leather goods, etc.

    Recently I got tired of plastic tumblers and cups for use at pool-side that would warp, become cloudy, and otherwise have sharp edges. I had to order plastic cups made in Japan.

    Replies: @6dust6

    I have worked as a craftsman as a designer and maker of fine furniture for 45 years now and can vouch that your comments are sad but true, and reminded me of de Tocqueville’s observation on the quality of things produced in our fledging democracy: “When none but the wealthy had watches, they were almost all very good ones; few are now made which are worth much, but everybody has one in his pocket.”

    • Thanks: Twinkie
  254. @JimDandy
    @John Henry

    That's no longer true, from what I understand.

    Replies: @Brutusale

    About 10 years ago Anthony Bourdain did a No Reservations show in Paris, bringing along his good buddy Eric Ripert, renowned chef/owner of Le Bernardin in New York. They were having lunch with three French chefs, and they were drinking youngish French wines out of screw-top bottles. Ripert was horrified, but he was roundly mocked by the French guys (and Bourdain) for his reactionary views. As Bourdain pointed out, they were in Paris to talk to the Young Turks that were changing French gastronomy; should they be surprised that French wine traditions were changing, too?

    Bottom line is that the modern screw-top is better for the wine, and the bang for the buck in aging red wine has limits.

    • Thanks: JimDandy
    • Replies: @peterike
    @Brutusale

    they were in Paris to talk to the Young Turks that were changing French gastronomy; should they be surprised that French wine traditions were changing, too?

    The French, like the Italians and Germans and Austrians, are going whole hog into "natural" wines, or low intervention wines. This is turning much of their wine into detestable garbage enjoyed only by Millennials who have palates raised on juice boxes and breakfast cereals.

  255. In college I worked in a small wine and cheese shop. The owner was a snob who only sold European items m. For the wines, it was due to the special soil. For the cheese it was due to artisanal skills passed down over the generations.

    The staff was required to taste the wines and cheese. She further required we pronounce them correctly in their original language, including Basque. This lead to some funny attempts from the working class staff.

    The most delicious wine was a \$8.99 (tacky price for her upity store) rioja from Catalan. Marqués de Cáceres. If you know anything about the Catalan language, you see how this pronunciation can be embarrassing. So I would recommend our cheapest wine, sounding like I had a lisp, because honestly it was the best.

    The high end clients actually wanted the more expensive ones just to show off. Sometimes they would get huffy with me for what they viewed as cheap. On top of that they thought I was retarded because of the faux lisp.

  256. @The Wild Geese Howard
    @David Jones


    Spanish is the best reasonably priced red. They don’t dump in the sulphites like the Chileans, and the wines aren’t as thin as the French.
     
    Thank you for the insights.

    Any thoughts on the Argentinians and what they are up to these days?

    I ask because I feel the best bottle of wine I've ever had is a $50 Argentinian Malbec in Mendoza for my birthday in 2017.

    Replies: @Colin Wright, @Brutusale, @Just Some JB

    If you live in an area where there’s a Total Wine, check out the Eccentric line of wines from Opi Sadler’s Mascota Vineyards.

    https://www.gatewaytosouthamerica-newsblog.com/argentine-rodolfo-opi-sadler-is-seen-as-the-best-red-wine-maker-in-the-world/

    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=eccentric%20cabernet%20sauvignon
    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=eccentric%20red%20blend

    His Mascota line is marginally better for a bit more money.

    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=mascota%20vineyards

    When I have guests who prefer something a bit more tannin-forward, I go to Italy for super Tuscans. Italian wines, IMHO, have the best bang for the buck.

    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=renieri%20invetro
    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=renieri

    I’m not a real fan of white wine, but this is the one that’s in my chiller.
    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=pine%20ridge%20chenin%20blanc%20viognier

    The great thing about Total Wine (disclosure: my best friend manages one of the stores) is the ability to actually taste the wine before you buy it.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Brutusale

    Total Wine is not bad but I think there are some issues.

    First of all, a lot of the wines are "ringers" - they are house label wines or Total Wine exclusives made to appear like they are from real wineries. These are mixed on the shelf with wines from real wineries. Some of them are not bad but I think it's deceptive. Costco has house wines but they clearly label them as "Kirkland". That's not what Total Wine does - these wines are indistinguishable from legitimate labels unless you google them and realize that they are from non-existent brands.

    2nd, the vast variety is not that vast. If you go up and down the aisles, you'll see the same product displayed over and over again in order to make it look like they have a large variety than they actually have.

    3rd, while the prices are usually pretty good they are not always the absolute lowest available. You might get the same wine for a couple of bucks less at Costco or Trader Joes if they allow them to sell wine in your area. I think Costco has that Pine Ridge for $9.50. Also Total Wine has gimmicks like coupons or case discounts - in order to get the best price you have to deal with the gimmicks whereas Trader Joes and Costco are straightforward to deal with - the price is the price, always.

  257. @pirelli
    @botazefa

    I really wish Steve could get a substack or something so I could read him without coming to this site. The fact that he still hasn’t makes me think that either (1) he just doesn’t want to, for whatever reason (more of a hassle? More pressure?), or (2) substack won’t let him on their platform.

    Replies: @botazefa

    I really wish Steve could get a substack or something so I could read him without coming to this site.

    Maybe at this stage in his life Steve just doesn’t want the hassle of learning a new publishing platform. I can relate to that feeling.

    I get the sense you only come to Unz for Sailer’s blogs? I wonder how many other Unz visits are primarily driven by Sailer. I originally came here after following Dr James Thompson to Unz. Then I discovered iSteve and all the other great writers.

  258. I agree with the first person to comment here. There is a difference between \$10 a bottle screw cap wine and a \$50 a bottle corked wine. But I cannot tell the difference beyond the \$50 a bottle wine.

  259. I’m fine with cheap red wines from Chile — but the censors at ZeroHedge won’t let me type out Gato Negro

  260. @Dube
    @Jack D

    A liquor industry vp for marketing told me that raising the price can increase sales. This was at the bar of the Top of the Mark, and in my very comfortable upholstered seat I didn't have to reply that I'd sometimes decided to pay just a bit more to get a bottle of something better.

    Replies: @Jack D

    This is called a “Veblen good”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good

    The best business in the world is to be the owner of a brand that is a Veblen good. It’s like a license to print money.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    @Jack D


    The best business in the world is to be the owner of a brand that is a Veblen good. It’s like a license to print money.
     
    Apple, for instance.
  261. @Brutusale
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    If you live in an area where there's a Total Wine, check out the Eccentric line of wines from Opi Sadler's Mascota Vineyards.

    https://www.gatewaytosouthamerica-newsblog.com/argentine-rodolfo-opi-sadler-is-seen-as-the-best-red-wine-maker-in-the-world/

    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=eccentric%20cabernet%20sauvignon
    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=eccentric%20red%20blend

    His Mascota line is marginally better for a bit more money.

    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=mascota%20vineyards

    When I have guests who prefer something a bit more tannin-forward, I go to Italy for super Tuscans. Italian wines, IMHO, have the best bang for the buck.

    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=renieri%20invetro
    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=renieri

    I'm not a real fan of white wine, but this is the one that's in my chiller.
    https://www.totalwine.com/search/all?text=pine%20ridge%20chenin%20blanc%20viognier

    The great thing about Total Wine (disclosure: my best friend manages one of the stores) is the ability to actually taste the wine before you buy it.

    Replies: @Jack D

    Total Wine is not bad but I think there are some issues.

    First of all, a lot of the wines are “ringers” – they are house label wines or Total Wine exclusives made to appear like they are from real wineries. These are mixed on the shelf with wines from real wineries. Some of them are not bad but I think it’s deceptive. Costco has house wines but they clearly label them as “Kirkland”. That’s not what Total Wine does – these wines are indistinguishable from legitimate labels unless you google them and realize that they are from non-existent brands.

    2nd, the vast variety is not that vast. If you go up and down the aisles, you’ll see the same product displayed over and over again in order to make it look like they have a large variety than they actually have.

    3rd, while the prices are usually pretty good they are not always the absolute lowest available. You might get the same wine for a couple of bucks less at Costco or Trader Joes if they allow them to sell wine in your area. I think Costco has that Pine Ridge for \$9.50. Also Total Wine has gimmicks like coupons or case discounts – in order to get the best price you have to deal with the gimmicks whereas Trader Joes and Costco are straightforward to deal with – the price is the price, always.

  262. For instance, Richard Serra is an obnoxious artist who puts up rusted iron walls in public spaces like an urban version of the Berlin Wall, like his “Tilted Arc”
    Richard Serra is not the original artist to put up these walls. When I was an art student in London, I saw these 5cm thick parallel steel walls in the Saatchi Gallery which is open by invitation only and I went along with the school students.
    From what I can recollect, this was by a German artist. The walls are both parallel but at an angle and when one walks between them, the ground appears tilted, not the walls.

  263. @Rooster16
    @Anonymous

    I like your correlation to modern art. It essentially comes down to a network of people who enjoy wine/art, who elevate the importance of the wine/art while creating a store of value with exorbitant prices. Many times the linguistics of describing said wine/art is the most important aspect of them. “Experts” are nothing more than those who use sesquipedalian verbiage to describe the taste. Look up Rudy Kurniawan for an example.

    Replies: @Rev. Spooner

    “Experts” are nothing more than those who use sesquipedalian verbiage to describe the taste.

    You disqualify yourself by using the word sesquipedalian .

  264. @Art Deco
    @Fisk Ellington Rutledge IV

    George Bush is just an imbecile and a traitorous lapdog for the Jews

    He is neither, of course. We've discovered in the last several years what he actually is: someone who had no use for the people who voted for him. For all his shortcomings, his brother is more trustworthy.

    Replies: @Fisk Ellington Rutledge IV

    George W. Bush was a GloboHomo and third-world immigration enthusiast; all part of the Jewish agenda. None of the Bush family can be trusted. George H.W. Bush was a notorious traitor and globalist tool. The Bush family has been as destructive as the Kennedy family. They are all traitors to their race and their civilization. All negro worshipers. Totally disgusting.

  265. Heaven forbid you left a shekel on the table!

    Those “ringers”, or direct brands as they call them, can ALL be sampled before you buy them. They WANT you to try them; they make more money on them. Some are plonk, some are a deal at twice the price, which is why you taste them first. They are not “house wines” but mostly the product of unknown vineyards that corporate bullied into selling their wine for a song for exposure of their brand in 230 locations. Others are the result of partnerships with existing brands, like Sadler with the Eccentric label or Buffalo Trace making the Two Stars bourbon for them.

    3rd, while the prices are usually pretty good they are not always the absolute lowest available. You might get the same wine for a couple of bucks less at Costco or Trader Joe’s if they allow them to sell wine in your area. I think Costco has that Pine Ridge for \$9.50. Also, Total Wine has gimmicks like coupons or case discounts – in order to get the best price you have to deal with the gimmicks whereas Trader Joe’s and Costco are straightforward to deal with – the price is the price, always.

    The market rules. For decades, MA residents trekked to NH to buy booze for way less money. When Trader Joe’s and Costco started selling booze here, it didn’t move the needle, as neither has the quality range or selection. Now, with 6 Total Wine locations in MA, the traffic is in the other direction. Two summers ago the NH State Liquor Commission basically declared war on Total Wine and began running ads listing a bunch of products for less than cost, which is illegal in MA (Total Wine can’t honor any rewards program here) and something I’d find troubling if I were an NH taxpayer.

    And no, I can’t get the Pine Ridge wine at my local Costco. I checked. Like I said, lame selection.

  266. anon[183] • Disclaimer says:

    I had a friend give me a bottle of Opus One, once. I drank it on Christmas in my Barracks room by myself. What a fine wine. I don’t drink white, too acidic, gives me heartburn. I can’t stand Grigios, too sweet. There was a sweet German wine I liked once, maybe a Riesling. While sometimes I don’t mind a cheaper wine, other times i enjoy the finer less barrel taste of a wine that costs a bit more, some wines it’s almost like being alergic to them, they would cause me to sneeze. I only drink variants of red. It’s not the grape, must be something else in the process?

  267. Richard Serra was the second of three sons born to a Russian Jewish mother and a Spanish father.

    Surprised?

  268. yet wine tasters can’t distinguish between low and high quality wines in blind tastings

    Baloney. There is a vast difference between a \$10 wine and a \$50-100 wine. Now, you can of course get a good \$10 wine and a bad \$100 wine. But the good \$10 wine will never be as good as the good \$50-100 wine.

    Watch and learn (this channel is great for wine knowledge).

  269. @Brutusale
    @JimDandy

    About 10 years ago Anthony Bourdain did a No Reservations show in Paris, bringing along his good buddy Eric Ripert, renowned chef/owner of Le Bernardin in New York. They were having lunch with three French chefs, and they were drinking youngish French wines out of screw-top bottles. Ripert was horrified, but he was roundly mocked by the French guys (and Bourdain) for his reactionary views. As Bourdain pointed out, they were in Paris to talk to the Young Turks that were changing French gastronomy; should they be surprised that French wine traditions were changing, too?

    Bottom line is that the modern screw-top is better for the wine, and the bang for the buck in aging red wine has limits.

    Replies: @peterike

    they were in Paris to talk to the Young Turks that were changing French gastronomy; should they be surprised that French wine traditions were changing, too?

    The French, like the Italians and Germans and Austrians, are going whole hog into “natural” wines, or low intervention wines. This is turning much of their wine into detestable garbage enjoyed only by Millennials who have palates raised on juice boxes and breakfast cereals.

  270. @stillCARealist
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    What about single malt Scotch? Is that a motivator for the clients? That's all I'll touch now, and it can get expensive PDQ. Fortunately it only takes an ounce of the firewater to make me cry Uncle.

    And yes, there is quite the range of quality from rotgut up to exquisite. But I've never spent more than about $50/bottle, so I can't say if the correlation continues up linearly beyond that.

    Replies: @Hangnail Hans, @Barbarossa

    I’m a scotch and whiskey drinker myself and find that this is the case. There a ton of really solid bottles for \$35 to \$60 a pop. Anything less than that is nasty and anything more is diminishing returns. I’ll get an \$70 or \$80 now and then for a special occasion just for fun, and while they are good they aren’t really THAT much better.

    I think it also holds true for wine and beer. The top end is just for stupid people with stupid money to show off. It’s like some Saudi prince eating gold plates chicken nuggets…pure wankery.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @Barbarossa

    A great malt for the price.

    https://www.totalwine.com/spirits/scotch/single-malt/shieldaig-speyside-single-malt-18yr/p/109032750?s=1705&igrules=true&tab=3

  271. So, I only buy box wine at Costco.

    I say:

    Hank Williams III – Live In Scotland – Wine Spodeeodee

    Hank Williams Three covers a song by Stick McGhee and J. Mayo Williams.

  272. @Charlesz Martel
    @Giant Duck

    In my opinion the best deal on Champagne (Although not technically a Champagne) is Domaine Carneros. It is the California version of Tattinger, about half the price of the French one. I can tell then apart, but the difference is very slight for a half-priced product. It is by far the best American sparkling wine.

    California wines are all sweeter than they should be, but Americans like sweet food and drink. There are good California wines made to French standards, but they cost twice what better French wines do.

    Tbe American wine market has caused a global shift in wine sweetness, as Americans were considered a huge untapped market since the 70's, and vintners moved their wines toward the American palate, such as it is.

    The best deals in wine are Cameron Hughes. You can find some very good deals if you know what you're doing and follow the latest on the conpany's offerings. There are blogs that discuss their products at length.

    I haven't checked in a few years, so this info may not be current.

    Most people do not appreciate fine food or drink. But try an experiment for yourself.

    Go buy a Hershey bar and then go to Aldi's and buy a chocolate bar. Taste both, compare the prices, and get back to me. The Aldi product is way cheaper and far better.

    Then order some truffles from Leonidas.

    You'll think you've died and went to heaven. You'll realize that you had never tasted good chocolate in your life before then.

    You can all thank me later.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Barbarossa

    Go buy a Hershey bar and then go to Aldi’s and buy a chocolate bar. Taste both, compare the prices, and get back to me. The Aldi product is way cheaper and far better.

    Yes, but Aldi won’t have it the next day. 😉

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Twinkie

    Hershey's milk chocolate is bad but they can't change it because people are used to the taste. Hershey's knows how to make good chocolate - they just don't know how to get people to buy it.

    The history is this - Milton Hershey, desiring to enter the chocolate business, went to Switzerland where he tried to learn the secret of making milk chocolate - this is not easy because milk is mostly water and doesn't mix with chocolate which is mostly fat. But the Swiss played their cards close to the vest and he never learned the secret (the secret is powdered milk - invented by Swiss chemist Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé ). When he returned to America, he tried to come up with his own recipe for milk chocolate and he discovered that he could make it using sour milk (once the milk curdles you can strain off the water and leave the milk solids). So Hershey's chocolate tastes like vomit - the taste that Americans expect!

    ANY chocolate would taste better than Hershey's.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @Twinkie, @Reg Cæsar, @James J. O'Meara

  273. @Adam Smith
    The 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is a model of weightless finesse with a bouquet of dark wild cherries, zesty minerals, menthol, and spices. It's like a girl of fifteen with laughing blue eyes. The wine is soft, chewy and provides a lovely mouth feel.

    https://i.redd.it/mnlmevrcy1dx.jpg

    Replies: @Hypnotoad666, @prosa123, @AnotherDad, @Barbarossa

    No, no, that’s the wrong orifice entirely! It goes in the mouth you fool!

    • LOL: Adam Smith
  274. @Charlesz Martel
    @Giant Duck

    In my opinion the best deal on Champagne (Although not technically a Champagne) is Domaine Carneros. It is the California version of Tattinger, about half the price of the French one. I can tell then apart, but the difference is very slight for a half-priced product. It is by far the best American sparkling wine.

    California wines are all sweeter than they should be, but Americans like sweet food and drink. There are good California wines made to French standards, but they cost twice what better French wines do.

    Tbe American wine market has caused a global shift in wine sweetness, as Americans were considered a huge untapped market since the 70's, and vintners moved their wines toward the American palate, such as it is.

    The best deals in wine are Cameron Hughes. You can find some very good deals if you know what you're doing and follow the latest on the conpany's offerings. There are blogs that discuss their products at length.

    I haven't checked in a few years, so this info may not be current.

    Most people do not appreciate fine food or drink. But try an experiment for yourself.

    Go buy a Hershey bar and then go to Aldi's and buy a chocolate bar. Taste both, compare the prices, and get back to me. The Aldi product is way cheaper and far better.

    Then order some truffles from Leonidas.

    You'll think you've died and went to heaven. You'll realize that you had never tasted good chocolate in your life before then.

    You can all thank me later.

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Barbarossa

    Hershey “chocolate” is foul. I’ve never had Leonidas truffles, but would happily give them a try sometime. They are pricey, but not entirely insane if they are as good as you say they are. My general dictum still holds with chocolate though, I can get quite good chocolate for \$3 to \$5 a bar which satisfies in small amounts. Money being a generally finite quantity, I like to find that sweet spot of quality and value whether it’s coffee, chocolate, wine or scotch.

    As I alluded to with the chocolate, decent quality provides more enjoyment with less quantity, so I really don’t spend more on a lot of this than the el-cheapo. I know I spend way less on alcohol than the guy walking out out of the gas station with the 30 pack of Keystone every couple of days!

  275. @J.Ross
    This was a story a million years ago, a related one was classical music reviewers not being able to distinguish recordings.

    Replies: @Barnard, @Je Suis Omar Mateen, @Paul Mendez, @Shhjjkjcf

    I’m not even close to being an expert, but I’m sure I can tell the guitar playing of Christopher Parkening from Eliot Fisk on the same piece, two ends of the spectrum from “technically proficient” to “wildly expressive” (or “robotic” to “sloppy”, depending on your taste). Outside these extremes, classical guitarists are not at all like rockers, it being impossible not to know Tom Petty from Mark Knopfler, for example, instantly and unmistakably.

    I generally prefer John Williams, Ana Vidovic, and Julian Bream to Parkening and Fisk, since they come closer to the Golden Mean, IMHO, both precise and emotional.

    I could possibly tell Hilary Hahn from Joshua Bell, or Maurizio Pollini from Marta Argerich, slightly better than a coin flip. Experts can probably tell nearly infallibly. Orchestras would add a degree of complexity far beyond me

    • Thanks: J.Ross
  276. @Moe Gibbs
    As far as consumer snobbery, wine snobbishness is an especially unforgivable sin, in my anything-but-humble opinion. Hearing some self-important blowhard describe an "amusing little wine in which one detects subtle notes of vanilla, caramel and aged offal in a delicately fecal arrangement redolent of sweat socks, mothballs and skunk" can inspire me to violence.

    But my real pet peeve is coffee snobs. Blame Starbucks. Blame Amazon. Blame Food Network. Blame all of Washington state, perhaps. But blame someone, because those insufferable millennial twerps with their civet-shat, panko-crusted, shaken-not-stirred Franken-coffees want badly for some old school arse-whuppin' for their insolence.

    The next smug, scruffy-bearded hipster who orders a "double-skinny caramel frappa-latte with three pumps, no froth" should have his e-cig shoved so far up his hemp bike-shorted arse that he blinks pale blue from his bulging eyeballs. Even if its my own traitorous son.

    Wanna stop civilization in its tracks? Get on the queue at Starbucks and when you finally osmose to the front of the line, demand "a cup of coffee". Then delight in watching a 21 year old barista's wheels fall off.

    This Sunday morning rant was brought to you courtesy of the usual two cups of black espresso. I am Moe Gibbs and I aver that my cheap Big Box beans are most assuredly not sustainably harvested.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob, @Peter D. Bredon

    Let’s not forget “carefully curated” which pins my BS meter to 11.

    Curated? Really? Are you running a museum here?

  277. A glass of Wyler’s grape drink with a shot of vodka is as good as any wine, IMHO. Obviously, I’m not a wino.

  278. Matthew,
    Thanks so much for the link. I keep wondering why so many people are so badly suckered by the bullshit. It never occurred to me that maybe I’m slightly autistic, and they aren’t autistic at all

    I had thought most of my oddities were a result of PTSD. Maybe I’m an autistic with PTSD. Its so hard to tell with cognitive issues because there is a lot of overlap with autism, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, strokes, and similar issues.

    Maybe this is part of why I enjoy writers who clearly see past the bullshit to reality, such as Terry Pratchett, Caitlin Johnstone, Andrew Anglin, and of course Steve.

    Culturally Steve and I are a long ways apart. I was miserable living in southern California, and he likes living there. I will admit leaving the beaches was a wrenching loss, but they weren’t enough to keep me there. However he keeps coming up with useful information, so I keep reading much of what he writes.

    Now I’m wondering even more about the whole VAX program, which seems to be a huge breeding experiment for humans. They are culling out the people and genes more susceptible to propaganda, and increasing the percentage of propaganda-resistant people in the population.

    I can see how a few amoral clear thinkers would be useful to the billionaires as servants, but not millions of people, with a sense of morality, who are resistant to propaganda. So I wonder, is the VAX program some kind of billionaire death wish?

  279. At least with wine there’s something to discern – whether or not it’s discernible, even to the so-called super tasters. But abstract/modern art involves an entirely higher level of hallucination and hypnosis. And then there’s the woke belief system/religion of our ruling class. Modern art is the most absurd of the post modern belief scams, but also the hardest to quantify. By contrast, with social policy we can look at everything from crime rates to race differences in brain scans. For wine we have double blind taste tests.

    But why are the smartest – IQ wise – most susceptible to hallucinating ridiculous belief systems (eg races that have been separated for tens of thousands of years have the exact same average cognitive profile; you can taste the difference between a \$50, \$500, and \$2,000 bottle of wine; a blank piece of paper is high ‘art’ et al). I once read that more educated (ie high IQ) people are more susceptible to propaganda, but never found a thorough explanation for this finding. Below average IQ bumpkins do seem better at calling BS on wine, African migrants and modern art. But why? Maybe most of us are just social apes and IQ is just a tool to will our beliefs to reality. Or at least get mugged trying.

  280. @Twinkie
    @Charlesz Martel


    Go buy a Hershey bar and then go to Aldi’s and buy a chocolate bar. Taste both, compare the prices, and get back to me. The Aldi product is way cheaper and far better.
     
    Yes, but Aldi won't have it the next day. ;)

    Replies: @Jack D

    Hershey’s milk chocolate is bad but they can’t change it because people are used to the taste. Hershey’s knows how to make good chocolate – they just don’t know how to get people to buy it.

    The history is this – Milton Hershey, desiring to enter the chocolate business, went to Switzerland where he tried to learn the secret of making milk chocolate – this is not easy because milk is mostly water and doesn’t mix with chocolate which is mostly fat. But the Swiss played their cards close to the vest and he never learned the secret (the secret is powdered milk – invented by Swiss chemist Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé ). When he returned to America, he tried to come up with his own recipe for milk chocolate and he discovered that he could make it using sour milk (once the milk curdles you can strain off the water and leave the milk solids). So Hershey’s chocolate tastes like vomit – the taste that Americans expect!

    ANY chocolate would taste better than Hershey’s.

    • Agree: Barbarossa
    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Barbarossa
    @Jack D

    You nailed it with the vomit descriptor. I never quite pegged it, but that is exactly what is going on there. Thanks for the history brief too, very interesting.

    , @Twinkie
    @Jack D

    What you wrote has nothing to do with my comment, to which you ostensibly replied.

    I was knocking the fact that Aldi's opportunistically stocks European chocolates (and other food items) and so often doesn't have the next day what one could buy the day before.

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Jack D


    So Hershey’s chocolate tastes like vomit – the taste that Americans expect!
     
    Joel and Lia bring this up (pardon the expression) in the "American" aisle of what looks to be a London Tesco's:

    https://youtu.be/UUDvgRKJjTs&t=4m54s


    Elsewhere on YT, "Glen and Friends" tries out recipes from very old cookbooks. One called for "sour milk". Glen, who lives in Toronto, knew exactly where to find that-- in the supermarket cooler labeled as "cultured buttermilk". That what that is.

    (Are you there, Bruce County? Is this sold in bags like regular milk? Ontario is weird.)

    I miss real buttermilk. Maybe I should check with the local Amish.

    Replies: @John Johnson

    , @James J. O'Meara
    @Jack D

    This reminds me of something I heard years ago -- maybe a myth. When people started going to Tibet to climb the mountains, some locals decided to make some cash by opening a restaurant that catered to foreign tastes. Problem was, they had no experience with Western food (remember, Tibet was closed off from the world before), nor any appropriate ingredients. BUT they did have pictures of Western food, so they crafted stuff that looked like the pictures, from entirely different ingredients, that tasted very different. Kind of home made Surrealism.

    Japanese restaurants have the same idea, with their model items on display, except they don't actually sell it to you (unless you ask really nicely, I guess).

    Replies: @Twinkie

  281. @ScarletNumber

    Isn’t it simpler to assume that some people really can tell wines apart by taste and smell?
     
    No, it's simpler to assume that people are full of it and/or are easily persuaded. Why do you think advertising works?

    Replies: @Pontius, @Jim Bob Lassiter, @Curmudgeon, @Art Deco, @TGGP, @Cagey Beast, @Luddite in Chief

    Why do you think advertising works?

    It might be more accurate to say that advertising is widely perceived to work. I am afraid that the vast sums spent on advertising bring it into “everyone knows that” territory, because popular wisdom dictates that people do not spend lots of money on things of dubious value.

    I do not know if anyone reading this had ever read Advertising, The Uneasy Persuasion, but it is a painstaking book written by Michael Schudson decades ago (1986). The book examines advertising and how it works, and reveals that it often does not work.

    More awkwardly, when it does work, it may work in such a way that the success cannot be repeated because even those in the industry do not understand exactly how it was achieved.

    I would love to read a more recent book that takes on the same subject matter, but have yet to find one (perhaps someone here has?).

    Anyway, if I had to sum up the advertising game, I would say it is all about the expectation that the expenditure of large sums must produce a positive result and that, the more money one spends, the greater the expected positive result.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Luddite in Chief


    It might be more accurate to say that advertising is widely perceived to work.
     
    It depends on what one means by "work". In their marketing books, Al Ries and Jack Trout suggested that it didn't change people's behavior, but reinforced it. So don't blow a wad on it until you've reached the top. Then flood the airwaves so people stay put and don't forget you exist.

    It works as a reminder of why you chose the product in the first place.

    There is also the "warm fuzzy feeling" aspect. Nobody bought Met Life insurance because Snoopy told him to. The beagle merely softened him up to prime him for the ultimate message.

    Replies: @Luddite in Chief

    , @Peter D. Bredon
    @Luddite in Chief


    Anyway, if I had to sum up the advertising game, I would say it is all about the expectation that the expenditure of large sums must produce a positive result and that, the more money one spends, the greater the expected positive result.
     
    And the corollary, if we spend lots of money on something, we must be smart and successful. Rare is the CEO who boasts about how little they spend on advertising.
  282. Regarding other kinds of ‘snobs’, watches are an interesting case study. In terms of utility, expensive mechanical watches are inferior to cheaper quartz watches by just about every measure. While mechanical watches will last longer and can be serviced, you can get a Casio G-Shock for a fraction of the price it costs to service a higher end watch (\$500-1,000 every 7-14 years or so). There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.

    There’s also the ability to quantify the difference between, say, a Rolex and a fake Rolex. A high quality fake serviced by a watchmaker will run 99% as well as the Rolex. You’d have to take the watches apart and look at them under a loupe to see the relatively minor differences in manufacturing quality – much of it not affecting performance, even theoretically. And then you have the small-batch, hand made Swiss watches that go for hundreds of thousands. They’re a blend of obsessive craftsmanship and art (classical art).

    I think the problem with wine (and modern art) is that you can’t objectively quantify any difference in quality between the \$20 and \$2,000. With a Patek Philippe watch you can at least quantify the difference under magnification and you have an audit trail of the Swiss labor/craftsmanship – stuff made by White people in Western countries is expensive. You may not care to spend more than \$80 on a watch, but at least much of what makes a Patek or a Rolex expensive can be distinguished, even if it adds no value to most people. In sum, there’s a real difference between an \$80 Casio and an \$80,000 Patek, even if that difference seems stupid to most people.

    • Replies: @Barbarossa
    @Anonymous Jew


    There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.
     
    True. But mechanical clocks are really friggin' neat. Even more incredible are fully wooden mechanical clocks. Devices like this seem more a triumph of the human mind than a Casio G Shock because unlike the digital version they are scrutable to the human mind.
    , @The Wild Geese Howard
    @Anonymous Jew


    Casio G-Shock
     
    Get the classic, old-school G-shocks.

    The new ones are trying to be fitness watches.

    Great, except they force you to download an app and create an account on their website. That process is fraught.

    The solar charging on the new G-Shocks also seems incapable of topping off the battery.

    As for mechanical watches, there are plenty of compelling, good value brands like Longines, Oris, Ball, and Mido.

    If one must own one of the big mechanical names, there are plenty of floor demos, B-stock, and lightly used ones around. No reason to pay retail.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    , @Twinkie
    @Anonymous Jew


    In terms of utility, expensive mechanical watches are inferior to cheaper quartz watches by just about every measure. While mechanical watches will last longer and can be serviced, you can get a Casio G-Shock for a fraction of the price it costs to service a higher end watch ($500-1,000 every 7-14 years or so). There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.
     
    By and large this is true. When one buys a mechanical watch, one is buying the workmanship rather than utility.

    By the way, there is a sort of a mechanical/quartz hybrid that features exquisite workmanship, but also the accuracy of a quartz - Seiko's spring drive-powered watches. The Grand Seiko models that feature this mechanism are simply some of the best watches in the world. Smooth hand movement just like a high frequency mechanical, but the superb accuracy of the best of the quartz watches. +/- 1 sec. per day, sometimes even less.

    Also, it shouldn't cost $500-1000 to service a high-end mechanical watch. Those are boutique/manufacturer prices. I go to a local watchmaker who trained all the local boutique guys. He charges me $350 for Rolexes, Cartiers, and Pateks (and one Tag Heuer I own - the Monaco) and $200 for Seikos and some of the German mechanicals I own (Stowa, Sinn, except the oil-filled one, which has to go back to Sinn in Germany). I am a fan of Sinn 856, for the minimalist simplicity and for the excellent anti-magnetic protection qualities - and it's relatively reasonably priced for a European mechanical. One of the annoying things about most mechanical watches is how easily they become magnetized, especially these days when I walk through body scanners all the time. An easy fix, I know (I own a degausser), but still annoying.

    Replies: @Anonymous Jew

    , @Peter D. Bredon
    @Anonymous Jew


    I think the problem with wine (and modern art) is that you can’t objectively quantify any difference in quality between the $20 and $2,000.
     
    That's exactly the problem, or challenge, if you will. The differences, if any, aren't captured by any objective, quantifiable means, so their very existence is questionable (I mean literally, able to be questioned, I'm not necessarily saying they aren't there, just that we can't prove it).

    In the early days of digital, audiophiles -- who used to live and die by oscilloscopes and other "scientific" tools,--suddenly "discovered" that the "real" differences btw vinyl and digital were intangible but all important. They even insisted that medically proven "perfect" hearing (whatever the audio version of 20/20 is) was nice but irrelevant, as some people could hear those "special" properties, like those who "really can" taste the differences among high end wines, or have "artistic taste." Nice racket.

  283. @Matthew Kelly

    Personally, my own sense of taste and smell is like that of a child whose most sophisticated opinion is that while McDonalds fries taste better than Burger King fries, Burger King burgers taste better than McDonalds burgers.

    So, I only buy box wine at Costco.
     
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fallible-mind/201708/why-advertising-falls-flat-in-individuals-autism

    Not saying you have autism, Steve, but my assumption is that you share enough in common with the stereotypical autiste--namely, an inability (unwillingness?) to delude yourself with popular and/or pretentious bullshit, thereby enabling you to not only recognize that the emperor has no clothes, but to also state exactly that--that perhaps that's what's at play here.

    Didn't those freakonomics guys do a whole "Wine is Bullshit" thing a long time ago?

    Closing with a personal anecdote: When I first moved to NYC I was chatting with a sommelier at bar and asked for a 101 on appreciating fine wines. His response: "Any idiot can spend a bunch of money on a bottle of wine. The mark of a connoisseur is one spends the least amount of money on a wine he really enjoys, whether that be some 'fine wine' or a Two Buck Chuck."

    Replies: @Luddite in Chief

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fallible-mind/201708/why-advertising-falls-flat-in-individuals-autism

    I wonder if the author of this article might be mistaking autism for cheapskatism?

    From the article:

    Instead, the autistic shopper focuses on what really matters: ingredients, price, and the necessity of even owning the product.

    I was not aware there were any other considerations. Is this a bad sign?

    And at the risk of putting myself further in the “autistic” camp, I would have put the third of the above considerations first. “Why do I even need this in the first place?” is the very first question I ask myself before any purchase and I am surprised at how often the answer turns out to be, “I don’t need it, but someone else is attempting to convince me I do.”

    In any case, thank you for posting the link to that article. Quite intriguing.

    • Replies: @Peter D. Bredon
    @Luddite in Chief


    “I don’t need it, but someone else is attempting to convince me I do.”
     
    In the "Magazine" episode of AbFab, a fashion rag editor is reading off the unpronounceable sciencey ingredients on some makeup label and exclaims, "I don't know what this means but it's making me buy it!"
  284. @NJ Transit Commuter
    When I was a younger man and had the means to so for the first time, I would splurge on wine now and again. I could definitely tell the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle of wine, but once you got beyond that, I couldn’t really differentiate. There may be people with who can, but why should I waste money if I cannot? That was my conclusion.

    For the business I’m in, it is helpful for entertaining clients to have a basic understanding of wine, and it is fun to pick a bottle that goes well with what you are eating. But, at least for me that doesn’t have much correlation to the price of the bottle.

    Replies: @International Jew, @stillCARealist, @Currahee, @Recently Based, @J1234

    I could definitely tell the difference between a \$10 bottle of wine and a \$50 bottle of wine, but once you got beyond that, I couldn’t really differentiate.

    I also notice a difference between \$10 and \$50 wines. Like you, I don’t have much experience (or preference) in prices higher than that, but I have noticed some trends within lower priced wines over the years. First, it’s my opinion that the influx of Australian wine at the bottom end has generally improved the quality of the really affordable wines. It’s likely that even Steve would notice an improvement in taste if he moved up from the boxes to something from a company like Yellow Tail. It’s not great stuff, but I recall both my wife and I being impressed when we compared it to the sub-\$10 wine we had been drinking before.

    Also, the worst wines I’ve ever tasted were really low priced French or Italian brands. If your spending 20 bucks, buy something from California or Australia instead of France or Italy. If anyone has had good western European wine in that price range, let me know. I might try it again.

  285. @Jack D
    @Twinkie

    Hershey's milk chocolate is bad but they can't change it because people are used to the taste. Hershey's knows how to make good chocolate - they just don't know how to get people to buy it.

    The history is this - Milton Hershey, desiring to enter the chocolate business, went to Switzerland where he tried to learn the secret of making milk chocolate - this is not easy because milk is mostly water and doesn't mix with chocolate which is mostly fat. But the Swiss played their cards close to the vest and he never learned the secret (the secret is powdered milk - invented by Swiss chemist Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé ). When he returned to America, he tried to come up with his own recipe for milk chocolate and he discovered that he could make it using sour milk (once the milk curdles you can strain off the water and leave the milk solids). So Hershey's chocolate tastes like vomit - the taste that Americans expect!

    ANY chocolate would taste better than Hershey's.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @Twinkie, @Reg Cæsar, @James J. O'Meara

    You nailed it with the vomit descriptor. I never quite pegged it, but that is exactly what is going on there. Thanks for the history brief too, very interesting.

  286. Anon[353] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jon
    I hosted a wine tasting back when those were a big thing. I made it blind, and threw in a bottle of Two-Buck-Chuck from Trader Joe's, along with wines at the $15, $30, and a couple of $60+ price points. Chuck came in second. Most people got a kick out of it, but one couple dropped out of the wine club and never forgave me for embarrassing them on their wine tastes.

    For example, there has been a vast influx into the wine industry over the last half century of rich Silicon Valley nerds. Are you saying they all agreed to propagate the ancient hoaxes about fine wine rather than figure out some way to prosper by beating the system?
     
    That's exactly what they are doing. Silicon Valley nerds are absolutely the nouveau riche - many of them are desperate to upgrade their social class to fit their income. I did a tour of Napa/Sonoma back in the early heyday of the internet. There were throngs of these nerds taking wine tasting classes and buying "starter sets" of wines and accessories to impress their friends.

    Replies: @Paleo Liberal, @Anon

    I did a blind tasting like this and absolutely nobody, including people who had no experience with wine, had any difficulty telling the difference between two buck chuck and good Bordeaux. Maybe you just bought a lot of crappy \$50 wines (they do exist).

    There are big differences between various quality levels of wines, usually reflected in the price.

  287. @Anonymous Jew
    Regarding other kinds of ‘snobs’, watches are an interesting case study. In terms of utility, expensive mechanical watches are inferior to cheaper quartz watches by just about every measure. While mechanical watches will last longer and can be serviced, you can get a Casio G-Shock for a fraction of the price it costs to service a higher end watch ($500-1,000 every 7-14 years or so). There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.

    There’s also the ability to quantify the difference between, say, a Rolex and a fake Rolex. A high quality fake serviced by a watchmaker will run 99% as well as the Rolex. You’d have to take the watches apart and look at them under a loupe to see the relatively minor differences in manufacturing quality - much of it not affecting performance, even theoretically. And then you have the small-batch, hand made Swiss watches that go for hundreds of thousands. They’re a blend of obsessive craftsmanship and art (classical art).

    I think the problem with wine (and modern art) is that you can’t objectively quantify any difference in quality between the $20 and $2,000. With a Patek Philippe watch you can at least quantify the difference under magnification and you have an audit trail of the Swiss labor/craftsmanship - stuff made by White people in Western countries is expensive. You may not care to spend more than $80 on a watch, but at least much of what makes a Patek or a Rolex expensive can be distinguished, even if it adds no value to most people. In sum, there’s a real difference between an $80 Casio and an $80,000 Patek, even if that difference seems stupid to most people.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @The Wild Geese Howard, @Twinkie, @Peter D. Bredon

    There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.

    True. But mechanical clocks are really friggin’ neat. Even more incredible are fully wooden mechanical clocks. Devices like this seem more a triumph of the human mind than a Casio G Shock because unlike the digital version they are scrutable to the human mind.

  288. @Rodger Dodger
    @Reg Cæsar



    Advertising doesn’t work.
     
    Half of it works. You just never know which half.
     
    Coke and Pepsi together spend $8B annually (!) on advertising and I've never understood why. Does anyone actually drink one or the other based on their marketing? I suspect either one could not spend a penny and the change in their market share wouldn't be noticed

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @John Johnson

    Coke and Pepsi together spend \$8B annually (!) on advertising and I’ve never understood why. Does anyone actually drink one or the other based on their marketing?

    \$8bn is greater than the GDP of 47 countries:

    https://www.worldometers.info/gdp/gdp-by-country/

    Funny you should ask. This afternoon I found this book in a Little Free Library:

    My answer is always ready:

    [MORE]

  289. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Slightly OT, but here it is, the best rock n roll song of all time.....


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-u_EFyKAC8&list=RDGMEMJQXQAmqrnmK1SEjY_rKBGA&index=2

    I used to do this on piano back in high school, got laid every time.

    As for matters of good taste, call me, I charge reasonable rates.

    Replies: @vinteuil

    …the best rock n roll song of all time…

    Yes, I think it probably is.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @vinteuil

    "Long Tall Sally", "Mustang Sally", "Ride, Sally, Ride", "Lay Down Sally", "Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley", "Little Sally Walker", ">Sally Was a Good Ole Girl", "Sally Go 'Round the Roses"... Is it even the best song about Sallys?

    Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease

  290. @Dumbo
    Well, a $25 wine is usually better than a $5 one, but the higher in price you go, the difference becomes minimal and probably more related to tastes.

    I have never tried the $10,000 Romanée-Conti, but I don't think it is 100 times better than a random $100 wine.

    Replies: @Jefferson Temple, @James J. O'Meara

    I call this the Five Dollar Tomato rule. Years ago I was in Dean & Delucca’s in Soho — where those Hamptons Masters of the Universe iSteve hangs out with shop — and they had some really nice looking “heirloom” tomatoes, at \$5. I thought, no matter how much better they are than “regular” tomatoes, there’s no way they’re worth \$5 each. There’s worth the price, and then there’s ridiculous.

    Tarantino’s take:

    • Replies: @John Johnson
    @James J. O'Meara

    and they had some really nice looking “heirloom” tomatoes, at $5. I thought, no matter how much better they are than “regular” tomatoes, there’s no way they’re worth $5 each. There’s worth the price, and then there’s ridiculous.

    I would totally buy the $5 tomato if I was having a bbq. Two of them in fact.

    A really good heirloom tomato can make a burger. Most store tomatoes are bred for shelf life and color.

    I can skimp on drinks or chips but the main course needs to be just right.

    It is really easy to make cheap mixed drinks that people like. Can't fake a good tomato though.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @James J. O'Meara

  291. @Luddite in Chief
    @ScarletNumber


    Why do you think advertising works?
     
    It might be more accurate to say that advertising is widely perceived to work. I am afraid that the vast sums spent on advertising bring it into "everyone knows that" territory, because popular wisdom dictates that people do not spend lots of money on things of dubious value.

    I do not know if anyone reading this had ever read Advertising, The Uneasy Persuasion, but it is a painstaking book written by Michael Schudson decades ago (1986). The book examines advertising and how it works, and reveals that it often does not work.

    More awkwardly, when it does work, it may work in such a way that the success cannot be repeated because even those in the industry do not understand exactly how it was achieved.

    I would love to read a more recent book that takes on the same subject matter, but have yet to find one (perhaps someone here has?).

    Anyway, if I had to sum up the advertising game, I would say it is all about the expectation that the expenditure of large sums must produce a positive result and that, the more money one spends, the greater the expected positive result.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Peter D. Bredon

    It might be more accurate to say that advertising is widely perceived to work.

    It depends on what one means by “work”. In their marketing books, Al Ries and Jack Trout suggested that it didn’t change people’s behavior, but reinforced it. So don’t blow a wad on it until you’ve reached the top. Then flood the airwaves so people stay put and don’t forget you exist.

    It works as a reminder of why you chose the product in the first place.

    There is also the “warm fuzzy feeling” aspect. Nobody bought Met Life insurance because Snoopy told him to. The beagle merely softened him up to prime him for the ultimate message.

    • Replies: @Luddite in Chief
    @Reg Cæsar


    It depends on what one means by “work”. In their marketing books, Al Ries and Jack Trout suggested that it didn’t change people’s behavior, but reinforced it.
     
    Yes, that jibes with what I was told many years ago about car ads on billboards adjacent to freeways.

    Apparently, the idea behind the billboards is (or at least was) to make you feel better about that Stanley Steamer you are already driving around. "Hey, the billboards say that shrewd, discerning motorists drive Stanley Steamers, so I must be one!"


    So don’t blow a wad on it until you’ve reached the top. Then flood the airwaves so people stay put and don’t forget you exist.
     
    I can see advertising being useful in some cases for products that people do not actually need. The "cola wars" are an excellent example of this. The benefits of one brand of carbonated sugar water over another remains something I have never spent much time contemplating.

    However, I am sceptical that advertising is always necessary for things people do need. My understanding of e.g. Carmex is that the entire ad budget for the product is whatever it cost Alfred Woelbing (the company founder) to have a personalised licence plate that said "Carmex."

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @James J. O'Meara

  292. @Barnard
    @J.Ross

    What do you mean, they couldn't tell the difference between the quality of musicians?

    Replies: @James J. O'Meara

    There was an episode of The Avengers where Steed was being his usual damnably knowledgeable upper class twit, and having a competition with some other twit where they had to guess the composer, work, orchestra and conductor (something like that).

    Back in the day, when there weren’t that many recordings around, you could probably tell Toscanini from Furtwangler, then later Karajan from Solti, or the fantastic sound of a Mercury recording meant it must be Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony. But the post-cd, post-digital, proliferation of recordings (even in the miniscule classical genre) makes that less likely. The Berlin PO may have had a particular “sound” under Karajan, on DGG, but there seem to be about 18 different guys recording with it today, and I can’t believe anyone can tell them apart. Or maybe the old guys really did have distinctive sounds and the new guys are homogenized.

    Early in the film of The Talented Mr. Ripley the titular psycho, presumably a classical nerd, is trying to learn to identify various jazz artists by listening to their records over and over. I can instantly id Miles Davis or Charlie Parker, but beyond that they all sound alike. And don’t get me started on the kids’ music, it’s all noise!

  293. iSteve vs Bond:

    Bond says “veen” shouldn’t it be more like “vahn”? Is that a slip (Connery had to be taught to be a gent), or is it British “screw the furriners” chutzpah, like the British TV chefs talking about “past-a” and “jallapeeno”. I had a professor from Oxford who was an expert on French Existentialism (wrote the book, back in the 50s when it was the only one in English) who pronounced French as if it were exactly like English.

  294. @vinteuil
    @The Germ Theory of Disease


    ...the best rock n roll song of all time…
     
    Yes, I think it probably is.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    “Long Tall Sally”, “Mustang Sally”, “Ride, Sally, Ride”, “Lay Down Sally”, “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley”, “Little Sally Walker“, “>Sally Was a Good Ole Girl“, “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses“… Is it even the best song about Sallys?

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    @Reg Cæsar

    I repeat: As for matters of good taste, call me, I charge reasonable rates.

  295. @Rodger Dodger
    @Reg Cæsar



    Advertising doesn’t work.
     
    Half of it works. You just never know which half.
     
    Coke and Pepsi together spend $8B annually (!) on advertising and I've never understood why. Does anyone actually drink one or the other based on their marketing? I suspect either one could not spend a penny and the change in their market share wouldn't be noticed

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @John Johnson

    Coke and Pepsi together spend \$8B annually (!) on advertising and I’ve never understood why. Does anyone actually drink one or the other based on their marketing? I suspect either one could not spend a penny and the change in their market share wouldn’t be noticed

    It’s some marketing theory that you have to keep your brand out there to maintain your image as a major company.

    So if you see a Coke logo at a ball park the primary purpose isn’t to encourage you to buy one.

    Shoe companies also subscribe to the theory. Does anyone buy Nike because they put a small logo on Olympic uniforms? Probably not but the theory states that they have to fund brand advertising.

    I took a class where this theory was debated. I sided with the position that they would be better off spending the money on real marketing efforts and not just plastering logos everywhere.

  296. @Moe Gibbs
    As far as consumer snobbery, wine snobbishness is an especially unforgivable sin, in my anything-but-humble opinion. Hearing some self-important blowhard describe an "amusing little wine in which one detects subtle notes of vanilla, caramel and aged offal in a delicately fecal arrangement redolent of sweat socks, mothballs and skunk" can inspire me to violence.

    But my real pet peeve is coffee snobs. Blame Starbucks. Blame Amazon. Blame Food Network. Blame all of Washington state, perhaps. But blame someone, because those insufferable millennial twerps with their civet-shat, panko-crusted, shaken-not-stirred Franken-coffees want badly for some old school arse-whuppin' for their insolence.

    The next smug, scruffy-bearded hipster who orders a "double-skinny caramel frappa-latte with three pumps, no froth" should have his e-cig shoved so far up his hemp bike-shorted arse that he blinks pale blue from his bulging eyeballs. Even if its my own traitorous son.

    Wanna stop civilization in its tracks? Get on the queue at Starbucks and when you finally osmose to the front of the line, demand "a cup of coffee". Then delight in watching a 21 year old barista's wheels fall off.

    This Sunday morning rant was brought to you courtesy of the usual two cups of black espresso. I am Moe Gibbs and I aver that my cheap Big Box beans are most assuredly not sustainably harvested.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob, @Peter D. Bredon

    The comparison with coffee is informative. I recall the days before Starbucks when we drank the most horrible stuff from the cafeteria (which a prof called ‘the Coffee Department”); remember the “coffee machines” where a little cup would pop out, some vile powder will fall in (maybe some powdered “cream” and “sugar” if you wanted), then hot water. Voila!

    And that watery sludge from “percolators” in diners? Those pots sitting on the burners for hours?

    I despise Starbucks as both a company and a style of coffee (burnt tar) but if they were responsible for getting people to demand better coffee, then hat’s off to them.

    Of course, nobody knew any better because everyone was smoking 3 packs of Camels a day.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @Peter D. Bredon

    This is the guy who changed coffee for me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Howell_(entrepreneur)

    Charbucks paid him big money to get control of the Frappuccino, his invention.

    Note the precious name of his coffee brand.

    https://www.georgehowellcoffee.com/terroir-coffee/

    I was the vendor for his original packaging 25 years ago, and we all would have a good giggle at the descriptions for the Terroir coffees, which were even more pretentious than those that the wine geeks spout!

    , @Charlesz Martel
    @Peter D. Bredon

    Hey, "9 out of 10 Men who try Camels, prefer Women!"

    I used to have a T-Shirt with this slogan on it, with the whole picture of a Camel cigarette pack front, and this phrase where their real slogan was supposed to be.

    People always wanted to know where I got it, and when I told them, (Flea Market) they wanted to buy mine!

    I'd pay a lot for another one like it today....

  297. @James J. O'Meara
    @Dumbo

    I call this the Five Dollar Tomato rule. Years ago I was in Dean & Delucca's in Soho -- where those Hamptons Masters of the Universe iSteve hangs out with shop -- and they had some really nice looking "heirloom" tomatoes, at $5. I thought, no matter how much better they are than "regular" tomatoes, there's no way they're worth $5 each. There's worth the price, and then there's ridiculous.

    Tarantino's take:

    https://youtu.be/4qOvaBKugT8

    Replies: @John Johnson

    and they had some really nice looking “heirloom” tomatoes, at \$5. I thought, no matter how much better they are than “regular” tomatoes, there’s no way they’re worth \$5 each. There’s worth the price, and then there’s ridiculous.

    I would totally buy the \$5 tomato if I was having a bbq. Two of them in fact.

    A really good heirloom tomato can make a burger. Most store tomatoes are bred for shelf life and color.

    I can skimp on drinks or chips but the main course needs to be just right.

    It is really easy to make cheap mixed drinks that people like. Can’t fake a good tomato though.

    • Agree: Barbarossa
    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
    @John Johnson


    It is really easy to make cheap mixed drinks that people like.
     
    I'm partial to Dark and Stormies.

    Gosling's Black Bermuda Rum is simply undrinkable otherwise.
    , @James J. O'Meara
    @John Johnson


    A really good heirloom tomato can make a burger. Most store tomatoes are bred for shelf life and color.
     
    I don't disagree with that. That's why I was checking them out. I should have made clear that this was about 20 years ago, so the $5 was more like what, $10 or $15 today. Still worth it?

    Apart from taste, here's a true fact: a couple years ago I began to get immediate heartburn from tomatoes... sort of like that guy upthread who gets immediate heartburn from red wine. I figured it was old age taking its toll. Then I found out, by accident, that heirloom tomatoes -- the big, gnarly, multicolored ones -- did not have that effect. So I assume that in addition to shape and color, there's something in those "normal" tomatoes -- some additive or fertilizer or something produced by the genetic recipe -- that has that effect on me. Actual proof that heirlooms are better, rather than falling for some hippie-dippie green nonsense.

    So heirloom tomatoes, but not at $10-15 a piece.
  298. @Justvisiting
    @Intelligent Dasein

    "Is good tobacco a hoax?"

    I know nothing about wines, but cigars (Cuban and non Cuban) are in my wheel-house.

    Blind taste tests have made a lot of cigar "experts" look like fools, just as described earlier in this thread.

    Cuban cigars are particularly confusing since there can be crazy quality variation even within the same box as well as by year and factory.

    Cuban just tripled and quadrupled the prices on Cohiba and Trinidad. At their best these can be amazing cigars, but in blind taste tests a Juan Lopez (at 20% of the price) has been known to be confused with a (possibly sub par) Cohiba.

    So--good tobacco is not a hoax, but many of the "experts" are useless.

    There is one other factor with tobacco and I suspect it applies to wine as well.

    Different people do have different taste preferences and different levels of ability to taste and appreciate fine tobacco.

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon

    There is one other factor with tobacco and I suspect it applies to wine as well. Different people do have different taste preferences and different levels of ability to taste and appreciate fine tobacco.

    Indeed, and why not go further, and just acknowledge that taste is subjective? Whatever it is that accounts for “I like that” varies from person to person, just as it varies from animal to animal. Saying someone should really like something, and would “if they had any taste” is like arguing over whether a cat’s vision (sharper, but no colors) or a human’s vision is “more real”. (I may have the cat wrong but you know what I mean). Buy the finest, most elite chocolate and force your dog to eat it. See what happens.

    There’s no inherent “telos” of wine other than pleasing someone’s palate. A bridge that falls down is objectively “worse” than one that doesn’t, a surgical procedure that doesn’t work is worse than one that does, but a wine that I fail to like isn’t “worse” than one you like.

    Colin Wilson, in a book whose British title was Brandy of the Damned (the US changed it to Chords and Discords, since no one would get the Shaw reference) dismisses music snobbery. People like to say “I used to like X but I became more sophisticated and now I only like Y” as if that was an advance. Actually, it’s a loss: you no longer get enjoyment/wisdom whatever from X, yet the only purpose of art is to produce that effect: it’s like sealing off one of your windows and thinking that makes the view more “sophisticated.”

  299. @TWS
    What's the word? Thunderbird!

    Replies: @Mr. Anon, @Jim Don Bob

    What’s the word? Thunderbird!

    What’s the price? Thirty twice!

    In 1972, IIRC

  300. @Anonymous
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Walken I recognize, but who is the chanteuse? She's gorgeous.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @Jenner Ickham Errican

    She’s gorgeous.

    The chanteuse is is the always delectable French gal Alizée:

  301. @Anonymous Jew
    Regarding other kinds of ‘snobs’, watches are an interesting case study. In terms of utility, expensive mechanical watches are inferior to cheaper quartz watches by just about every measure. While mechanical watches will last longer and can be serviced, you can get a Casio G-Shock for a fraction of the price it costs to service a higher end watch ($500-1,000 every 7-14 years or so). There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.

    There’s also the ability to quantify the difference between, say, a Rolex and a fake Rolex. A high quality fake serviced by a watchmaker will run 99% as well as the Rolex. You’d have to take the watches apart and look at them under a loupe to see the relatively minor differences in manufacturing quality - much of it not affecting performance, even theoretically. And then you have the small-batch, hand made Swiss watches that go for hundreds of thousands. They’re a blend of obsessive craftsmanship and art (classical art).

    I think the problem with wine (and modern art) is that you can’t objectively quantify any difference in quality between the $20 and $2,000. With a Patek Philippe watch you can at least quantify the difference under magnification and you have an audit trail of the Swiss labor/craftsmanship - stuff made by White people in Western countries is expensive. You may not care to spend more than $80 on a watch, but at least much of what makes a Patek or a Rolex expensive can be distinguished, even if it adds no value to most people. In sum, there’s a real difference between an $80 Casio and an $80,000 Patek, even if that difference seems stupid to most people.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @The Wild Geese Howard, @Twinkie, @Peter D. Bredon

    Casio G-Shock

    Get the classic, old-school G-shocks.

    The new ones are trying to be fitness watches.

    Great, except they force you to download an app and create an account on their website. That process is fraught.

    The solar charging on the new G-Shocks also seems incapable of topping off the battery.

    As for mechanical watches, there are plenty of compelling, good value brands like Longines, Oris, Ball, and Mido.

    If one must own one of the big mechanical names, there are plenty of floor demos, B-stock, and lightly used ones around. No reason to pay retail.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @The Wild Geese Howard


    As for mechanical watches, there are plenty of compelling, good value brands like Longines, Oris, Ball, and Mido.
     
    Don't forget Hamilton (Field Khaki) and mid-end Seiko JDM (Japan domestic market) models. For a modestly priced mechanical watch, it's hard to beat Stowa.
  302. @John Johnson
    @James J. O'Meara

    and they had some really nice looking “heirloom” tomatoes, at $5. I thought, no matter how much better they are than “regular” tomatoes, there’s no way they’re worth $5 each. There’s worth the price, and then there’s ridiculous.

    I would totally buy the $5 tomato if I was having a bbq. Two of them in fact.

    A really good heirloom tomato can make a burger. Most store tomatoes are bred for shelf life and color.

    I can skimp on drinks or chips but the main course needs to be just right.

    It is really easy to make cheap mixed drinks that people like. Can't fake a good tomato though.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @James J. O'Meara

    It is really easy to make cheap mixed drinks that people like.

    I’m partial to Dark and Stormies.

    Gosling’s Black Bermuda Rum is simply undrinkable otherwise.

  303. @Reg Cæsar
    @Luddite in Chief


    It might be more accurate to say that advertising is widely perceived to work.
     
    It depends on what one means by "work". In their marketing books, Al Ries and Jack Trout suggested that it didn't change people's behavior, but reinforced it. So don't blow a wad on it until you've reached the top. Then flood the airwaves so people stay put and don't forget you exist.

    It works as a reminder of why you chose the product in the first place.

    There is also the "warm fuzzy feeling" aspect. Nobody bought Met Life insurance because Snoopy told him to. The beagle merely softened him up to prime him for the ultimate message.

    Replies: @Luddite in Chief

    It depends on what one means by “work”. In their marketing books, Al Ries and Jack Trout suggested that it didn’t change people’s behavior, but reinforced it.

    Yes, that jibes with what I was told many years ago about car ads on billboards adjacent to freeways.

    Apparently, the idea behind the billboards is (or at least was) to make you feel better about that Stanley Steamer you are already driving around. “Hey, the billboards say that shrewd, discerning motorists drive Stanley Steamers, so I must be one!”

    So don’t blow a wad on it until you’ve reached the top. Then flood the airwaves so people stay put and don’t forget you exist.

    I can see advertising being useful in some cases for products that people do not actually need. The “cola wars” are an excellent example of this. The benefits of one brand of carbonated sugar water over another remains something I have never spent much time contemplating.

    However, I am sceptical that advertising is always necessary for things people do need. My understanding of e.g. Carmex is that the entire ad budget for the product is whatever it cost Alfred Woelbing (the company founder) to have a personalised licence plate that said “Carmex.”

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Luddite in Chief


    My understanding of e.g. Carmex is that the entire ad budget for the product is whatever it cost Alfred Woelbing (the company founder) to have a personalised licence plate that said “Carmex.”
     
    My son ate an entire stick of that when he was about two.
    , @James J. O'Meara
    @Luddite in Chief

    In some discussion of Mad Men I can across the notion that ad execs only make one sale: to the president or whoever signs off on the ad budget. Don Draper was not a marketing wizard (in the first episode he mocks some hired Freudian psychologist who thinks you can sell cigarettes by appealing to the "death wish" of consumers) but a con man, whose skill was entirely in making pitches to clients.

  304. @Anonymous
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Walken I recognize, but who is the chanteuse? She's gorgeous.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @Jenner Ickham Errican

  305. @Jack D
    @Twinkie

    Hershey's milk chocolate is bad but they can't change it because people are used to the taste. Hershey's knows how to make good chocolate - they just don't know how to get people to buy it.

    The history is this - Milton Hershey, desiring to enter the chocolate business, went to Switzerland where he tried to learn the secret of making milk chocolate - this is not easy because milk is mostly water and doesn't mix with chocolate which is mostly fat. But the Swiss played their cards close to the vest and he never learned the secret (the secret is powdered milk - invented by Swiss chemist Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé ). When he returned to America, he tried to come up with his own recipe for milk chocolate and he discovered that he could make it using sour milk (once the milk curdles you can strain off the water and leave the milk solids). So Hershey's chocolate tastes like vomit - the taste that Americans expect!

    ANY chocolate would taste better than Hershey's.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @Twinkie, @Reg Cæsar, @James J. O'Meara

    What you wrote has nothing to do with my comment, to which you ostensibly replied.

    I was knocking the fact that Aldi’s opportunistically stocks European chocolates (and other food items) and so often doesn’t have the next day what one could buy the day before.

  306. @Anonymous Jew
    Regarding other kinds of ‘snobs’, watches are an interesting case study. In terms of utility, expensive mechanical watches are inferior to cheaper quartz watches by just about every measure. While mechanical watches will last longer and can be serviced, you can get a Casio G-Shock for a fraction of the price it costs to service a higher end watch ($500-1,000 every 7-14 years or so). There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.

    There’s also the ability to quantify the difference between, say, a Rolex and a fake Rolex. A high quality fake serviced by a watchmaker will run 99% as well as the Rolex. You’d have to take the watches apart and look at them under a loupe to see the relatively minor differences in manufacturing quality - much of it not affecting performance, even theoretically. And then you have the small-batch, hand made Swiss watches that go for hundreds of thousands. They’re a blend of obsessive craftsmanship and art (classical art).

    I think the problem with wine (and modern art) is that you can’t objectively quantify any difference in quality between the $20 and $2,000. With a Patek Philippe watch you can at least quantify the difference under magnification and you have an audit trail of the Swiss labor/craftsmanship - stuff made by White people in Western countries is expensive. You may not care to spend more than $80 on a watch, but at least much of what makes a Patek or a Rolex expensive can be distinguished, even if it adds no value to most people. In sum, there’s a real difference between an $80 Casio and an $80,000 Patek, even if that difference seems stupid to most people.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @The Wild Geese Howard, @Twinkie, @Peter D. Bredon

    In terms of utility, expensive mechanical watches are inferior to cheaper quartz watches by just about every measure. While mechanical watches will last longer and can be serviced, you can get a Casio G-Shock for a fraction of the price it costs to service a higher end watch (\$500-1,000 every 7-14 years or so). There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.

    By and large this is true. When one buys a mechanical watch, one is buying the workmanship rather than utility.

    By the way, there is a sort of a mechanical/quartz hybrid that features exquisite workmanship, but also the accuracy of a quartz – Seiko’s spring drive-powered watches. The Grand Seiko models that feature this mechanism are simply some of the best watches in the world. Smooth hand movement just like a high frequency mechanical, but the superb accuracy of the best of the quartz watches. +/- 1 sec. per day, sometimes even less.

    Also, it shouldn’t cost \$500-1000 to service a high-end mechanical watch. Those are boutique/manufacturer prices. I go to a local watchmaker who trained all the local boutique guys. He charges me \$350 for Rolexes, Cartiers, and Pateks (and one Tag Heuer I own – the Monaco) and \$200 for Seikos and some of the German mechanicals I own (Stowa, Sinn, except the oil-filled one, which has to go back to Sinn in Germany). I am a fan of Sinn 856, for the minimalist simplicity and for the excellent anti-magnetic protection qualities – and it’s relatively reasonably priced for a European mechanical. One of the annoying things about most mechanical watches is how easily they become magnetized, especially these days when I walk through body scanners all the time. An easy fix, I know (I own a degausser), but still annoying.

    • Replies: @Anonymous Jew
    @Twinkie

    I’m a huge fan of Spring Drive but have yet to pick one up. My current all around dressy watch is a Nomos Club with the in-house automatic movement. That’s about as fancy as I go. I’m a fan of Sinn too - I have a 1990s 203 chrono in titanium. BTW: who’s your Rolex guy? I have a 7-year old Tudor North Flag that’s starting to slow down after 7 years of near perfect timekeeping.

    I’m a mechanical watch guy (a WIS), but I can also see the ridiculousness of it all. I somehow doubt the average wine aficionado has the same humility.

    Replies: @Twinkie

  307. @The Wild Geese Howard
    @Anonymous Jew


    Casio G-Shock
     
    Get the classic, old-school G-shocks.

    The new ones are trying to be fitness watches.

    Great, except they force you to download an app and create an account on their website. That process is fraught.

    The solar charging on the new G-Shocks also seems incapable of topping off the battery.

    As for mechanical watches, there are plenty of compelling, good value brands like Longines, Oris, Ball, and Mido.

    If one must own one of the big mechanical names, there are plenty of floor demos, B-stock, and lightly used ones around. No reason to pay retail.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    As for mechanical watches, there are plenty of compelling, good value brands like Longines, Oris, Ball, and Mido.

    Don’t forget Hamilton (Field Khaki) and mid-end Seiko JDM (Japan domestic market) models. For a modestly priced mechanical watch, it’s hard to beat Stowa.

  308. @Luddite in Chief
    @Reg Cæsar


    It depends on what one means by “work”. In their marketing books, Al Ries and Jack Trout suggested that it didn’t change people’s behavior, but reinforced it.
     
    Yes, that jibes with what I was told many years ago about car ads on billboards adjacent to freeways.

    Apparently, the idea behind the billboards is (or at least was) to make you feel better about that Stanley Steamer you are already driving around. "Hey, the billboards say that shrewd, discerning motorists drive Stanley Steamers, so I must be one!"


    So don’t blow a wad on it until you’ve reached the top. Then flood the airwaves so people stay put and don’t forget you exist.
     
    I can see advertising being useful in some cases for products that people do not actually need. The "cola wars" are an excellent example of this. The benefits of one brand of carbonated sugar water over another remains something I have never spent much time contemplating.

    However, I am sceptical that advertising is always necessary for things people do need. My understanding of e.g. Carmex is that the entire ad budget for the product is whatever it cost Alfred Woelbing (the company founder) to have a personalised licence plate that said "Carmex."

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @James J. O'Meara

    My understanding of e.g. Carmex is that the entire ad budget for the product is whatever it cost Alfred Woelbing (the company founder) to have a personalised licence plate that said “Carmex.”

    My son ate an entire stick of that when he was about two.

  309. @Jack D
    @Twinkie

    Hershey's milk chocolate is bad but they can't change it because people are used to the taste. Hershey's knows how to make good chocolate - they just don't know how to get people to buy it.

    The history is this - Milton Hershey, desiring to enter the chocolate business, went to Switzerland where he tried to learn the secret of making milk chocolate - this is not easy because milk is mostly water and doesn't mix with chocolate which is mostly fat. But the Swiss played their cards close to the vest and he never learned the secret (the secret is powdered milk - invented by Swiss chemist Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé ). When he returned to America, he tried to come up with his own recipe for milk chocolate and he discovered that he could make it using sour milk (once the milk curdles you can strain off the water and leave the milk solids). So Hershey's chocolate tastes like vomit - the taste that Americans expect!

    ANY chocolate would taste better than Hershey's.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @Twinkie, @Reg Cæsar, @James J. O'Meara

    So Hershey’s chocolate tastes like vomit – the taste that Americans expect!

    Joel and Lia bring this up (pardon the expression) in the “American” aisle of what looks to be a London Tesco’s:

    Elsewhere on YT, “Glen and Friends” tries out recipes from very old cookbooks. One called for “sour milk”. Glen, who lives in Toronto, knew exactly where to find that– in the supermarket cooler labeled as “cultured buttermilk”. That what that is.

    (Are you there, Bruce County? Is this sold in bags like regular milk? Ontario is weird.)

    I miss real buttermilk. Maybe I should check with the local Amish.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
    @Reg Cæsar

    God I really hate the British.

    London is turning into Thridworldistan and these two dorks can only make videos about America candy.

    OH CRIPES THAT PAKI PUT IT IN ME BUM BUM WITHOUT THE GO AHEAD

    LEAST I'M NOT ONE OF THEM GUN TOTIN AMERICAN BLOKES.

  310. @Twinkie
    @Anonymous Jew


    In terms of utility, expensive mechanical watches are inferior to cheaper quartz watches by just about every measure. While mechanical watches will last longer and can be serviced, you can get a Casio G-Shock for a fraction of the price it costs to service a higher end watch ($500-1,000 every 7-14 years or so). There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.
     
    By and large this is true. When one buys a mechanical watch, one is buying the workmanship rather than utility.

    By the way, there is a sort of a mechanical/quartz hybrid that features exquisite workmanship, but also the accuracy of a quartz - Seiko's spring drive-powered watches. The Grand Seiko models that feature this mechanism are simply some of the best watches in the world. Smooth hand movement just like a high frequency mechanical, but the superb accuracy of the best of the quartz watches. +/- 1 sec. per day, sometimes even less.

    Also, it shouldn't cost $500-1000 to service a high-end mechanical watch. Those are boutique/manufacturer prices. I go to a local watchmaker who trained all the local boutique guys. He charges me $350 for Rolexes, Cartiers, and Pateks (and one Tag Heuer I own - the Monaco) and $200 for Seikos and some of the German mechanicals I own (Stowa, Sinn, except the oil-filled one, which has to go back to Sinn in Germany). I am a fan of Sinn 856, for the minimalist simplicity and for the excellent anti-magnetic protection qualities - and it's relatively reasonably priced for a European mechanical. One of the annoying things about most mechanical watches is how easily they become magnetized, especially these days when I walk through body scanners all the time. An easy fix, I know (I own a degausser), but still annoying.

    Replies: @Anonymous Jew

    I’m a huge fan of Spring Drive but have yet to pick one up. My current all around dressy watch is a Nomos Club with the in-house automatic movement. That’s about as fancy as I go. I’m a fan of Sinn too – I have a 1990s 203 chrono in titanium. BTW: who’s your Rolex guy? I have a 7-year old Tudor North Flag that’s starting to slow down after 7 years of near perfect timekeeping.

    I’m a mechanical watch guy (a WIS), but I can also see the ridiculousness of it all. I somehow doubt the average wine aficionado has the same humility.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Anonymous Jew


    Nomos Club
     
    Nomos are not my cup of tea, but everyone I know who owns one likes them and the designs are clean and unique.

    who’s your Rolex guy?
     
    The wait time for new customers is 12+ weeks right now for him, but if you ask around on and off the web, you'll find decent watchmakers who don't overcharge. The idea is to form a relationship with an artisan.

    Tudor North Flag
     
    I don't own one, but I like Tudor's designs in general. It's what I call "minimalist+." Can't believe how much Tudor prices have crept up. They were supposed to be "poor man's Rolex"! I might get a Tudor Heritage Chrono one of these days.

    I’m a mechanical watch guy (a WIS), but I can also see the ridiculousness of it all.
     
    I am entirely comfortable with the idea that most of my watches are jewelry for men, not some functional kit for high adventure (that said, some of the watches are built like tanks, Sinn's in particular with the "tagimented" steel). But so are some of my guns and knives. And I use them too. No safe queens in my inventory!

    Once I bought a mint vintage revolver (appropriately enough at the parking lot of a certain landmark in my area) and the seller almost canceled the deal when I mentioned in passing that I was going to shoot it the next day after giving it a good cleaning. He was all "Noooooooo! My grandpa and dad kept it mint and so did I. Are you really going to shoot it?"

    I told him that a gun like that was like a beautiful wife - you don't marry one just to look at her. ;) In the end, he did part with it albeit reluctantly. I did offer to let him shoot it with me, but he told me it would make him sad to watch it get used and worn.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke

  311. @Reg Cæsar
    @Jack D


    So Hershey’s chocolate tastes like vomit – the taste that Americans expect!
     
    Joel and Lia bring this up (pardon the expression) in the "American" aisle of what looks to be a London Tesco's:

    https://youtu.be/UUDvgRKJjTs&t=4m54s


    Elsewhere on YT, "Glen and Friends" tries out recipes from very old cookbooks. One called for "sour milk". Glen, who lives in Toronto, knew exactly where to find that-- in the supermarket cooler labeled as "cultured buttermilk". That what that is.

    (Are you there, Bruce County? Is this sold in bags like regular milk? Ontario is weird.)

    I miss real buttermilk. Maybe I should check with the local Amish.

    Replies: @John Johnson

    God I really hate the British.

    London is turning into Thridworldistan and these two dorks can only make videos about America candy.

    OH CRIPES THAT PAKI PUT IT IN ME BUM BUM WITHOUT THE GO AHEAD

    LEAST I’M NOT ONE OF THEM GUN TOTIN AMERICAN BLOKES.

    • LOL: peterike
  312. @Reg Cæsar
    @vinteuil

    "Long Tall Sally", "Mustang Sally", "Ride, Sally, Ride", "Lay Down Sally", "Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley", "Little Sally Walker", ">Sally Was a Good Ole Girl", "Sally Go 'Round the Roses"... Is it even the best song about Sallys?

    Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease

    I repeat: As for matters of good taste, call me, I charge reasonable rates.

  313. Am I the only one surprised that, 300+ comments in, one particular wine remains conspicuously absent?

    Surely a beverage once billed as, “the new drink for lively people” deserves a mention?

    Sadly, while James Mason did lend his imprimatur to Thunderbird, he does not seem to have done the same for Ripple:

  314. @John Henry
    This reminds me of the old saying, "You can tell a fine high class bottle of wine by that it got's a screw cap."

    I believe that was from Redd Foxx.

    Replies: @JimDandy, @Dave from Oz, @Etruscan Film Star

    In my college days many moons ago, one of my amigos had a favorite gag he’d enact at parties. After our gang had consumed whatever passed for decent vino and we had moved on to much lesser stuff, he’d hold up a bottle of wretched plonk (Thunderbird or similar). He’d pour some in his glass, inspect its color, wave it under his nose to appreciate the odor, take a sip, roll it around his tongue, and proclaim:

    “This is a good wine, but it’s not a great wine.”

    • LOL: John Johnson
  315. @Jack D
    @Dube

    This is called a "Veblen good"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good

    The best business in the world is to be the owner of a brand that is a Veblen good. It's like a license to print money.

    Replies: @Jim Don Bob

    The best business in the world is to be the owner of a brand that is a Veblen good. It’s like a license to print money.

    Apple, for instance.

  316. @Barbarossa
    @stillCARealist

    I'm a scotch and whiskey drinker myself and find that this is the case. There a ton of really solid bottles for $35 to $60 a pop. Anything less than that is nasty and anything more is diminishing returns. I'll get an $70 or $80 now and then for a special occasion just for fun, and while they are good they aren't really THAT much better.

    I think it also holds true for wine and beer. The top end is just for stupid people with stupid money to show off. It's like some Saudi prince eating gold plates chicken nuggets...pure wankery.

    Replies: @Brutusale

    • Thanks: Barbarossa
  317. @Peter D. Bredon
    @Moe Gibbs

    The comparison with coffee is informative. I recall the days before Starbucks when we drank the most horrible stuff from the cafeteria (which a prof called 'the Coffee Department"); remember the "coffee machines" where a little cup would pop out, some vile powder will fall in (maybe some powdered "cream" and "sugar" if you wanted), then hot water. Voila!

    And that watery sludge from "percolators" in diners? Those pots sitting on the burners for hours?

    I despise Starbucks as both a company and a style of coffee (burnt tar) but if they were responsible for getting people to demand better coffee, then hat's off to them.

    Of course, nobody knew any better because everyone was smoking 3 packs of Camels a day.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @Charlesz Martel

    This is the guy who changed coffee for me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Howell_(entrepreneur)

    Charbucks paid him big money to get control of the Frappuccino, his invention.

    Note the precious name of his coffee brand.

    https://www.georgehowellcoffee.com/terroir-coffee/

    I was the vendor for his original packaging 25 years ago, and we all would have a good giggle at the descriptions for the Terroir coffees, which were even more pretentious than those that the wine geeks spout!

  318. @John Johnson
    @James J. O'Meara

    and they had some really nice looking “heirloom” tomatoes, at $5. I thought, no matter how much better they are than “regular” tomatoes, there’s no way they’re worth $5 each. There’s worth the price, and then there’s ridiculous.

    I would totally buy the $5 tomato if I was having a bbq. Two of them in fact.

    A really good heirloom tomato can make a burger. Most store tomatoes are bred for shelf life and color.

    I can skimp on drinks or chips but the main course needs to be just right.

    It is really easy to make cheap mixed drinks that people like. Can't fake a good tomato though.

    Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard, @James J. O'Meara

    A really good heirloom tomato can make a burger. Most store tomatoes are bred for shelf life and color.

    I don’t disagree with that. That’s why I was checking them out. I should have made clear that this was about 20 years ago, so the \$5 was more like what, \$10 or \$15 today. Still worth it?

    Apart from taste, here’s a true fact: a couple years ago I began to get immediate heartburn from tomatoes… sort of like that guy upthread who gets immediate heartburn from red wine. I figured it was old age taking its toll. Then I found out, by accident, that heirloom tomatoes — the big, gnarly, multicolored ones — did not have that effect. So I assume that in addition to shape and color, there’s something in those “normal” tomatoes — some additive or fertilizer or something produced by the genetic recipe — that has that effect on me. Actual proof that heirlooms are better, rather than falling for some hippie-dippie green nonsense.

    So heirloom tomatoes, but not at \$10-15 a piece.

  319. @Luddite in Chief
    @Reg Cæsar


    It depends on what one means by “work”. In their marketing books, Al Ries and Jack Trout suggested that it didn’t change people’s behavior, but reinforced it.
     
    Yes, that jibes with what I was told many years ago about car ads on billboards adjacent to freeways.

    Apparently, the idea behind the billboards is (or at least was) to make you feel better about that Stanley Steamer you are already driving around. "Hey, the billboards say that shrewd, discerning motorists drive Stanley Steamers, so I must be one!"


    So don’t blow a wad on it until you’ve reached the top. Then flood the airwaves so people stay put and don’t forget you exist.
     
    I can see advertising being useful in some cases for products that people do not actually need. The "cola wars" are an excellent example of this. The benefits of one brand of carbonated sugar water over another remains something I have never spent much time contemplating.

    However, I am sceptical that advertising is always necessary for things people do need. My understanding of e.g. Carmex is that the entire ad budget for the product is whatever it cost Alfred Woelbing (the company founder) to have a personalised licence plate that said "Carmex."

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @James J. O'Meara

    In some discussion of Mad Men I can across the notion that ad execs only make one sale: to the president or whoever signs off on the ad budget. Don Draper was not a marketing wizard (in the first episode he mocks some hired Freudian psychologist who thinks you can sell cigarettes by appealing to the “death wish” of consumers) but a con man, whose skill was entirely in making pitches to clients.

  320. @Jack D
    @Twinkie

    Hershey's milk chocolate is bad but they can't change it because people are used to the taste. Hershey's knows how to make good chocolate - they just don't know how to get people to buy it.

    The history is this - Milton Hershey, desiring to enter the chocolate business, went to Switzerland where he tried to learn the secret of making milk chocolate - this is not easy because milk is mostly water and doesn't mix with chocolate which is mostly fat. But the Swiss played their cards close to the vest and he never learned the secret (the secret is powdered milk - invented by Swiss chemist Swiss chemist Henri Nestlé ). When he returned to America, he tried to come up with his own recipe for milk chocolate and he discovered that he could make it using sour milk (once the milk curdles you can strain off the water and leave the milk solids). So Hershey's chocolate tastes like vomit - the taste that Americans expect!

    ANY chocolate would taste better than Hershey's.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @Twinkie, @Reg Cæsar, @James J. O'Meara

    This reminds me of something I heard years ago — maybe a myth. When people started going to Tibet to climb the mountains, some locals decided to make some cash by opening a restaurant that catered to foreign tastes. Problem was, they had no experience with Western food (remember, Tibet was closed off from the world before), nor any appropriate ingredients. BUT they did have pictures of Western food, so they crafted stuff that looked like the pictures, from entirely different ingredients, that tasted very different. Kind of home made Surrealism.

    Japanese restaurants have the same idea, with their model items on display, except they don’t actually sell it to you (unless you ask really nicely, I guess).

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @James J. O'Meara


    When people started going to Tibet to climb the mountains
     
    When my FIL and BIL went to Nepal to climb the mountains there, the Sherpas cooked for them - they gave my in-laws cartilage, bones, and fat and kept the meat for themselves, ostensibly because the former were more prized locally.

    I was and remain skeptical.


    Japanese restaurants have the same idea
     
    Japanese Kare-Raisu (curry rice) is nothing like the Indian or Southeast Asian originals and was a "sad" imitation of the latter initially, but now it is a thing of its own and delicious in its way too!
  321. @Luddite in Chief
    @ScarletNumber


    Why do you think advertising works?
     
    It might be more accurate to say that advertising is widely perceived to work. I am afraid that the vast sums spent on advertising bring it into "everyone knows that" territory, because popular wisdom dictates that people do not spend lots of money on things of dubious value.

    I do not know if anyone reading this had ever read Advertising, The Uneasy Persuasion, but it is a painstaking book written by Michael Schudson decades ago (1986). The book examines advertising and how it works, and reveals that it often does not work.

    More awkwardly, when it does work, it may work in such a way that the success cannot be repeated because even those in the industry do not understand exactly how it was achieved.

    I would love to read a more recent book that takes on the same subject matter, but have yet to find one (perhaps someone here has?).

    Anyway, if I had to sum up the advertising game, I would say it is all about the expectation that the expenditure of large sums must produce a positive result and that, the more money one spends, the greater the expected positive result.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Peter D. Bredon

    Anyway, if I had to sum up the advertising game, I would say it is all about the expectation that the expenditure of large sums must produce a positive result and that, the more money one spends, the greater the expected positive result.

    And the corollary, if we spend lots of money on something, we must be smart and successful. Rare is the CEO who boasts about how little they spend on advertising.

  322. @Anonymous Jew
    Regarding other kinds of ‘snobs’, watches are an interesting case study. In terms of utility, expensive mechanical watches are inferior to cheaper quartz watches by just about every measure. While mechanical watches will last longer and can be serviced, you can get a Casio G-Shock for a fraction of the price it costs to service a higher end watch ($500-1,000 every 7-14 years or so). There’s simply no utilitarian reason to own a mechanical watch.

    There’s also the ability to quantify the difference between, say, a Rolex and a fake Rolex. A high quality fake serviced by a watchmaker will run 99% as well as the Rolex. You’d have to take the watches apart and look at them under a loupe to see the relatively minor differences in manufacturing quality - much of it not affecting performance, even theoretically. And then you have the small-batch, hand made Swiss watches that go for hundreds of thousands. They’re a blend of obsessive craftsmanship and art (classical art).

    I think the problem with wine (and modern art) is that you can’t objectively quantify any difference in quality between the $20 and $2,000. With a Patek Philippe watch you can at least quantify the difference under magnification and you have an audit trail of the Swiss labor/craftsmanship - stuff made by White people in Western countries is expensive. You may not care to spend more than $80 on a watch, but at least much of what makes a Patek or a Rolex expensive can be distinguished, even if it adds no value to most people. In sum, there’s a real difference between an $80 Casio and an $80,000 Patek, even if that difference seems stupid to most people.

    Replies: @Barbarossa, @The Wild Geese Howard, @Twinkie, @Peter D. Bredon

    I think the problem with wine (and modern art) is that you can’t objectively quantify any difference in quality between the \$20 and \$2,000.

    That’s exactly the problem, or challenge, if you will. The differences, if any, aren’t captured by any objective, quantifiable means, so their very existence is questionable (I mean literally, able to be questioned, I’m not necessarily saying they aren’t there, just that we can’t prove it).

    In the early days of digital, audiophiles — who used to live and die by oscilloscopes and other “scientific” tools,–suddenly “discovered” that the “real” differences btw vinyl and digital were intangible but all important. They even insisted that medically proven “perfect” hearing (whatever the audio version of 20/20 is) was nice but irrelevant, as some people could hear those “special” properties, like those who “really can” taste the differences among high end wines, or have “artistic taste.” Nice racket.

  323. @Luddite in Chief
    @Matthew Kelly


    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fallible-mind/201708/why-advertising-falls-flat-in-individuals-autism
     
    I wonder if the author of this article might be mistaking autism for cheapskatism?

    From the article:


    Instead, the autistic shopper focuses on what really matters: ingredients, price, and the necessity of even owning the product.
     
    I was not aware there were any other considerations. Is this a bad sign?

    And at the risk of putting myself further in the "autistic" camp, I would have put the third of the above considerations first. "Why do I even need this in the first place?" is the very first question I ask myself before any purchase and I am surprised at how often the answer turns out to be, "I don't need it, but someone else is attempting to convince me I do."

    In any case, thank you for posting the link to that article. Quite intriguing.

    Replies: @Peter D. Bredon

    “I don’t need it, but someone else is attempting to convince me I do.”

    In the “Magazine” episode of AbFab, a fashion rag editor is reading off the unpronounceable sciencey ingredients on some makeup label and exclaims, “I don’t know what this means but it’s making me buy it!”

  324. @Anonymous Jew
    @Twinkie

    I’m a huge fan of Spring Drive but have yet to pick one up. My current all around dressy watch is a Nomos Club with the in-house automatic movement. That’s about as fancy as I go. I’m a fan of Sinn too - I have a 1990s 203 chrono in titanium. BTW: who’s your Rolex guy? I have a 7-year old Tudor North Flag that’s starting to slow down after 7 years of near perfect timekeeping.

    I’m a mechanical watch guy (a WIS), but I can also see the ridiculousness of it all. I somehow doubt the average wine aficionado has the same humility.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    Nomos Club

    Nomos are not my cup of tea, but everyone I know who owns one likes them and the designs are clean and unique.

    who’s your Rolex guy?

    The wait time for new customers is 12+ weeks right now for him, but if you ask around on and off the web, you’ll find decent watchmakers who don’t overcharge. The idea is to form a relationship with an artisan.

    Tudor North Flag

    I don’t own one, but I like Tudor’s designs in general. It’s what I call “minimalist+.” Can’t believe how much Tudor prices have crept up. They were supposed to be “poor man’s Rolex”! I might get a Tudor Heritage Chrono one of these days.

    I’m a mechanical watch guy (a WIS), but I can also see the ridiculousness of it all.

    I am entirely comfortable with the idea that most of my watches are jewelry for men, not some functional kit for high adventure (that said, some of the watches are built like tanks, Sinn’s in particular with the “tagimented” steel). But so are some of my guns and knives. And I use them too. No safe queens in my inventory!

    Once I bought a mint vintage revolver (appropriately enough at the parking lot of a certain landmark in my area) and the seller almost canceled the deal when I mentioned in passing that I was going to shoot it the next day after giving it a good cleaning. He was all “Noooooooo! My grandpa and dad kept it mint and so did I. Are you really going to shoot it?”

    I told him that a gun like that was like a beautiful wife – you don’t marry one just to look at her. 😉 In the end, he did part with it albeit reluctantly. I did offer to let him shoot it with me, but he told me it would make him sad to watch it get used and worn.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
    @Twinkie


    I told him that a gun like that was like a beautiful wife – you don’t marry one just to look at her. 😉 In the end, he did part with it albeit reluctantly. I did offer to let him shoot it with me, but he told me it would make him sad to watch it get used and worn.
     
    I understand buying a work of art without any other function just to look at it. But a gun is a tool. The function, not the shape, is what makes it a gun. To have a gun and not shoot it - that boggles the mind.

    Replies: @Twinkie

  325. @James J. O'Meara
    @Jack D

    This reminds me of something I heard years ago -- maybe a myth. When people started going to Tibet to climb the mountains, some locals decided to make some cash by opening a restaurant that catered to foreign tastes. Problem was, they had no experience with Western food (remember, Tibet was closed off from the world before), nor any appropriate ingredients. BUT they did have pictures of Western food, so they crafted stuff that looked like the pictures, from entirely different ingredients, that tasted very different. Kind of home made Surrealism.

    Japanese restaurants have the same idea, with their model items on display, except they don't actually sell it to you (unless you ask really nicely, I guess).

    Replies: @Twinkie

    When people started going to Tibet to climb the mountains

    When my FIL and BIL went to Nepal to climb the mountains there, the Sherpas cooked for them – they gave my in-laws cartilage, bones, and fat and kept the meat for themselves, ostensibly because the former were more prized locally.

    I was and remain skeptical.

    Japanese restaurants have the same idea

    Japanese Kare-Raisu (curry rice) is nothing like the Indian or Southeast Asian originals and was a “sad” imitation of the latter initially, but now it is a thing of its own and delicious in its way too!

  326. @Twinkie
    @Anonymous Jew


    Nomos Club
     
    Nomos are not my cup of tea, but everyone I know who owns one likes them and the designs are clean and unique.

    who’s your Rolex guy?
     
    The wait time for new customers is 12+ weeks right now for him, but if you ask around on and off the web, you'll find decent watchmakers who don't overcharge. The idea is to form a relationship with an artisan.

    Tudor North Flag
     
    I don't own one, but I like Tudor's designs in general. It's what I call "minimalist+." Can't believe how much Tudor prices have crept up. They were supposed to be "poor man's Rolex"! I might get a Tudor Heritage Chrono one of these days.

    I’m a mechanical watch guy (a WIS), but I can also see the ridiculousness of it all.
     
    I am entirely comfortable with the idea that most of my watches are jewelry for men, not some functional kit for high adventure (that said, some of the watches are built like tanks, Sinn's in particular with the "tagimented" steel). But so are some of my guns and knives. And I use them too. No safe queens in my inventory!

    Once I bought a mint vintage revolver (appropriately enough at the parking lot of a certain landmark in my area) and the seller almost canceled the deal when I mentioned in passing that I was going to shoot it the next day after giving it a good cleaning. He was all "Noooooooo! My grandpa and dad kept it mint and so did I. Are you really going to shoot it?"

    I told him that a gun like that was like a beautiful wife - you don't marry one just to look at her. ;) In the end, he did part with it albeit reluctantly. I did offer to let him shoot it with me, but he told me it would make him sad to watch it get used and worn.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke

    I told him that a gun like that was like a beautiful wife – you don’t marry one just to look at her. 😉 In the end, he did part with it albeit reluctantly. I did offer to let him shoot it with me, but he told me it would make him sad to watch it get used and worn.

    I understand buying a work of art without any other function just to look at it. But a gun is a tool. The function, not the shape, is what makes it a gun. To have a gun and not shoot it – that boggles the mind.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Johann Ricke

    That’s how I feel. But I also understand why that seller felt the way he did. That revolver is close to 100 years old and it was in mint condition - perfect bluing and everything. Did I destroy some of the collector’s value? Yes, I did. I’ve done that to many guns over the years.

    I have a custom-made hunting knife that a knife maker in South Africa made for me. It’s truly a work of art. I sent it back to him to be repaired, because I used the heck out of it for several years. He was pretty surprised - he told me he rarely gets one back and suspects most of his works sit in safes or display cases.

    It’s all just stuff. You can’t take it with you to the afterlife. Best to experience the joy of using them and then pass down to the next generation to enjoy using as well. I don’t want to just accumulate stuff to look at and never enjoy actually using.

  327. Here’s a note from a friendly family-owned winery in Maryland.

    … thanks for forwarding. Lots of interesting comments. We have had many discussions about pricing over the years. While recognizing that placing a higher price implies a more “valuable” product, and enhances the image of the winery, there is also the element of making the wine accessible to more people. That said, one rule of thumb is that the price of a ton of grapes should dictate the price of a bottle. Thus, \$2500 a ton should lead to \$25 a bottle. (Have to adjust for wholesale of course.) So the increase above this level is mostly marketing. (And of course it may be necessary to keep the business afloat.)

  328. @The Wild Geese Howard
    @David Jones


    Spanish is the best reasonably priced red. They don’t dump in the sulphites like the Chileans, and the wines aren’t as thin as the French.
     
    Thank you for the insights.

    Any thoughts on the Argentinians and what they are up to these days?

    I ask because I feel the best bottle of wine I've ever had is a $50 Argentinian Malbec in Mendoza for my birthday in 2017.

    Replies: @Colin Wright, @Brutusale, @Just Some JB

    Years ago (2007) on vacation in Tuscany with my family, I stopped in regularly at the local Co-Op grocery store in Montespertoli for groceries and, of course, wine. After a few days of enjoying many excellent bottles, and choosing them at lower and lower prices, I set my final price point at 2 euro or less per bottle.

    Even at 2 euro, I was never disappointed in the quality of what I found on the shelves. Excellent wine at incredibly low prices.

  329. @James Speaks
    Black Box Pinot Noir is exquisite.

    Replies: @Sollipsist

    I’ve had dozens of Pinot Noirs and none were consistently significantly better. Any differences that I noted at the time could simply be written off as better or worse pairings — which is my main concern, as I’m not all that into wine on its own.

    Barefoot and Apothic Pinot Noirs aren’t bad either. And Black Box also makes a killer Shiraz, which is my #2 after Pinot Noir.

    • Thanks: James Speaks
  330. @SIMP simp
    @Paul Mendez

    There still is an audiophile market and they are still peddling snake oil. And convenience is important but the CD was better than any analog player and current solid state players are basically the peak of playback technology. The problem of the audiophile snobs is that with contemporary equipment you can have incredible audio quality at reasonable prices leaving little opportunity to show off, so they go for the crazy stuff: gold connectors, shielded cables, power conditioners etc.
    Or they go retro for analog turntables, cassettes or reel-to-reel players because there is much more fiddling around with analog equipment. That's partly why there has been such a resurgence to vinyl sales.

    from wikipedia:


    In 2021, for the first time in the last 30 years, vinyl record sales exceeded CD sales; one of every 3 albums sold in the US was a vinyl LP. As per the MRC Data mid-year report for 2021, sales of vinyl records in the US surpassed that of the CDs; 19.2 million vinyl albums were sold in the first six months of 2021, outpacing the 18.9 million CDs sold.

     

    Replies: @epebble, @Sollipsist

    The average CD (after the late 80s/early 90s when they finally stopped mastering for vinyl) easily beats the average vinyl LP on the same system. And either one easily beats the mp3 or any of the streaming formats that people mainly listen to on their phones or Bluetooth speakers.

    Screw the hipsters and status-seeking audiophiles. But, having said that, listening to a vinyl test pressing on a good turntable is an ear-opening experience. It’s not all about accurate reproduction, the impact of the sound makes a difference. Given the choice, all else equal I’d go for a vinyl test pressing over an SACD.

    Maybe it’s a generational thing; growing up with the “sound” of vinyl, to me, the vast majority of even quality digital recordings tend to sound bass-heavy, weak in the midrange where a lot of the action is, a little brittle in the upper mids and artificially sparkly in the high end. Then again, I’d rather watch a high-quality film than a high-quality digital video…

    • Replies: @SIMP simp
    @Sollipsist

    There is nothing inherent in the CD that makes it sound in a particular way. It's either a mastering choice or the fault of the audio system. People used to have nice HiFi systems, but now far fewer use quality DACs, amps and speakers.
    I personally can't stand the constant hissing sound of all analog sources and that's not something you can get around (except by digitizing and filtering the sound but then why use an analog player in the first place)
    A big reason why vinyl is having a comeback is how boring CD cases are in the US, usually just a jewel case. Kpop has achieved huge sales of physical albums that often surpass 1 million units by making the albums collectible - an interesting box which contains, besides the CD, a photo album, randomized polaroids, stickers etc.

    Replies: @Etruscan Film Star

    , @Etruscan Film Star
    @Sollipsist


    The average CD (after the late 80s/early 90s when they finally stopped mastering for vinyl) easily beats the average vinyl LP on the same system.

     

    I used to be awed by the pronouncements of soi-disant audiophiles in the pages of their magazines like Stereophile and Absolute Sound. That was until one and all among the golden-eared priesthood adopted vinyl as the holy of holies for sound reproduction. It pained them to think of CDs capable of providing excellent quality at reasonable cost for the deplorable masses.

    Vinyl is cool and elite. Besides, using it as the playback medium shows off that one can afford $50 audiophile-pressing records, $3,000 turntables and more thousands for a cartridge.

    Veblen would get it.

    Replies: @Charlesz Martel, @Anonymous

  331. @Sollipsist
    @SIMP simp

    The average CD (after the late 80s/early 90s when they finally stopped mastering for vinyl) easily beats the average vinyl LP on the same system. And either one easily beats the mp3 or any of the streaming formats that people mainly listen to on their phones or Bluetooth speakers.

    Screw the hipsters and status-seeking audiophiles. But, having said that, listening to a vinyl test pressing on a good turntable is an ear-opening experience. It's not all about accurate reproduction, the impact of the sound makes a difference. Given the choice, all else equal I'd go for a vinyl test pressing over an SACD.

    Maybe it's a generational thing; growing up with the "sound" of vinyl, to me, the vast majority of even quality digital recordings tend to sound bass-heavy, weak in the midrange where a lot of the action is, a little brittle in the upper mids and artificially sparkly in the high end. Then again, I'd rather watch a high-quality film than a high-quality digital video...

    Replies: @SIMP simp, @Etruscan Film Star

    There is nothing inherent in the CD that makes it sound in a particular way. It’s either a mastering choice or the fault of the audio system. People used to have nice HiFi systems, but now far fewer use quality DACs, amps and speakers.
    I personally can’t stand the constant hissing sound of all analog sources and that’s not something you can get around (except by digitizing and filtering the sound but then why use an analog player in the first place)
    A big reason why vinyl is having a comeback is how boring CD cases are in the US, usually just a jewel case. Kpop has achieved huge sales of physical albums that often surpass 1 million units by making the albums collectible – an interesting box which contains, besides the CD, a photo album, randomized polaroids, stickers etc.

    • Replies: @Etruscan Film Star
    @SIMP simp


    There is nothing inherent in the CD that makes it sound in a particular way. It’s either a mastering choice or the fault of the audio system. People used to have nice HiFi systems, but now far fewer use quality DACs, amps and speakers.

     

    Right. Of course there are CDs whose sound falls short. That can be the fault of the recording engineer (often involving microphone placement) or the choices in mixing for the master tape. Or, as you say, the home reproduction equipment and even the listening environment. It's not down to the CD medium.
  332. @JimDandy
    @Rocker

    Yeah, Pinot Noir and Cab are my shorthand for what I like (Cabs) and don't like (Pinot Noirs).

    Replies: @Trevor

    I like both Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Maybe that is just a difference in personal taste.

    But at any given price level, it is harder to find a good Pinot Noir than a Cab.

    Try Meiomi Pinot Noir. It varies between \$20 to \$30 where I am but may be different in other states due to state alcohol taxes. In fact, it runs \$5 or \$10 more in an adjacent state.

    But yes, it is notably distinctively different from Cabernet.

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    @Trevor

    I prefer the Cabernet of Doctor Caligari.

    , @JimDandy
    @Trevor

    Thanks, I will check it out. I don't know, Pinots tend to taste kind of thin and tart to my palate, compared to the richer Cabs. I prefer my reds closer to the latter. A sommelier would probably say I have an unsophisticated palate.

  333. @Trevor
    @JimDandy

    I like both Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Maybe that is just a difference in personal taste.

    But at any given price level, it is harder to find a good Pinot Noir than a Cab.

    Try Meiomi Pinot Noir. It varies between $20 to $30 where I am but may be different in other states due to state alcohol taxes. In fact, it runs $5 or $10 more in an adjacent state.

    But yes, it is notably distinctively different from Cabernet.

    Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease, @JimDandy

    I prefer the Cabernet of Doctor Caligari.

  334. @mc23
    There's a murder mystery , an old Columbo movie, where Columbo catches a murderer by having him drink from a spoiled bottle of wine from an overheated wine cellar confirming the detective's suspicions and leading to denouncement where the killer says he’s one of the few people in the world who could have detected the difference.

    Sometimes I shop at a boutique wine shop, that imports from small vineyards in Europe. I’ll ask for recommendations from the staff. They include tasting notes. I never go above $40 a bottle. The wines can be quite good but the subtleties of the tasting notes are out of my league even at that level.

    One of their points of pride is that the wine is kept at 55 degrees from the vineyard to the store to preserve the taste. The movie ‘Any Old Port in a Storm' is a hit with the shopkeepers.

    https://youtu.be/QyixdU-qidI?t=92

    Replies: @Etruscan Film Star

    One of their points of pride is that the wine is kept at 55 degrees from the vineyard to the store to preserve the taste. The movie ‘Any Old Port in a Storm’ is a hit with the shopkeepers.

    So you ducked into the store one day to get out of the rain and wind, and they recommended a bottle of aged Port?

  335. Anonymous[997] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rodger Dodger
    @Anonymous


    Make sure you’re not buying cooking wines. These are intended to go in stews etc. They are only a little above vinegar.
     
    The rule I've always heard (and believe in whole-heartedly) is, don't cook with anything you wouldn't drink.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Boiling good wine is like boiling good beef: a tragic waste.

  336. I think that the honorable James Mason, summed it up quite well about his favorite wine, Thunderbird:

  337. @Trevor
    @JimDandy

    I like both Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Maybe that is just a difference in personal taste.

    But at any given price level, it is harder to find a good Pinot Noir than a Cab.

    Try Meiomi Pinot Noir. It varies between $20 to $30 where I am but may be different in other states due to state alcohol taxes. In fact, it runs $5 or $10 more in an adjacent state.

    But yes, it is notably distinctively different from Cabernet.

    Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease, @JimDandy

    Thanks, I will check it out. I don’t know, Pinots tend to taste kind of thin and tart to my palate, compared to the richer Cabs. I prefer my reds closer to the latter. A sommelier would probably say I have an unsophisticated palate.

  338. @Sollipsist
    @SIMP simp

    The average CD (after the late 80s/early 90s when they finally stopped mastering for vinyl) easily beats the average vinyl LP on the same system. And either one easily beats the mp3 or any of the streaming formats that people mainly listen to on their phones or Bluetooth speakers.

    Screw the hipsters and status-seeking audiophiles. But, having said that, listening to a vinyl test pressing on a good turntable is an ear-opening experience. It's not all about accurate reproduction, the impact of the sound makes a difference. Given the choice, all else equal I'd go for a vinyl test pressing over an SACD.

    Maybe it's a generational thing; growing up with the "sound" of vinyl, to me, the vast majority of even quality digital recordings tend to sound bass-heavy, weak in the midrange where a lot of the action is, a little brittle in the upper mids and artificially sparkly in the high end. Then again, I'd rather watch a high-quality film than a high-quality digital video...

    Replies: @SIMP simp, @Etruscan Film Star

    The average CD (after the late 80s/early 90s when they finally stopped mastering for vinyl) easily beats the average vinyl LP on the same system.

    I used to be awed by the pronouncements of soi-disant audiophiles in the pages of their magazines like Stereophile and Absolute Sound. That was until one and all among the golden-eared priesthood adopted vinyl as the holy of holies for sound reproduction. It pained them to think of CDs capable of providing excellent quality at reasonable cost for the deplorable masses.

    Vinyl is cool and elite. Besides, using it as the playback medium shows off that one can afford \$50 audiophile-pressing records, \$3,000 turntables and more thousands for a cartridge.

    Veblen would get it.

    • Replies: @Charlesz Martel
    @Etruscan Film Star

    Go listen to John Klemmer's "Touch" or Cat Stevens' "Tea for the Tillerman" on a vinyl Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs pressing, on a really good turntable/cartridge, with a good amp and speakers.

    You'll understand before the end of the first track why people spend so much on analog sound....

    Even the same company's MFSL Cassettes, played on a Concord car stereo system from the 80's with proper equipment and professional installation will amaze you.

    Of course, this was all before Rap "Music" existed, which redefined music as volume, bass, and filthy crap.

    , @Anonymous
    @Etruscan Film Star

    The problem with modern music isn't the hardware but the media. CDs (and now also music delivered via DLC/streaming) are mastered to sound good when played back over car radios, i.e. in a noisy, distracting environment. This means they are LOUD. The louder the better. This is because car radios are how most people are introduced to new music - and are therefore the main generators of music sales. But of course, these LOUD recordings sound terrible when played back over anything that isn't a car travelling at speed.

    This wasn't possible with vinyl becuase of the technicial limitations of the medium - you simply can't make music louder than a certain level. Hence why many audiophiles prize vinyl recordings over CDs (especially so-called 'remastered' CDs, where 'remastered' usually just means 'made LOUDER'.)

    Ideally there would be two editions of every record, a LOUD one for radio stations and another, with normal volume, for everybody else, but that's never going to happen.

  339. @SIMP simp
    @Sollipsist

    There is nothing inherent in the CD that makes it sound in a particular way. It's either a mastering choice or the fault of the audio system. People used to have nice HiFi systems, but now far fewer use quality DACs, amps and speakers.
    I personally can't stand the constant hissing sound of all analog sources and that's not something you can get around (except by digitizing and filtering the sound but then why use an analog player in the first place)
    A big reason why vinyl is having a comeback is how boring CD cases are in the US, usually just a jewel case. Kpop has achieved huge sales of physical albums that often surpass 1 million units by making the albums collectible - an interesting box which contains, besides the CD, a photo album, randomized polaroids, stickers etc.

    Replies: @Etruscan Film Star

    There is nothing inherent in the CD that makes it sound in a particular way. It’s either a mastering choice or the fault of the audio system. People used to have nice HiFi systems, but now far fewer use quality DACs, amps and speakers.

    Right. Of course there are CDs whose sound falls short. That can be the fault of the recording engineer (often involving microphone placement) or the choices in mixing for the master tape. Or, as you say, the home reproduction equipment and even the listening environment. It’s not down to the CD medium.

  340. @Johann Ricke
    @Twinkie


    I told him that a gun like that was like a beautiful wife – you don’t marry one just to look at her. 😉 In the end, he did part with it albeit reluctantly. I did offer to let him shoot it with me, but he told me it would make him sad to watch it get used and worn.
     
    I understand buying a work of art without any other function just to look at it. But a gun is a tool. The function, not the shape, is what makes it a gun. To have a gun and not shoot it - that boggles the mind.

    Replies: @Twinkie

    That’s how I feel. But I also understand why that seller felt the way he did. That revolver is close to 100 years old and it was in mint condition – perfect bluing and everything. Did I destroy some of the collector’s value? Yes, I did. I’ve done that to many guns over the years.

    I have a custom-made hunting knife that a knife maker in South Africa made for me. It’s truly a work of art. I sent it back to him to be repaired, because I used the heck out of it for several years. He was pretty surprised – he told me he rarely gets one back and suspects most of his works sit in safes or display cases.

    It’s all just stuff. You can’t take it with you to the afterlife. Best to experience the joy of using them and then pass down to the next generation to enjoy using as well. I don’t want to just accumulate stuff to look at and never enjoy actually using.

  341. @Peter D. Bredon
    @Moe Gibbs

    The comparison with coffee is informative. I recall the days before Starbucks when we drank the most horrible stuff from the cafeteria (which a prof called 'the Coffee Department"); remember the "coffee machines" where a little cup would pop out, some vile powder will fall in (maybe some powdered "cream" and "sugar" if you wanted), then hot water. Voila!

    And that watery sludge from "percolators" in diners? Those pots sitting on the burners for hours?

    I despise Starbucks as both a company and a style of coffee (burnt tar) but if they were responsible for getting people to demand better coffee, then hat's off to them.

    Of course, nobody knew any better because everyone was smoking 3 packs of Camels a day.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @Charlesz Martel

    Hey, “9 out of 10 Men who try Camels, prefer Women!”

    I used to have a T-Shirt with this slogan on it, with the whole picture of a Camel cigarette pack front, and this phrase where their real slogan was supposed to be.

    People always wanted to know where I got it, and when I told them, (Flea Market) they wanted to buy mine!

    I’d pay a lot for another one like it today….

  342. @Etruscan Film Star
    @Sollipsist


    The average CD (after the late 80s/early 90s when they finally stopped mastering for vinyl) easily beats the average vinyl LP on the same system.

     

    I used to be awed by the pronouncements of soi-disant audiophiles in the pages of their magazines like Stereophile and Absolute Sound. That was until one and all among the golden-eared priesthood adopted vinyl as the holy of holies for sound reproduction. It pained them to think of CDs capable of providing excellent quality at reasonable cost for the deplorable masses.

    Vinyl is cool and elite. Besides, using it as the playback medium shows off that one can afford $50 audiophile-pressing records, $3,000 turntables and more thousands for a cartridge.

    Veblen would get it.

    Replies: @Charlesz Martel, @Anonymous

    Go listen to John Klemmer’s “Touch” or Cat Stevens’ “Tea for the Tillerman” on a vinyl Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs pressing, on a really good turntable/cartridge, with a good amp and speakers.

    You’ll understand before the end of the first track why people spend so much on analog sound….

    Even the same company’s MFSL Cassettes, played on a Concord car stereo system from the 80’s with proper equipment and professional installation will amaze you.

    Of course, this was all before Rap “Music” existed, which redefined music as volume, bass, and filthy crap.

  343. Anonymous[260] • Disclaimer says:
    @Etruscan Film Star
    @Sollipsist


    The average CD (after the late 80s/early 90s when they finally stopped mastering for vinyl) easily beats the average vinyl LP on the same system.

     

    I used to be awed by the pronouncements of soi-disant audiophiles in the pages of their magazines like Stereophile and Absolute Sound. That was until one and all among the golden-eared priesthood adopted vinyl as the holy of holies for sound reproduction. It pained them to think of CDs capable of providing excellent quality at reasonable cost for the deplorable masses.

    Vinyl is cool and elite. Besides, using it as the playback medium shows off that one can afford $50 audiophile-pressing records, $3,000 turntables and more thousands for a cartridge.

    Veblen would get it.

    Replies: @Charlesz Martel, @Anonymous

    The problem with modern music isn’t the hardware but the media. CDs (and now also music delivered via DLC/streaming) are mastered to sound good when played back over car radios, i.e. in a noisy, distracting environment. This means they are LOUD. The louder the better. This is because car radios are how most people are introduced to new music – and are therefore the main generators of music sales. But of course, these LOUD recordings sound terrible when played back over anything that isn’t a car travelling at speed.

    This wasn’t possible with vinyl becuase of the technicial limitations of the medium – you simply can’t make music louder than a certain level. Hence why many audiophiles prize vinyl recordings over CDs (especially so-called ‘remastered’ CDs, where ‘remastered’ usually just means ‘made LOUDER’.)

    Ideally there would be two editions of every record, a LOUD one for radio stations and another, with normal volume, for everybody else, but that’s never going to happen.

  344. @CCR
    Burger King burgers AND fries are better than McDonald's burgers and fries.

    Replies: @Shel100, @Che Guava

    I read an SF story with a protagonist who was running the last retro-MacDonalds anywhere. The chips were cooked in beef lard (I am not sure if ‘lard’ is the same as ‘tallow’, the story used ‘tallow’).

    Wouln’t want to eat too much, or too often, but sounds delicious. As for burgers, sure, I never eat the Mac ones (except, seldom, 200-yen snack chicken burgers), BK, occasionally. far superior.

    Maybe retro-Mac burgers were also tasty, I don’t know, pre-Kroc was all different.

    As for wine, when champagne seems to suit the occasion, I almost always buy the Spanish ones, they taste just as good as or better than Veuve or Moet, they’re not allowed to have ‘champagne’ on the label, but much better value.

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