Wines Then and Now : Part 2

Selecting priceworthy wines from Tuscany and the Rhone Valley


This is the second part in a three part series on wine prices over the past decade. Part one can be found here, and today I follow up with part two, a look at Tuscan wines and the wines of the Rhone Valley.
I love Tuscan wines and I love Sangiovese. Pure, fresh, fruity and austere all at once, it’s one of the greatest food wines on the planet, and in the right hands it occasionally produces some profound wines. I’ve been buying less Tuscan wines as of late, at least at the higher price points, simply because the prices have, in my opinion, outrun the quality in most cases. Now don’t get me wrong, the wines we’re going to take a look at here are top notch, but are they really that much better than similar wines that cost, at least for the moment, half the price or less? I don’t think so.
I’ve put asterisks next to the producers that I think are still worth buying from a value, as well as qualitative standpoint. There is no arguing that Le Pergole Torte is a thing of beauty, but it’s just a little too expensive if you ask me. On the other hand, the I Sodi di San Niccolo continues to be quite a bargain and the Fontalloro, which hasn’t seen a price increase in a decade? Well that is simply a steal. 
I don’t expect many of these Tuscan producers to see much more of a price increase down the pipe. While they are delicious, there are too many great Tuscan wines that offer just about the same experience for $50 or less. Unlike Barolo, Tuscany is a very large region with massive potential supply, and plenty of conscientious winemakers ready to undermine strength in the marketplace for their own advantage. And besides, as good as Tuscan wines are, they aren’t as good as Barolo!

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