For those of us more earthbound in our spending habits, though, here are five recent discoveries from the F&W tasting room that are both really good and also affordable.

Ray Isle
October 14, 2014

In case you were wondering what insanely rich wine lovers like to do with their spare buckets of cash, the answer was provided by a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong last week: Spend $1,600,000 on 114 bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy.

The wines, which ranged from the 1992 to 2010 vintages, set a world record for the most expensive wine auction lot ever. And, if you break down the numbers (and assume 5 glasses per bottle), what you’ll find is that the lucky bidder paid the equivalent of $2,807 per glass for his wine.

Now, I’m a wine writer. I love good wine. But $2,807 for a glass of wine—any wine—is just plain nuts. What can you do? The superrich aren’t tethered by the ground-lines of sanity; they float high up in their own kooky world, doing things like buying $270,000 dinosaur skulls (Nicolas Cage), or $328,000 racing pigeons (a unnamed fellow in China). Go figure.

For those of us more earthbound in our spending habits, though, here are five recent discoveries from the F&W tasting room that are both really good and also affordable. In the $3-a-glass zone, for instance, rather than $2,800. Just think—with all the money you save, maybe you could even pick up a couple of spare dinosaur skulls.

1. 2012 Herencia Altés Garnatxa Blanca ($10). An absurdly good deal, this fresh, medium-bodied white Grenache comes from Spain’s Terra Alta region, and (surprising at this price) mostly from very old vines.

2. 2013 Joel Gott Oregon Pinot Gris ($13). A crisp white, with appealingly spicy nectarine fruit and a lemon-zesty finish, this is a new addition to bargain-wine-impresario Joel Gott’s portfolio.

3. 2012 Fuoristrada Off Road Sangiovese ($13). Is it a $14,000 bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti? Heck no—it’s Italian Sangiovese in a one-liter, recyclable tetrapak. But it’s full of juicy cherry fruit, a little pepperiness, and it’s made with organically farmed grapes, too.

4. 2013 Cara Nord Negre ($15). This impressive, black cherry-scented blend of Grenache, Syrah and Garrut (a little known local variety) comes from vineyards high up in Spain’s tiny Conca de Berberà region, southwest of Barcelona.

5. 2012 Heartland Spice Trader Red ($17). OK, so this edges towards a whopping $3.50 a glass; it’s still a bargain. Shiraz and Cabernet from Australia’s McLaren Vale combine here (along with the talents of star winemaker Ben Glaetzer) for a full-bodied red full of cassis and mocha notes.

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