In this week's Chic on a Shoestring, co-anchors Hannah Storm and Harry Smith and correspondent Tracy Smith literally put their mouths where the money is. They tasted wines, rating the inexpensive brands against their pricier twins.
Joshua Wesson, a man who lives on the front line of cheap wine as CEO of the award-winning wine store Best Cellars, visited The Early Show to put contestants to the test. Co-anchor Rene Syler was the host of the game.
Wesson explains that a wine's price is measured by supply and demand, and is not related to quality. Good-tasting wine can be found for under $15 a bottle , if you know what you like, and where to look, he says.
And if you think only the experts can tell the difference between expensive and inexpensive wine, you would be wrong. Wesson says blind tasting is a humbling experience, even for professionals.
A good wine has balance, says Wesson. If one element, such as the alcohol, is too strong, it can get in the way of the wine's flavor, he explains.
For the contest, each contestant had six glasses before them. They had to distinguish the inexpensive champagne, white wine and red wine from the more expensive varieties. Hannah was clearly the winner picking the steal every time. Jokingly, Rene said, "And your mom said you didn't learn anything in college. Maybe you did."
1. Splurge: Dom Perignon, $135
2. Steal: Lenoble Blanc De Blancs $36
Wesson's note: "The size of the bubbles relates to the age. The longer it's aged, the more bubbles."
White Wines/White Burgundys/Chardonnays
1. Steal: Domaine de l'Arfentiere Macon-Uchizy, $12
2. Splurge: Louis Latour Puligny-Montrachet, $40
Wesson's note: "In France, they name them after places, not grapes. Whenever you are drinking a white burgundy, you are drinking a chardonnay."
1. Splurge: Frog's Leap Merlot, $40
2. Steal: Crisol Merlot, $9
Wesson's note: "It's an insanely popular grape. It's like a cabernet with training wheels. It won't stain your teeth. You'll be able to hail a cab afterwards."
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