Trick or treat?

Far too frequently a new wine comes onto the market at a price that puts it outside most drinkers' reach. We recently saw pictures of footballer Ronaldo dropping into a London restaurant for a drink, that involved a bill of 31,000 euros for a bottle of Richebourg Grand Cru and Pomerol Petrus. For footballers, who probably know less about wine than the average reader of this column, the price of an item denotes its quality, but at least in this case the wines drunk were among the world's very best.

So far so justifiable, but what about those wines that are conceived to be exclusive? Any idiot can make a wine and claim it is unique because there are only a few bottles available. This is called artificial unavailability. A wine from the unrated region of Cuenca, AurumRed, is produced using ozone, apparently because the producer was cured of a serious illness by it. The minimal production is the conceived reason for the price of 15,000 euros a bottle, so even if you need it as a medication, you will likely run out of cash before you get even a tenth of the way cured. Allegedly enough of each year's production is sold to enable half to be cellared away for some future sale, while logic dictates that it should be donated to the sufferers from whatever disease it is supposed to cure.

The latest pathetic claim of 'the Most Exclusive Wine in the World' title is being made currently for Demuerte Black 2016. The Yecla bodega, until now rated favourably by critics, makes and sells excellent wines at around 12 euros, but it has just dynamited any possibility of being considered a serious producer by adding to its range the said Demuerte Black, which costs 99 euros. Apart from the usual guff about old vines, hand-selected grapes, etc, the main justification for the price is the bottle, decorated with 'two Swarovski precious stones'. Fortunately for the bodega, there may indeed be some idiots who believe that the merits of its wines can be summarised by the bottle rather than by what it contains.