We all want to drink like we’ve got Zuckerberg money. But the truth is, expensive wine doesn’t even taste as good as we think it does. According to science, we should be paying less attention to the price of each bottle, and more attention to what’s on the label. Fortunately, your friendly neighborhood Master Sommelier not only knows how to read a wine label—he or she can tell the difference between good stuff and total plonk. And as the guy or gal buying wine for your favorite restaurant or retail store, an M.S. also knows a thing or two about value. So I’ve asked four well-respected Master Somms from around the country to target some of the best wine steals in the seven most prestigious wine regions of France.
While Burgundy gets most of its notoriety—both in price and quality—from its Premier Cru and Grand Cru classified wines, these bottles only make up a combined total of less than 20 percent of the region’s output. The real value can be found in Village wine (about 36 percent of all production), which is less refined than cru wine made from grapes grown on specifically designated plots of land, but generally more complex than regional Bourgogne (about half of all production). Of course, you can’t just pick any old village at random, as some present a very inconsistent range of quality. But a few appellations in particular reliably offer excellent wines that won’t require you to declare bankruptcy on your way home from shopping. Here's what you need to seek out, from north to south.
To stand out from the crowd, today’s breweries are going the extra mile with incredible bottle and can artwork. In the US, where there are about 6,000 breweries, brands such as Montauk Brewing Co. and House Beer owe much of their success to their suave labels. And as beer quality continues to improve, aesthetics is becoming more important in setting the phenomenal apart from the merely great. So which breweries’ containers are most worthy of placement on your mantelpiece after you’ve drained them of their sweet nectar? We’ve rounded up the five best examples of label art from around the world, so that you can drink in style wherever you are.
As a born-again coffee snob, I find myself unable to start my day with subpar joe. But as a full-time writer and new dad, I no longer have the 20 minutes to spare for weighing, grinding, heating, cleaning, and hand-pouring every single dinky cup. And who can afford a commercial macchiato habit that costs about the same as the mortgage on a very small house? Enter Breville’s Oracle Touch, one of the most expensive consumer coffeemakers on the market, retailing for $2,500.
With standards of beer education and connoisseurship at all-time highs, a drinker can be made to feel like he or she must possess a Master Cicerone certification to appreciate a craft brew. (Is a “horse blanket” aroma a good or bad thing?) Fortunately, we have a network of knowledgeable friends who can help keep you afloat: After consulting some of the beer world’s leading experts, we’ve compiled a cheat sheet with their best insider secrets.
That rock bands collaborate with breweries to create their own beers is no news. A few rock and metal acts with especially discerning taste are finally getting it right, partnering with top notch breweries from around the world to produce beers worthy of their likeness. I’ve had the privilege of tasting the majority of these beers, and have rounded up the very best for you below.