Let’s face it: There’s a lot of freakin’ wine on the market nowadays. New producers, wine regions, and winemaking styles are popping up left and right, and we’re loving every second of it. From the most sought-after bottles to the mass-produced, chemically manipulated stuff, there’s just more than ever before.
But not all wines are created equal, and sometimes, a wine gets more credit than it should. Some wines claim too much fame, blinding us and overshadowing other, more hidden gems with their sometimes unjustified celebrity status. We took to the professionals and asked nine sommeliers across the nation which wines they viewed as the most overrated bottles. Here are their answers.
“Ripe Napa Cabernet.” – Joshua Thomas, Wine Director, Octavia and Frances
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“100 Point Wines. Most of these wines are made to taste ‘great’ right away and then fall apart over time.” – Eric Railsback, Wine Director at Mason Pacific
“Super Tuscans and big Napa Cabernet.” – Rachael Lowe, Beverage Director, Spiaggia
“Shitty rosé. I am so tired of big companies churning out laboratory rosé with no soul or sense of place and marketing it as a lifestyle brand.” – Victoria James, Piora, author of upcoming book DRINK PINK, A Celebration of Rosé
“Overrated is a tricky term, since there’s a clear quality-to-value question at play. I would say, of all the regions that have skyrocketed in price and popularity in the last 5 years, Sancerre is one that never really boasts much by way of value in the conversation of quality vs. price. There are plenty of Loire Valley whites that do not carry the Sancerre AOP which are equally enjoyable, and display great regional terroir, without the heavy price tag. “ – Nathan Lithgow, Sauvage
“About half of super hip natural wines are actually terribly flawed; the other half are things of beauty. Lesson: natural does not equal great.” – Steven Grubbs, Wine Director, Five & Ten and Empire State South
“To be honest, I don’t really think about it like this. Everyone has their own journey, their own start point, their own familiarity. Along the way, people gravitate towards what makes sense for where they are in the journey, and a lot of the time those wines are the more popular/marketable wines from around the world.” – Matt Kaner, Wine Director and Owner of Covell Wine Bar, Augustine Wine Bar, Dead or Alive Bar, AM/FM Wines
“I feel that all wines have their place, but sometimes I feel that people shop for wine based on their preconceived notions of what a particular varietal will be, especially things like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and lower quality versions of these wines can find great success in name recognition alone, without achieving great quality.” – Ellie Bufkin, Assistant Wine Director, Maialino
“This is subjective and personal. I might say that such and such brand of car is overrated and someone will disagree. I think that it often comes down to value. When talking about value, a wine doesn’t have to be expensive. A great experience or moment is when it was worth every $$, should the bottle be $15 or $75 in a bottle shop.” – Michael Engelmann, Wine Director at The Modern & Cafes at MoMa, Untitled & Studio Café at the Whitney