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What is The Opposite of Two Buck Chuck?

We all know there are revolutions happening at the bottom end of the pricing spectrum for wine. Charles Shaw has brought wine into the homes of Trader Joe's shoppers all over the country (but how many of them are there really) and frightened the hell out of the critical wine establishment with its success.

It turns out there are things happening on the other end of the spectrum, too. Perhaps not as revolutionary, but definitely some changes, changes you might say that are the opposite of Two Buck Chuck. No, no, no, the prices for Screaming Eagle have not dropped into our buying range yet. And frankly neither will this one, but it seems that some folks are out to re-tool the top end of Napa Red wines.

The brothers who head the winemaking team at ZD decided several years ago to create an ultra-premium wine called Abacus that will likely hit the street at a cool $325 a bottle. Apart from the interesting marketing ideas behind this wine (will people really think it's that special?) it happens to be made using a technique known as solera which is typically used for port, blended scotch, or other liquors. This method involves using a portion of wine from previous vintages (sometimes going back 12 years) along with wine from a current vintage to create a blend that has both aged and new wine.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.