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Depressed and stretched / low dollar, higher prices!

Depressed and stretched / low dollar, higher prices!

Nov 6th, 2007, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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The subject of wine always reveals as many levels of knowledge and taste (two separate qualities) as there are labels. Often, without the bottle in front of me discussions of tasting, qualityrice ratio etc are colored with the dullness of a frontal lobotomy.

What I call good at a few bucks has to meet less complicated standards than what I call good at 25 bucks, and at 50 or more (out of my budget but friends pop for it now and then, and sometimes when it's a shared bottle ...)

Unless you're rich, insisting on a great bottle to go with a fast lunch or a pizza is pretty self-defeating: you'll have nothing left to go with the tuscan steak later ...

A favorite memory of mine in Sutri (north of Rome) was the lunch when we discovered we had no wine. (and no shops open, of course, to get any) My friend took me to the hole-in-the-wall restaurant in a nearby house - toting an empty litre Coke bottle with us. For about a buck, the owner filled our bottle from his cask of house wine (a vintage that went into carafes for the table, not bottles). It was everything our spicy pasta dish needed: modest but good, like the food.

The great thing about the better small-town restaurants in Italy is that there are genuinely terrific wines on the list, from small and/or local producers, at prices that make saying no very difficult!
tomassocroccante is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 08:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Sue1 - My symphathies. Everyone equates their currency of reference
to the Euro and believe me I've been shot down in flames by many on this board!
All I can sy is, you earn what you earn and what it can buy - our rate of exchange buys far far less than yours. Have a look at the current Rand/Euro exchange! And BE HAPPY!
tod is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Also ...
I don't know about London or other high-ticket cities in Europe, but most places even the best restaurants aren't marking up wine the way it is here in the US (NYC, at least.)

Twenty years ago the standard wine list price was double retail. Now it's not unusual at all to see triple. So, in restaurants at least, we are paying quite a premiium for wine - good, bad or indifferent - here.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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"I don't know about London or other high-ticket cities in Europe, but most places even the best restaurants aren't marking up wine the way it is here in the US (NYC, at least.)"

London is shockingly expensive. And I can't imagine they are giving it away at too many Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. If, by best restaurants, you are talking places like Le Bernardin or Jean Georges, you are talking pretty rarified air, and I would expect the prices to be astronomical no matter what country you are in.

Now, where New York does sometime falter is with some of the "wannabe" restaurants, which often charge what the big boys charge and just don't deliver the value. Then again, there are these sorts of places everywhere.
travelgourmet is online now  
Nov 6th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Suze, I think it's quite possible to get a place you will be quite happy with in Paris for rather less than 125 Euros, especially for a single room. If you post a thread with the dates of your stay, I'm sure lots of people would have suggestions.
WillTravel is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 10:41 AM
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Something to consider...

As a US citizen, we are charged a "bed tax" on hotels that average 13%, a sales tax on dining and purchases that average 7%. In addition, we generally leave a tip 18% average on meals. With that said, the Euro/Dollar ratio isn't as bleak.

We just returned from our trip to Italy and the dollar was at an all time low of 1.44. All the above helped us to realize that it wasn't so bad. Plus the bonus is that we were in Europe.

Hope that helps...
adventureseeker is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 01:58 PM
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I never pay that much per night (€ 140-165), even though I get paid in Euros.

Since I have to travel quite a bit on business, the idea of having to pack and unpack every other day to move on to another city would stress me out.

Last summer in Budapest I rented an apartment for some € 200 - for a week. Add some 10 Euro for a week pass for public transportation, and a few Euros for daytrips by train or boat.

Same amount of money (appr 220 per week) got me a house in Spain/Andalucia in late January this year. Add 110 per week for a rental car.

A weekend in Madrid this March was € 29 for airfare (just one-way, we were sort of en route to visit friends in Ireland), € 50 per night for 2 nights in a cute hostal in Chueca. Dinner was € 10 or less per person, excl. wine (which was not expensive, even though we usually got one regular bottle for 8-10 Euros).

I sure know many people who would go to Rome, Barcelona, or elsewhere in Europe for a luxury weekend and pay 200 a night for a great 5* hotel. But even those rarely tour Europe for 12 or 14 nights at that level.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Croatia hasn't joined the EU yet, and is inexpensive compared to Italy across the Adriatic. Good wine, too.
rickandpat is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 02:12 PM
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Swiss wines:

The Valais (Wallis), Vaud and Graubünden make excellent wines.

We were given a wonderful gift of Schaffhausen wine. The givers meant well but, after tasting, we are now using it for cooking.

Swiss wines in Switzerland are becoming more popular again.
kleeblatt is offline  
Nov 6th, 2007, 02:39 PM
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Crotia is an expensive country to visit, it's really ugly too - I would not advise going there - .
Barb is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 08:18 PM
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schuler: Can you share some names of the excellent wines from Vaud, Wallis & Graubunden? Swiss wines are actually available in the San Francisco Bay area. I've experimented with a few but have not found anything exciting.

We find Austrian wines to be hidden gems, their quality is rising fast and evolving so well. The new generation of wine makers are very innovative and talented. They've come a long ways from the engine coolant blending days.
DAX is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 11:40 PM
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I have to agree with the 'Priceline' recs...if you bid on the right areas of Paris, you can get a good deal, and you'll be paying in dollars, rather than euros.

luckygirl322 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 11:41 PM
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Hi Dax:

My favourite wine right now is from Graubünden and it's a Maienfelder Beerli. Graubünden has other fine wines too.

White wines from Vaud are also excellent.

I'm not a big Gamay or Dole fan and usually try to avoid those wines although the Guillard (sp) Dole from Wallis is exceptional.

If you like red wine and they have one from Graubünden, I'd try it.

We also have some very sour wine, especially from Schaffhausen. I'd avoid those wines if possible.
kleeblatt is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 01:44 AM
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>>The Swiss hardly export any of their wines, because they drink more than they produce. But they make excellent wines.<

As do Austrians. <

And the wines of Alsace are both wonderful and inexpensive.

>Twenty years ago the standard wine list price was double retail. Now it's not unusual at all to see triple. <

Not unusual to see wine by the glass at the wholesale price of a bottle, and a bottle at 4x the price of a glass.

ira is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 02:31 AM
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I tend to find the Swiss good at lighter wines, good tasting wines.

If you want a full body wine to go with a red meat, I would avoid Swiss wines (IMO)
sansman is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 02:32 AM
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Also, I do enjoy Graubunden wine much better than anything from Ticino area.
sansman is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 08:08 AM
Original Poster
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Wow I did not anticipate that my original posting would generate so much discussion about wine! I have travelled mostly in Southern Europe and have enjoyed the table wines that are so reasonably priced, esp compared to US restaurants. Last fall in Rome we ate several nights at Pizzeria Lucie near the collisieum. We got a liter of white wine for maybe 7 E's - it tasted fine to me!

Reading thru all these posts I have a couple of thoughts / responses:

I will no longer go to NYC unless I tag along with my daughter on her expense account room. Prices are terrible there!

I liked the recommendation about Italy outside the big cities. Also agree that Spain is a great destination for reasonable / tastey food and wine.

I was not really saying I wanted to travel in luxury - staying in high priced hotels and dining at high-end restaurants. I was saying that I think European travel is not a need, or a want but a luxury. It has been an affordable luxury for me in the past but now it is becoming very pricey!

I am reluctant to use Priceline - in the past I have always chosen mid-priced small hotels in parts of the city that are a bit away from tourist ground zero. My impression of Priceline is that I will be in a Marriott or Hilton that will be somewhat of a generic / sterile product with little local influence. Maybe I am wrong about this.

I have continued planing a trip for this spring since my original post. I will be using a B&B in Amsterdam for 110E per night - I think it will be very nice. I think I will rent an apartment in Barcelona - something I have not done before but should save me alot of E's. Hopefully in the next few years I will manage Turkey and Croatia - I'll put Argentina on my "maybe" list. I think it would be lovely to go there in the US winter time!

Thanks for all the input - it was much appreciated, however all the wine advice / discussion may have been a bit of "casting pearls before swines". Give me a liter of house wine from Pizzeria Lucie any day!
suec1 is offline  

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