Wilfred Van Gorp, PhD, served as professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of Neuropsychology for Columbia University; he also directed the Neuropsychology Assessment Program at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College. In his free time, he enjoys tasting, and examining the finer qualities of, wines.
Many wine aficionados debate the characteristics that make up good versus great wines. The easiest way to distinguish them from each other is the price. Great wines come in small quantities but carry large price tags, especially when it comes to supply and demand for popular vintages. In contrast, good wines offer a balanced taste, usually run no more than $40 per bottle, and are widely available.
Out-of-reach prices—coupled with the difficulty of acquiring great ones when their popularity soars—often make good wines more attractive to consumers, and especially novices. Would you rather pay over $100 a bottle for something you might not enjoy, or choose a more affordable bottle that you would likely enjoy more because the price made a smaller dent on your wallet? Consider also that many great wines might only be considered as such because of their status.
All wine enthusiasts owe it to themselves to try wines from both tiers. Great vintages can be considered an indulgence, while good bottles can serve for any occasion.