Do They Still Matter?
The long and short answer to this question is: for the most part, no, they don't matter.
Very few cult wines that we have encountered live up to their price tag, especially when you consider how well you can drink these days at the $50, $35 and even $20 price range. These hype monsters are often not worth writing about for us, and frankly, opportunities to even taste them are fairly rare anyway.
But every now and again, the stars align and a certain high-value wine shows that it is worth the splurge. No wine better exemplifies this than ARPEPE's series of Valtellina Superiore Riserva, which are only released in good vintages; come from ridiculously steep, labor-intensive slopes in the Italian Alps; and which are held back for at least eight years in the winery before release, only to shine like a 24-carat diamond in the glass. For a little over $100, that's the kind of special wine I want to splurge on for an anniversary dinner. Plenty of other Nebbiolo wines fit this bill: Bartolo Mascarello's sole Barolo, Vietti's single-vineyard cru wines from Barolo and Barbaresco, and Ferrando's Carema (which is just under $100, but who knows for how long). In Burgundy and Bordeaux, throw a rock in any direction and you'll find a winery producing a North-of-100-Dollar wine. The same attention to discretion applies.
In the end, remember that value is highly subjective, and what we find to be overrated could very well be a favorite for you for personal reasons. Likewise, you might not agree that one of these wines was worth every penny. We welcome the debate.
But, know this: we will do our best to don our sunglasses and resist the megawatt aura of hype-monster wines, and determine for you whether there is a reason to care that much to buy it. It has to be compelling beyond some wine critic saying "because I said so." And from our experience, once you go over the $100 mark, the batting average for success decreases, and the potential for disappointment rises. That's just how it is.