Although I still wish I'd found a way to stowaway in Wendy's luggage, one of her recent e-mails makes me feel (slightly) better:
"Before you get too jealous, I'm not having the best time here. Stuck in the country, where it's freezing and rather boring...Thang God for the wine. We paid big bucks for this bottle at a restaurant (20E - about $30) -- a very good, balanced Pinot Noir. It's probably more than I've paid for any wine on this entire trip. This must subsidize wine production in Europe! Can't believe I ever paid $10 for a glass of wine in NYC."
In my experience, $30 is a very good price for a balanced bottle of Pinot Noir -- especially from a restaurant. Moreover, I doubt a $30 bottle, which the restaurant probably paid about $10 for, is subsidizing a lot of wine production. However, I'm conditioned by the U.S. wine market and wine is one of the few things that we pay more for in the U.S. than in Europe. Of course when I looked this up on wine-searcher, I found that Domaine D'Antugnac Pinot Noir 2008 costs around $13 - $15 in some of my local stores. Of course a restaurant here would likely charge around $35 - $45 (as I've complained in previous posts, I've noticed that the mark-ups at restaurants have been creeping towards the 200% plus mark-up level).
I've been thinking about my own wine travels for awhile now and Wendy's e-mails helped encourage me to plan my big 2011 trip. In mid-June, I'll be heading to England for a few days (Taste of London, The Ascot, Wimbledon) and then I'll be going to Paris and The Loire valley. If anyone has any tips, thoughts or advice on touring wineries in The Loire valley, please post them up.
Until the next sniff, sip, quaff or Wendy e-mail,