The Philosophy of Value

One can argue for lifetimes over the inherent value of an object. But, honestly, I would rather be drinking wine. I do, however, acknowledge that for a value scale to be of any use, it does need to have its method exposed. For those of you wanting some insight into how an MIB Value Ratings are derived,

Functional Value:
At one level  a functional value score is purely a ratio of sensory enjoyment against financial obligation. How good did it taste?” vs. “How much did it cost?”
This may sound obvious, but it is actually rather difficult to assess a wine purely on sensory elements, mostly because we are such malleable creatures, having our thoughts and moods altered by ambience, bottle shape, glass colour, label design, and current drinking companions. It is for this reason that a large portion of the wines reviewed here at MIB are assessed during blind tastings. This means that the reviewer has no idea what they are drinking when formulating a quality assessment.

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Justice is blind

If you suspect that you might have been duped into loving a wine due to a pretty label, hefty price tag, or attractive sommelier, one can always set aside another bottle of the same wine to be served at another occasion in a blind tasting. A blind tasting occurs when a wine is served, where all external information about the wine is kept from the drinker. You can then be sure that these details can neither add to- nor detract from your sensory assessment. If you are as immune to the subtle manipulations of (a) marketing, (b) prestige, or (c) sexual allure, then your two wine scores should be quite close to one another.
Many of the reviews on this site are the results of blind tasting. Mostly because the team here is made up of comprehensive ponces. And Ponces (yes, with a capital P) regularly fall prey to all of the above.

The Ponce Factor (also known as “Intellectual Value”)

As the price of wines extends beyond the R180 – R200 mark (in the South African context, at least), value takes on a slightly more fluid and elusive quality. Why one wine is worth R450.00 while another is worth R200.00 may have nothing to do with what is actually in the bottle. It may have to do with age, or grape variety, or a celebrity winemaker, or import duties, or the fact that the wine forms part of a limited release. All of these factors can be piled atop one another in various combinations to build glorious myriad of vastly various value propositions. None of which need be coherent, nor consistently applied.

It is for this reason that we introduced the concept of Intellectual Value (IV). IV Wines are wines that are more enjoyable because of the information surrounding them, rather than simply their chemical makeup and sensory profile. Intellectual value usually only exists in the minds of wine lovers who find joy in exploring the winemaking process almost as much as they enjoy drinking what that process yields. As I mentioned earlier, this notion of value is a little more vague, but can nevertheless be summed up fairly simply as:
Sensory enjoyment + Conversation value set against Financial obligation.

Or, put another way:
Taste + Ponce factor versus Cost

High Ponce Factor wines (or HPF wines) don’t need to be expensive, but they do need to be worth talking about. The idea behind identifying (and then serving) HPF wines is that your dinner guests/boss deem you to be smarter/sexier/more employable on account of your discerning wine taste.
HPF wines are also great for first dates (so long as you don’t mind looking like a ponce), as there is usually at least 15 minutes worth of chitchat surrounding the wine’s origins, process, or back story.
Finally, HPF wines are for people who love talking about wine. Or who love to fake being able to talk about wine.
If you are neither of these two types of people, then you can ignore the Ponce Factor scores entirely.