Celebrity Wine FAQ – Giancarlo Esposito

Giancarlo Esposito as Tom Neville in NBC's Revolution. Courtesy NBC
Giancarlo Esposito as Tom Neville in NBC’s Revolution. Courtesy NBC

Congratulations to Giancarlo Esposito – he found out this week that he’s going to be working next year. It was just announced that his NBC show Revolution, in which he plays the less-than-nice-love-to-hate-him Tom Neville, is going to be back on the schedule this fall. Esposito has been working for some time, but got a lot of notice playing Gus Fring on Breaking Bad, and of course, Sidney Glass, on the first season of Once Upon a Time.

Anne got a chance to chat briefly with him recently, and he had several questions for her (so we may be seeing him in this capacity again). Actually, Anne wasn’t sure if he was quizzing her or not, he had so many, but we love that in the folks we talk to.

We’re going to feature Esposito’s question about a very well-known label, Cakebread Cellars. This is a very high-end label and the wine is very, very good (Anne got a lovely glassful at a press event last January).

“What do you think about Cakebread’s wine, the chardonnay?” Esposito asked.

We love it. The chard is wonderful – almost a textbook perfect chardonnay, light and crisp with just a hint of butter.

“That was a wine that when it first came out, I bought it for probably $20 a bottle and it’s now $75, $100,” Esposito said. “How does that happen?”

Because while Cakebread Chard is lovely stuff, it was, at one time, way 0ver-priced. We recently saw it online at prices from $29.95 to $39.95 , and, if you follow the ratings (we don’t) they range from 85 to 90 points over the last twenty years. So there’s a consistency factor that means you know what you’re getting in the bottle. It got  over-priced a few years ago (at the prices Esposito was quoting) because the label produced such beautifully made wines that folks starting thinking they were the end-all, be-all. Unfortunately, there is still the impression in the wine world that the higher the price, the better the wine. And certain wines, like many things, get a rep as being very high quality, and winemakers, who want to make a living in an insanely competitive market, take advantage of that and jack up the prices. You can’t really blame them.

That being said, there is absolutely no correlation between price and quality when it comes to wine. In fact, the Melville Chardonnay (at a still-steep $35 a bottle) is at least as good as the Cakebread at roughly half to a third of the higher price. Granted, you’re not likely to find a chardonnay that good at $5 a bottle – and if you do, we want to know about it ASAP. But still, you can find some really, really good chardonnays at $10 a bottle.

So the bottom line is that while we love any excuse to drink Cakebread chardonnay, we’re not going to pay $100 for a bottle of wine. If you want to, fine. Just be aware that you don’t have to. Right, Mr. Esposito?


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