This is a phrase I positively despise. I heard it again last night at a wine tasting I attended, during which someone commented that such-and-such a red was “not bad for the price.”
To me, this is the ultimate unnecessary qualification. It’s one you hear a lot in the beer world, too, except there it’s usually more along the lines of “It’s not bad for a major brewery beer.” As if the big boys should get some sort of mulligan simply because of their size.
Well, no, they should not, and neither should a wine get extra credit simply because it comes in at a bargain basement price. It’s either good or it’s not, and if it’s not, then you shouldn’t be compromising your standards by drinking it regardless of price. Period.
(This also comes up when people say to me things like: “I normally wouldn’t drink Beer X, but it was all they had available,” as if someone were holding a gun to their head and forcing the beer down their throats. But that’s a whole other rant.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate good value as much as the next imbiber. Hell, I’m descended from good Scottish stock. But saying that a given beverage represents good value is a lot different than saying that price is a major qualifying factor in its assessment. I repeat: The first quality judged should be whether or not it’s good, then whether it’s good value for the money. Saying otherwise risks damning with very faint praise indeed.