KRoW 27 September 2015 – A mixed case of white, rose and red

This Key Review of Wine includes the following wines:

KRoW 27 Sept 2015 Red White RoseA mixed case of white, rose and red. Different regions and various styles. What is this rubbish about Australian wine being boring and all tasting the same?

Look and you will find plenty of choice in both taste and value.

The real issue is, consumers aren’t as interested in wine as those of us producing, selling or writing about wine think they are.

Most wine drinkers want a safe, sound bottle of wine they can drink with ease and not think too much about. On top of that, they don’t want to pay a great deal for it and they want easy access to buy it.

With parking the way it is in most busy cities, stopping off at the independent bottle shop on the way home from work is not an easy option so picking up a few bottles of quaffers with the weekly shop is the easy option.

Independent wine merchants are disappearing; it’s sad but inevitable as is the increase of on-line shopping.

Considering the above, should we be worried at the increasing consolidation of retailers such as supermarkets? Worry as much as you like, there is little that can be done about it.

Consumers are fickle. At the time of writing, Aldi is in favour in the UK and Australia. Lidl is not yet in Australia but it’s getting noticed for its wine offerings in the UK. Somehow they have convinced consumers less is more. They get in a selection of value for money wines that are also of good quality and consumers flock to the stores buying cases of the stuff.

Tesco in the UK and Dan Murphy’s in Australia have wines that match the Aldi/Lidl wines but at these stores it’s hard to see the wood for the trees. At the time of writing, Tesco is offering 21 chardonnays between £5 and £5.99. Running an eye over them, half (at least) could go and the shopper would still be well served. In Australia, Dan’s had 184 chardonnays in the $10 to $20 retail price range, 156 of them from Australia. In my opinion many could go without harming the selection.

Why do both stock so many brands that are essentially the same? One reason is supply. Can they get enough from one source to satisfy demand for the style?  Another reason is, traditionally they have offered consumers a wide selection. However, as they watch Aldi/Lidl take market share by offering less and consumers making more fuss about the wines and flocking to buy the offerings, they surely will follow suit.

There we have it, the few are interested in wine, the many not, although they enjoy drinking it. Despite what the global figures say about production and consumption coming into line, there is so much wine available in Australia, USA and the UK, the advantage lies with the consumer.

If retailers follow Aldi and Lidl and benefit from doing so, be assured they will.

Smaller producers need to look at how they are going to sell their wine in years to come as I fear avenues are closing.

Meanwhile indulge in the vast choice and enjoy,


Howard Park ‘Miamup’ Margaret River Chardonnay 2014:

All parts are almost as they should be, very slightly out of alignment at the time of tasting (February 2015) but should settle into place during the year. 92 now, more down the track and value at $28.

Sandalford ‘Estate Reserve’ Margaret River Chardonnay 2014:

Very pale in colour and quite full on the nose. It surprised me as it went on to be light on the palate, I like a touch more depth but that is personal. It’s very much the newer style of chardonnay that is appearing and it has its followers. 91 points and I think top of the price range for this style at $35 but that is my judgment at the time of tasting; it may develop during the year and become better value.

Gartelmann ‘Jessica’ Hunter Valley Verdelho 2015:

Beautiful nose, a hint of ripe pear to me, so young yet so very good, it will be interesting to see how it develops. I don’t think long term but over the next year it should show some fascinating development. 92 points and good value at $20.

Three Ponds Hunter Valley Verdelho 2015:

Again I got pear on the nose, so defined that I left it for a while but it remained and it was pleasant so no issue. Easy drinking, nothing special and should come together with some age. 89 now, one maybe two more when it develops. OK value at $20.

Domaine Chandon King Valley Pinot Gris 2015:

It takes time to hit the senses so don’t serve too cold, such a tender, fragrant wine, it should develop more but it’s a beauty now. It needs thought and input from the drinker, if that is given 94 points and worth $25, but if chugged back without thought it’s a dry white wine and the drinker has missed the point of consuming it.

Fox Gordon ‘Charlotte’s Web’ Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio 2015:

Ripe on the nose and rich on the palate, a little more bottle age will see it settle down. 91 points, $23 is an OK price for this wine.

Le Chat Noir Vallee de L’Aude Rose 2014:

Crisp and with a lovely sour edge, it’s simple but very satisfying. 90 points and well worth $15.

Rob Dolan ‘True Colours’ Rose 2013:

Salmon pink, strong nose of tree bark and fruit, full on flavour a rose with attitude. I would say 92 points, OK value at $24.

Berton Vineyards ‘Metal label’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014:

It really didn’t work for me, too rounded, too sweet, not an enjoyable wine at all, even at the price ($12). 84 points. I’ve tasted several vintages of this wine and I’m sure other years have fared better.

Chapel Hill ‘The Parson’ McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2014:

Full as in the McVale style and thoroughly enjoyable, 93 points and value at $18.

Pacha Mama Heathcote Shiraz 2014:

A beautiful nose and somewhat feral across the palate. It’s not heavy duty but has other qualities, a very individual wine. 93 points OK value at $26.

Crabtree Clare Valley Watervale Shiraz 2013:

This is a walk on the wild side, feral and bitter (good) in parts and ripe fruits in others. I loved it, a very grown up wine. 94 points and well worth $28.

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