Th e magic PRICE
DRAWING THE LINE AT $ 20 DOESN’T MEAN YOU NEED TO COMPROMISE ON QUALITY
Swings & Roundabouts, Tahbilk Marsanne and Tuesner Riebke are all great value wines.
Twenty dollars, $ 20, a lobster, whatever you choose to call it. It seems to be the magic price point that we, the consumer, either won’t go over, won’t go near or that we judge a wine by. Does it give great value for money, does it over- deliver and taste like it should be a $ 30 bottle of wine?
It’s the price at which the end user seems to judge a wine by too. Is it worth more than that, does this wine give great bang for buck, and taste like it should be a lot more expensive? It seems to be such a yardstick that James Halliday, in his year- ending Top 100, breaks the wines into the sub $ 20, and the over $ 20 bracket. That probably is also because you have to draw a line somewhere, and a lobster seems like an appropriate mark, a single note.
I mention this because I’m often asked what a great sub $ 20 wine is.
Well, that, and if I’d please leave the establishment I’m in, be quieter or to “stop asking for Tooheys Old/ Asahi/ Coopers Pale on tap when we’ve told you 10 times already that we don’t have it”!
But back to the wine, I was out on the weekend, and during the night I was asked two of those questions, several times, and more often than not it was the sub $ 20 question.
So this week I thought I would take a quick look at what’s out there in that sub $ 20 mark: MIKE PRESS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 // There’s no way that a review of blindingly good sub $ 20 wines is not going to have at least one of the Press vineyards wines on it. Every year I ask myself the same question – how does Mike Press do this so cheaply? Amazing value, truly amazing. Needs decanting or time to breathe as it’s still young but that time will help open this wine up to show a spicy, leafy red with loads of fl avour, subtle chocolate and oak. This will cellar well too. Available only online and about $ 12.50 a bottle. LAKE BREEZE BERNOOTA SHIRAZ CABERNET 2009 // A mate put me on to this a few years ago now. At about $ 15 for a four- year- old red, it’s great value. Great colour to it in the glass, blackcurrant and plum, with a little smokiness about it. Really comes alive on the tongue and very, very drinkable! Great example of the Aussie shiraz cabernet blend. VASSE FELIX CABERNET SAUVIGNON MERLOT 2011 // Vasse Felix often has fantastic reds at the above $ 20 price point. Really great wines actually. This one comes in at about $ 18. Great length on the wine with red and black fruits show. Has a really ripe fi nish to it too. TAHBILK MARSANNE 2012 // There aren’t too many Australian whites that can match the Tahbilk Marsanne for value. There’s everything you would expect in this wine – lemon and citrus. And it ages really well to show honey and fl ower blossom. Great wine, and is often in a lot of cellars because it will age and change with time. About $ 10. TUESNER RIEBKE 2012 // If you are looking for a sub $ 20 wine that you will be drinking in, say another 20 years, then look no further. Their 2010 wine was superb, and this follows along seamlessly. Huge on the nose, dark fruits with oak and earth. Dark and complex on the tongue, with ripe tannins and a savoury fi nish. This is just a
superb wine. About $ 18. SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS CABERNET MERLOT 2010 // Straight out of the middle of the Margaret River district. Quite fragrant with tomato leaf, blackcurrant and plum. On the tongue it’s got all that coming through, great varietal example, with fi ne fi nish. Will benefi t from a few years in a dark, lonely spot too. About $ 15.
On a side note, I’ve never been thrown out of a pub, I made that bit up... people’s houses yes, but not a pub.