A $6 bottle of red wine just won an international wine contest in Melbourne
Cheap wine is fine wine.
A $6 bottle of red wine sold exclusively at Coles supermarkets in Melbourne is getting rave reviews from oenophiles who gave it a unanimous gold rating during a blind taste test.
The Aussie wine, St. Andrews Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, earned the coveted “double gold” medal from a panel of sommeliers, retail buyers, distributors and exporters at the Melbourne International Wine Competition last week, beating out 1,100 wine submissions from more than 10 countries around the world.
Wine snobs will be pleased to know that the well-priced vino is described as having black cherry, plum and cranberry aromas, and intense flavors of cinnamon and toasted oak with balanced acidity and soft tannins. It’s said to pair best with rich, creamy pasta dishes, meat and barbecue. Everyone else will just be thrilled it’s under $10.
“It punches well above its class,” raves FirstChoiceLiquor.com.
The bargain bottle is the most recent proof that low-priced labels can compete head to head with some of the big guys. Last year, a $5 bottle by the Australian brand Big & Bold Shiraz 2015 won the top prize at the same wine fest and it sold out soon after the judging was announced.
And in May, an $8 bottle of Exquisite Collection Cotes de Provence Rose earned a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge, which is considered the Oscars of winemaking that pits super-expensive wines against the affordable ones to find the best. You can find it at German discount grocery chain Aldi (which boasts seven New York City warehouse-style stores).
It’s more proof that you don’t have to be a sommelier to have good taste.
“If you like it, it’s good,” retail spirits expert Gary Fisher tells Moneyish.
“You don’t have to spend $50 on a bottle to get good wine. People are making good wine all over the world, and not all of it is expensive.”
Fisher says you can find wines with the best values in the US buying wines typically from Spain, Chile, Argentina and Portugal.
Somms agree that where your wine comes from could make a difference in how much it costs.
“Cheap wine can be good wine if it is made with care or in a less famous region,” says Jacob Daugherty, a Sommelier at Le District in New York City.
A good wine is all in its balance of flavors, says Fisher. And one rule of thumb to know how it’s a good pick is if that flavor lingers on your palate well after you’ve had a sip.
“It’s more about structure. If you taste a wine that’s all fruit and then it disappears, it’s not good. Look for bold flavor that continues to taste good,” says Fisher.
But not all cheap grapes are good (sorry, Franzia!). So if you find yourself squinting after taking a sip, it probably means you should put down the glass.
“If it’s sugar-fied, it’s bad,” says Fisher.
“Some cheaper wines try to sweeten the blend up. You get that sweetness on the tip of your tongue. You can also tell by smelling, if they wine smells off – like vinegar — it could mean that it’s corked or something went wrong.
Here are some good cheap wine picks under $10:
This is not your typical sweet prosecco. It’s crisp and easy to drink with a touch of sweetness.
2. 2015 Bogle Chardonnay from California, $9.99
“A massively produced wine but of consistent quality,” says Mahesh Lekkala, owner of Wine Legend Store and Bar.
3. Chateau De Campuget 2016 from Costieres de Nimes, $9.99
“This comes from north of Provence which is a blend of Syrah and Grenache. Light in color like a typical Provence rose,” says Lekkala.
This deep, inky purple wine has aromas of dark fruit with hints of spice perfect for pairing with red meat.
This red wine is said to have notes of red berries and fresh flowers with energetic flavors like raspberry and bitter cherry.
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