Best buys: 10 gold-medal winners for $10

Posted on Oct 31, 2018

Petrol prices are at 10-year highs. Electricity prices are shutting down the air conditioner. And rising interest rates on falling house prices are playing the Grinch just before Christmas.

Family budgets are starting to creak so it’s time to get a bit smarter about buying the daily necessities. Like wine.

We at Vinloco thought it was time to sift through the 35,000 wine show scores we’ve covered this year to find the hidden treasures. The big payoff is when we unearth massively underpriced labels getting wine show bling but languishing on the bottom shelf.

The great news is that 2018 has been a vintage year for bargain hunters. With another 5000 scores still to be reported, we’ve already found 10 wines selling for less than $10/bottle that wine show judges have awarded gold medals.

Ignore the sceptics who tell you wine shows are a lottery. Or that some of these shows don’t amount to more than three drunks in a tent on the wrong side of the Black Stump. Seven of the 11 gold medals listed below were issued by capital city show “royalty” including Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Queensland.

These are the results the wine snobs don’t want you to see.

Wine judges cringe when they pull the bag off a gold medal wine to reveal a label that sells for just $10. That’s because it undermines consumers’ entirely wrong perception that a wine’s price is a good indicator of its quality. It isn’t.

As one senior judge confided to us recently: “At least we haven’t awarded a trophy to an Aldi wine yet.” Aldi, which commissions some of Australia’s top winemakers to make its labels, is a regular winner on the wine show circuit yet sells its wines for between $4 and $18. Most are less than $10/bottle.

The truth is not a single reputable critic will go anywhere near the wines listed below. The labels have no cachet. They are unashamedly commercial and they are cheap.

But that doesn’t make them bad. Houghton Red Classic, for example, is a serial high performer on the wine show circuit and regularly garners medals of every hue. Likewise DeBortoli’s La Bossa Pinot Grigio which won 11 medals across two vintages last year including two golds.

That’s not to say that some very expensive wines aren’t worth their money. Some are and they are wonderful examples. Equally, many cheap wines are fair indicators of their worth, too.

Our job at Vinloco is to find the wines that outperform their price. Here are the 10 best value wines we’ve found on the show circuit so far this year. Our pick is the Jacob’s Creek Classic Riesling 2018. It has two golds to its name this year and sells for just $5.90/bottle.

Warburn Estate Rumours Pinot Grigio 2018 $4.99
Warburn Estate Rumours Sauvignon Blanc 2018 $4.99
Jacob’s Creek Classic Riesling 2018 $5.90
De Bortoli Sacred Hill Moscato 2018 $5.99
Wolf Blass Red Label Shiraz Grenache 2017 $7.00
McWilliams Hanwood Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 $8.30
Jacob’s Creek Classic Semillon Chardonnay 2017 $8.99
Annie’s Lane Riesling 2018 $9.90
De Bortoli La Bossa Pinot Grigio 2018 $9.99
Houghton Red Classic 2016 $9.99
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