There has been some news recently about two $2AUD ($1.50USD) cleanskin wines being offered by Dan Murphy’s, who are owned by a major supermarket chain here in Australia.
I decided to see what a $2 wine tastes like and to put it into a blind test against another wine. My girlfriend poured the $2 wine and a $15 wine that I knew the identity of but hadn’t tasted before, in another room and brought me the glasses.
The $15 wine was purchased last year and is a 2001 Cabernet Merlot from Margaret River, the $2 wine was purchased this week from Dan Murphy’s and is a 2006 Cabernet Merlot South East Australian blend with code WE3. Despite the difference in age, I still feel it is a valid comparison of two wines that you can walk into a store and buy at similar periods of time at the different price points.
Both wines bottled under screwcap and both tasted from Riedel ‘O’ Series Cabernet/Merlot glasses. The $15 wine is 14.5% alcohol and the $2 wine is 13.5%.
This really smells like Cabernet – tobacco, briar, blackcurrant, black olives, liquorice and well integrated dusty and cedary French oak. In a totally different flavour spectrum to wine B, much more savoury black fruits showing through. A balanced palate that has good texture, firm tannins and very good length. I think this is probably the $15 wine and for my taste it is streets ahead of the cleanskin with much greater depth and interest.
A bright, fresh fruit driven nose of with dominant apricots as well as cherry and plum. The palate is driven almost entirely by juicy fruit sweetness, it is of medium length and it offers no depth of flavour, it is very linear right across the palate. Tastes like a “Generic Medium Bodied Red Wine”, but it is without major faults and pretty easy to drink if you don’t want to think about it. I am sure that this is the cleanskin and I’ve had worse wines that have cost $100, let alone $2.
Summary: My girlfriend unveiled the bottles and Wine A was the $15 wine and Wine B was the $2. This was as I expected, but the $2 wine put up a decent enough fight and I’m certain that some people would prefer it to Wine A. There are some interesting times ahead if this continues, there will be a lot of pressure on the other sub $10 labels if wines of this fault-free quality are available in the demanded quantities for casual drinkers for an extended period of time.
I have the $2 Chardonnay as well and I’ll be doing another blind taste test of that sometime soon.