Tasting the best commercial wines at a Wine Masterclass with Andrew Caillard

Good wine does not necessarily mean expensive wine. At a wine masterclass with Andrew Caillard, held on 10 July 2017, we learnt that you can often find good wines at bargain prices if you know what to look for.

The tasting took place inside the head office of Pinnacle Drinks in Surry Hills. Guests experienced a very informative wine tasting of 22 wines ranging from champagne, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, rose, pinot noir, shiraz, and port. Pinnacle Drinks has a room set aside for tastings with a long table in the middle and glass cabinets filled with wine bottles all around it. The table was covered with platters of fruit, cheese, breads and cold meats prepared by Morgan Ferguson from Grazing the Table. Guests were also served with pizza during the night.

Pinnacle Drinks was established in 2012 and partners with winemakers, growers, brewers and distillers to deliver some of the world’s leading brands across the wine, beer and spirits categories. Pinnacle Drinks a division of Woolworths Liquor Group. Their head office in Surry Hills, Sydney, centrally manages the brand and marketing activity for the wine, beer and spirit brands. Pinnacle Drinks exclusive supplies alcohol to BWS, Dan Murphy’s and the ALH Pub Group.

Andrew Cailliard is a leading figure in the Australian wine industry. He is a Master of Wine, one of only 355 people in the world (18 in Australia) that have qualified to obtain this feat. He founded Langton’s Sydney, Australia’s leading wine auction house. Langton’s is responsible for the Classification of Australian wine (now in its 56th edition), a reference for wine collectors and observers of the fine wine scene. Andrew has chaired a number of wine competitions, written for various wine publications and in 2011 won the Australian His wines are also exported to China, including Hong Kong and Singapore. When a man of this calibre is recommending wines, you know that they are going to be good.

All the wines tasted were commercial wines: wines that are mass-produced for a wide market of consumers and made according to a set formula, year after year. These wines tend to emphasize broad appeal and easy drinkability. However, we learnt that due to their high quality, it is difficult to distinguish them from fine wines: wines of the highest quality. Andrew taught us that the best wines are not often the most expensive and it is important to know where to find good value.

The wines tasted included:

  1. Minchinbury Crisp Classic Brut $8.99
  2. Porta Dante Prosecco Superiore Docg $23.99
  3. Champagne Duperrey $39.99
  4. Balliamo Pinot Grigio $9.99
  5. Craftsman Style Series Pinot Grigio $11.99
  6. Lobster Reef Sauvignon Blanc $15.99
  7. Baily & Baily Venture Series Sauvignon Blanc $10.99
  8. Isabel Estate Sauvignon Blanc $23.99
  9. Baily & Baily Folio Chardonnay $16.00
  10. Nature’s Harvest Chardonnay $11.99
  11. La Plancheliere Cabernet D’Anjou Rose $12.99
  12. Cat Amongst The Pigeons  Jazz Cat Rose $23.00
  13. Gerard Betrand Cotes Des Roses Rose $19.99
  14. Frontera Pinot Noir $9.99
  15. Twelve Degrees Pinot Noir $15.99
  16. Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere $12.00
  17. Cat Amongst The Pigeons Barossa Shiraz $14.99
  18. Chris Ringland CR Shiraz $24.99
  19. Craftsman Winemaker Series Clare Valley Shiraz $13.99
  20. Parker Coonawarra Estate Coonawarra Series Cabernet Sauvignon $22.99
  21. Chris Ringland Reservation Shiraz $49.99
  22. Cockburn’s Quinta Dos Canais Vintage Port $59.99

The wines were all great and most were under $20!

So what is Andrew Caillard’s favourite wine out of the lot? It is Gerard Betrand Cotes Des Roses Rose sold for $19.99. La Cote des Roses is the name of the seaside between Narbonne and Gruissan village in France, and the bottle is beautiful with the bottom shaped as a rose flower.

All these wines are available for purchase at either Dan Murphy’s, BWS or both. Check online at: https://www.danmurphys.com.au or https://bws.com.au/