Top 30 for $30
Think you’re getting the best price for your wine purchases? My latest findings might surprise you. In assembling my Top 30 for $30, have a guess who came up trumps with the best price exactly three-quarters of the time: cellar doors, independent retailers or chain stores?
Following the viral response to my Top 20 for $20 last week, it’s worth emphasising that spending a little more pays great dividends in the wine world.
Investing another $5 or $10 opens up a much broader array of possibilities. This year I reviewed just 100 wines under $20 and an incredible 550 between $20 and $30!
There are no rules to my selection except that all had to be currently available and score at least 94 points. It turns out that my top whites encompass six different varieties (led confidently by riesling), but reds are constrained to just cabernet sauvignon (first and foremost), supported by shiraz and grenache and its blends. As much as I adore pinot noir, it really does not sing under $30.
My top wine of the year under $30 is Turkey Flat Barossa Valley White Marsanne Roussanne 2019 (scroll down for the fascinating story!).
All officially retail between $20 and $30, and the prices I’ve listed are the best street prices today. Oh, and it’s independent retailers that deliver the best deals in three-quarters of cases.
Seppelt Salinger Vintage Cuvée Henty Méthode Traditionnelle 2013 (from $27 in independent retailers)
Dandelion Vineyards Wishing Clock of the Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (from $17 in independent retailers)
Peter Lehmann Wines Hill & Valley Eden Valley Riesling 2020 (from $18 in independent retailers)
Hahndorf Hill White Mischief Grüner Veltliner 2020 (from $20 in independent retailers)
Kaesler Barossa Valley Old Vine Semillon 2020 (from $20 in independent retailers)
Tahbilk Museum Release Marsanne 2015 (from $20 in independent retailers)
O’Leary Walker Polish Hill River Clare Valley Riesling 2020 (from $20 in independent retailers)
Irvine Spring Hill Eden Valley Riesling 2020 (from $20 in independent retailers)
Tamar Ridge Tasmania Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (from $21 in chain stores)
Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2020 ($23 in independent retailers)
Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (from $25 in independent retailers)
Turkey Flat Barossa Valley White Marsanne Roussanne 2019 ($25 direct from Turkey Flat)
Laurel Bank Tasmania Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ($25 direct from Laurel Bank)
Freycinet Vineyard Tasmania Riesling 2020 (from $27.50 in independent retailers)
Knappstein Ackland Vineyard Watervale Riesling 2020 (from $28.50 in chain stores)
Devil’s Corner Tasmania Pinot Noir Rosé 2020 (from $22 in independent retailers)
Dandelion Vineyards Fairytale of the Barossa Rosé 2020 (from $20 in independent retailers)
Pepperjack Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (from $17 in chain stores)
Turkey Flat Butchers Block Barossa Valley Red Blend 2019 (from $17 in independent retailers)
Peter Lehmann The Bond Barossa Grenache 2018 (from $19 in independent retailers)
Peter Lehmann Hill & Valley Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (from $20 in independent retailers)
Dandelion Vineyards Pride of the Fleurieu Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (from $20 in independent retailers)
Teusner Bilmore Barossa Valley Shiraz 2019 (from $20 in independent retailers)
Best’s Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (from $23 in independent retailers)
Schwarz Wine Co. The Grower Shiraz Barossa Valley 2019 (from $23 in independent retailers)
Cooper Burns Barossa Valley GSM 2019 (from $23 in independent retailers)
Lake Breeze Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (from $24 in chain stores)
Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2020 ($25 in independent retailers)
Heathvale Vineyard Estate Barossa Cabernet 2019 (from $27 in independent retailers)
Heathvale Vineyard Estate Barossa Shiraz 2019 (from $27 in independent retailers)
Mountadam Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($28 direct from Mountadam)
Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (from $28 in independent retailers)
Anvers Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($30 direct from Anvers)
Yalumba FSW Wrattonbully Botrytis Viognier 2020 (from $27 in independent retailers)
Wine of the Year under $30
The background to my wine of the year under $30 (Turkey Flat Barossa Valley White Marsanne Roussanne 2019) is fascinating, as recounted in the following email from its maker Mark Bulman after I published my note and 96 point score:
Great note on our 2019 white for the Halliday Companion! You really hit the nail on the head on what we were trying to achieve (to the point that I thought I must have talked to you about the wine).
That wine has always struggled to get traction and struggles to sell. We had a bit of a chat about it amongst the winemaking team and thought, ‘Stuff it, we have nothing to lose, lets show some winemaking flex and make something we all like to drink: White Burgundy (or modern Oz Chardy).’ It’s not something I’d usually do or have done, generally subtle style changes and improvements are a better way to go for traditional brands, and respect to both site and varieties should be foremost… but… sometimes it’s fun to challenge yourself and mix it up a bit.
We were/are very happy with the result but were surprised how few critics picked up on the style change, that’s what made reading your note so enjoyable.
Read my review of Turkey Flat Barossa Valley White Marsanne Roussanne 2019 in the Halliday Wine Companion.
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