$7 cheap white from West Australia wins top wine award out of 2,500 entries

Wines made from the big supermarket chains dominate retail shelves across the country and now seem set to control Australia’s wine show circuit.

The Coles-owned 2017 Story Bay Semillon Sauvignon Blanc was named best Australian wine under $20 at the Winestate Magazine Wine of the Year awards in Adelaide.

Alana Langworthy’s Story Bay wine was chosen from a huge field of more than 2500 wines.

The WA-made wine from Margaret River is sold exclusively at the retailer’s liquor arms Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice for just $7.

The Winestate award is the second in three years for Coles, after it surprised the wine community in 2016 when its even cheaper 2015 Big & Bold Shiraz won the same gong.

A panel of expert judges that included winemakers and wine scientists chose the $7 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – a renowned blend of the Margaret River region that thrives in its Mediterranean-style climate – from a field of more than 2500 wines over 12 months of blind tastings.

The $7 cheapie is made by winemaker Alana Langworthy, who runs Nocturne Wines in Margaret River with husband Julian, chief winemaker at Deep Woods and Millbrook under the Fogarty Wine Group and one of Australia’s most decorated winemakers.

Winestate publisher and head of the judging panel Peter Simic said the wine stood out for its quality and value.

“It was very close indeed but this wine had the highest rating out of all the tastings at the lowest price, it certainly deserved the trophy,” he said.

“For the amazing affordable value price of $7, plus high blind judging score, this should be everybody’s everyday drinking wine.”

The Story Bay should also be a winner with Coles in the lead up to Christmas and a boost Nocturne’s profile as visitors swarm the Margaret River region this summer.

Ms Langworthy says her family-owned winery had built a strong relationship with Coles Liquor over seven years of supplying great exclusive wines.

“Margaret River is famous for style, but it’s not a region that people associate with value, so it’s an absolute delight to be recognised for a wine that everybody in Australia can enjoy,” Ms Langworthy said.

“The strength of the region is that it is so diverse, which allows us to work with fruit from a range of microclimates which provide different flavours.

“The result is a multi-dimensional wine which has textural crunch and depth of flavour that can stand toe-to-toe with wines selling for three times the price.”

Coles acting chief executive liquor and hotels Cathi Scarce said the Story Bay win was testament to the hard work of Ms Langworthy, who has made exclusive wines for Coles since 2012.

“To have this recognition from some of the industry’s top wine tasters is further evidence that we’re getting it right by working with the best winemakers in Australia to deliver amazing quality wines at a low  price,” she said.

Coles Liquor owns Vintage Cellars, First Choice and Liquorland while Woolworths has Dan Murphy’s, BWS and online retailer Cellarmasters.

Together with Aldi the trio form an imposing threat to smaller, boutique wines typical of WA with their private label wines like Story Bay that which can be made at lower costs.

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Henry Sapiecha

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