Pairs - Echo Beach, Shingleback & McGuigan

Two postal boxes each containing two bottles of wine from two wine companies arrive on the same day. Both are new brands to market. Expressions made by McGuigan (Australian Vintage) and Echo Beach from Tyrrell’s.

They are both concept wines produced to meet fashion and attract a certain type of consumer. In the accompanying notes McGuigan say, “the target for these wines are females aged 25 to 44 years old who like to consume wine socially.” The Echo Beach promo points out, “the fresh, modern packaging reflects the vibrancy of the wines in the bottle and the contemporary nature of the blends.” I will also review a pair of Shingleback wines from the McLaren vale to round out my review of ‘pairs’.

The Expressions are from Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills and the Echo Beach wines are from Margaret River. The labels are light, attractive and easy on the eye. The price is $19 for Echo Beach and $17 for Expressions.

It’s the price bracket producers want to be in; there are profits in this sector, enough to spread around, which also means a fair price for the grower. The question is, are the wines worth it? 

It is a difficult question simply because there is so much good value wine around. A rough count reveals Dan Murphy’s stocks just over 1000 wines retailing under $10 and around 2000 retailing between $10 and $20.

If the Australian wine industry is to profitably grow we really need to see many less wines on the retail shelf under $10; the other side of the coin is, of course, the consumer wants to see more. Not that they want rubbish - but the past few years of oversupply have spoilt them and they have become used to getting $10 and over wines, for under $10.





McGuigan ‘Expressions’ Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2012:

This wine is aromatic but not as pungent as many New Zealand wines that really shoot up the nose then get the jack-hammer out to drill between the eyes from the inside.  It is a soft and fragrant drop, but no more than a pleasant wine, receiving 89 points. To be honest I would spend my $17 elsewhere.






McGuigan ‘Expressions’ Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2012:

For me this wine is merely the red version of the white above. Again it is soft and pleasant, but again it only receives 89 points and again I would spend my $17 elsewhere.





Echo Beach Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2011:

This wine has the same soft, fruity construction as the Langhorne Creek Shiraz. There is similarities, and yet the grape varieties are different and the regions thousands of kilometres apart. I score this wine 90 points, but I would still prefer to spend my $19 elsewhere.




Echo Beach Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012:

Of the wines tasted in this review, this one has an individuality that really reflects the style of the region. A very enjoyable wine - the Sauvignon Blanc and the Semillon varietals merge wonderfully, and add another dimension to the wine. I score it 94 points and thing is it definitely worth the $19 bottle price.


Shingleback McLaren Vale Red Knot Chardonnay 2012 and Shingleback McLaren Vale Red Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvèdre 2012:

It may seem strange to deal with a pair of wines rather than review them individually; even more so when one is red the other white – but bear with me. Both of these bottles are from the 2012 vintage and arrived, for me to review, as a pair. I tasted them as a pair and then took them to the table together, so treated them as a pair for the evening. They are a fine matching couple. Nothing upsetting from either and scoring an easy 92. Maybe one more point as they mature slightly. Both wines are fantastic value at less than $15.

Tony Keys


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