A corker for Aldi as its wines shine at 2014 Sydney International Wine Competition

Jane Holroyd
A focus on the consumer is believed to have contributed to Aldi's wine success.
A focus on the consumer is believed to have contributed to Aldi's wine success. Photo: Leanne Pickett

 Wines made for budget supermarket chain Aldi have taken out three top awards at this year's Sydney International Wine Competition.

Aldi's $12.99 Tudor Central Victorian Shiraz 2013 received two trophies; best red table wine and best lighter-bodied dry red table wine in a field of over 1000 red wine contenders. This included Wynns Coonawarra Estate C.E. Black Label Shiraz and Yalumba's Paradox Barossa Shiraz, which both retail for about $45.

Aldi's Monsigny Premier Cru Champagne ($29.99) was awarded the competition's best sparkling wine trophy.

Aldi's successful wines ranged in price from $4.99 to $29.99.
Aldi's successful wines ranged in price from $4.99 to $29.99. Photo: Supplied

The wines were assessed by a panel of international and local judges in a blind tasting.

Six Aldi wines, including a $4.99 Spanish tempranillo and three other Aldi labels priced below $10, were ranked in the top 280 wines at the competition. Two other Aldi wines - a $6.99 local cabernet sauvignon blended for the discount supermarket chain and the A.C. Byrne & Co semillon sauvignon blanc from Margaret River - ranked in the top 100 wines.

The $4.99 Aldi tempranillo, El Toro Macho, was one of only two tempranillos to make it though to the competition final. The other was the Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels tempranillo, which retails at $35.

Good Food wine reviewer Ralph Kyte-Powell said the highly regarded Sydney International Wine Competition, now in its 34th year, was unusual because unlike most Australian wine competitions it asked judges to evaluate wines on how they pair with food.

Kyte-Powell said Aldi's imported products in particular often represented outstanding value. "It is a surprise when you get wines for under $10 that are really good examples of European regional styles," he said.

Competition organiser Warren Mason described Aldi's showing as "rather extraordinary" and attributed it in part to Jason Bowyer, Aldi Australia's wine and sparkling wine buying director.

"They are blending wines with the consumer base rather than judges in mind," Mr Mason said. "Aldi are looking for wines that go beyond technical correctness to ones that pair well with food."

Bruce Tyrrell, managing director of long-established Hunter Valley winery Tyrrell's Wines, agreed Aldi offered good value in its wine range. "Basically what you get from Aldi is cheap and bloody good quality." Tyrrell said he had sold wine to Aldi in the past.

Tyrrell's has not entered wines in the Sydney International Wine Competition in recent years. Bruce Tyrrell said this was not a reflection on the way the competition was run, but was because the number of wine shows around the country meant he prioritised the state-based agricultural society wine competitions, which he believes are viewed as more prestigious by the public.

Aldi's wine buyer, Jason Bowyer, said in a statement that sampling widely was the key to his team's success. "We are committed to tasting and sampling every wine product that is presented to us, often that is how you discover the hidden gems."

The standout wine of the competition overall was a semillon from Coolangatta Estate. The South Coast winery's 2006 Estate Grown Semillon received three trophies, including best wine of the competition.


The Wine Society (Australia) Perpetual Trophy for Best White Table Wine of Competition

Mark De Havilland Memorial Trophy for Best Red Table Wine of Competition

SIWC Perpetual Trophy for Runner up to Best Wine of Competition

Joy Lake Memorial Championship Perpetual Trophy for Best Wine of Competition

For a full list of award winners visit: top100wines.com