Coles ‘2018 Best Of’ promotion
If you’re a regular Vintage Cellars shopper, you’ve probably noticed that once a year they promote a collection of wines as their picks of the best wines (and spirits and other drinks) of their type for the preceding year. They call them the ‘Best of’ award winners.
In my tastings, several of these wines were very impressive and excellent value for money, and it’s tempting to conclude the VC selection panel has done its job well.
Charles de Cazanove Tradition Brut Vintage 2007 (AUD $61.10) was their best Champagne; St Hallett Lore Of The Land Barossa Shiraz 2016 (AUD $27) was best value red wine; Coal Pit Tiwha Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 (AUD $42.20; but I was sent the 2017) was best premium red wine; Devil’s Corner Tasmanian Riesling 2017 (AUD $23) was best value white wine; Robert Bowen Margaret River Chardonnay 2016 (AUD $47; but I was sent the 2015) was best premium white wine; Bird In Hand Adelaide Hills Sparkling Pinot Noir 2017 (AUD $22.20) was best non-vintage (sic) sparkling wine; and Château Cavalier Grand Cavalier Provence Rosé 2016 (AUD $40) was best rosé.
The three imports – the Champagne, Kiwi pinot noir and French rosé – are imported by James Busby Fine Wines, Coles Liquor’s importing company, and are therefore exclusive to Coles Liquor outlets. The St Hallett shiraz is produced exclusively for Coles, and Robert Bowen has limited distribution in the eastern states, so that wine is almost a Coles exclusive, too. So, five of the seven winners they sent me to taste would seem to be tied to Coles. The other two are freely available.
So, are we to believe that these wines were absolutely the best of what was available, and the fact that Coles has most of the wines exclusively, or almost exclusively, played no part in their selection?
How credible is this promotion?