Last year, at the height of Bordeaux auction hysteria, WineBid.com made a market for nineteen bottles of my classic wines laying in the cellar untouched for too many years. It connected buyers, seemingly Hong Kong brokers, with wines I originally paid $50-$75 at exaggerated price points representing handsome profits. Two summers ago, I chronicled that WineBid sale process here at WineZag. The whole affair also created severe separation anxiety rooted in the sale of wines I cared for over twenty years. They were stalwart participants in the launch of my personal wine cellar and life of wine enthusiasm. Since that sale, I have been playing with the platform and trying to learn more about the secondary market for wine.
One of the most helpful pieces of functionality on the site is the ability to set up custom searches that generate weekly email alerts (WineBid launches a new sale every week) for wines that match “favorite” search criteria. Here is my current “favorite” search criteria:
My anniversary year is 1985 and my birth year is 1959. I hope to be married and alive for a long time, so I can’t get enough of these wines and continually search for bottles boasting good provenance since 1959 and 1985. I save some of my favorite wine regions, producers, and have fun changing those over time. Also just for fun, I slice and dice Parker ratings (WineBid puts an emphasis on those ratings) and price points to produce searches that produce values in relation to the ratings.
One of my searches that remains lazily unchanged since I started buying and selling on WineBid is RP 96-100 points, $25-$59 price range. Isn’t that interesting search criteria?! Can you guess what wine region continually dominates the search result?
Right, Australian wines in the current WineBid sale represent 20 of the 22 search returns against this low price point/high Parker rating search. I guess that’s not a big surprise to anyone that follows Parker (who, for the record, continues to be a revered figure for the Wine Advocate’s role in developing my own wine enthusiasm in the ’80’s and early 90’s until my palate shifted away from big overpowering wines to pretty graceful wines) or enjoys maligning this wildly influential and successful critic’s bent towards big fruit.
The two non-Australian wines produced by the search are 96 pts $75 1997 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Heimbourg Turckheim and 96 pts $85 2001 Turley Pringle Family Zinfandel. The Zind Humbrecht turned my head with interest.
Are the Australian wines undervalued or overrated vis a vis the global wine marketplace? Australia dominates this search criteria every week. Are they simply jammy Parker favorites that turn off collectors and enthusiasts with overpowering fruit and missing classical styling, or are they indeed great wines that the world just continues to overlook? From my own vantage point and palate preference, the former is true. Many of these wines that I have bought and tasted lean towards fat and hot, with giant fruit profiles that do not advance the way I prefer, failing to produce secondary flavors nor aromas with neither balance nor increasing elegance.
I am not maligning the wines, instead just refraining from drinking them. They are not my style, but might be others’. They certainly represent Parker’s and now Lisa Perotti-Brown’s preferred style. What do you think, are Australian wines undervalued or overrated in relation to wines from other global wine regions?
Note: If WineBid sounds interesting to you, here is the series of posts about my own experience selling wines on the auction platform: