McGuigan Debuts The Shortlist

Written by neal on May 20th, 2011


Last week we were invited to the lovely Kensington Roof Gardens to try McGuigan Wines’ new premium range, “The Shortlist”, to have a bite to eat and to have the chance to talk to Neil McGuigan about his wines.

Kensington Roof Gardens

The lovely Kensington Roof Gardens on a great evening in London

We tried 7 wines over the evening, including a nice sparkling Pinot Noir (accompanied by canapés) to kick off the evening.  Here is a quick review of the wines that were matched to the meal:

2005 McGuigan Shortlist Riesling

This wine was quite interesting.  It had an almost oakey-petrol flavour, which was brought out simply by age.  It had hints of citrus, especially lime and nice florals on the nose. It certainly doesn’t taste like an Alsatian/German Reisling, which is not a bad thing.  Overall, it was the surprise of the evening and a great experience.

2010 McGuigan Shortlist Chardonnay

First off, I’m not a huge fan of Chardonnay in general so take my review with a grain of salt.  Plenty of citrus and peach/nectarine fruit on the pallet.  I personally found the oak on this wine a little overpowering.

2009 McGuigan Shortlist GSM

This wine was a little disappointing to start with, but was probably the best wine matching with the food, which was where it started to shine.  The hints of chocolate and oak on the nose with the fruits and spice on the pallet complemented the fillet of beef perfectly.  Definitely a wine best enjoyed with food!

2009 McGuigan Shortlist Shiraz

This wine is a great example of why Shiraz is a speciality of the Barossa Valley.  Big flavours of black fruit, cherry, vanilla and leather dominate this powerhouse.   The tannins are well integrated and the finish is impressively long.

2009 McGuigan Shortlist Cabernet

This was my favourite wine of the evening.  The oak is well-used in the wine and the flavours of blackcurrant and spice are well mixed with a nice level of acidity.

We finished off the evening with some Handmade Shiraz, which was an excellent dessert wine.

It was great to meet Neil McGuigan and hear him talk about his wine and his £50 bottle of wine philosophy — though I suspect it is actually the “$100 bottle of wine philosophy” 🙂 It is nice to hear from a winemaker who is passionate about his trade and the McGuigan family’s commitment to quality.

Neil McGuigan talking about the Shortlist

Neil McGuigan talking about the Shortlist and his £50 bottle of wine philosophy

You can find the Shortlist at Majestic Wines:

I suspect that Majestic will not have much trouble selling off the entire lot quite quickly!

McGuigan Shortlist Launch Video from Majestic

Press release below:

McGuigan Debuts The Shortlist

– Majestic Lists New Premium Range-

Leading Australian producer McGuigan Wines has unveiled the latest addition to its multi award-winning portfolio – The Shortlist.

Due on shelf late May, the premium range has been listed by Majestic with an RRP of £14.99. Majestic has taken on the entire UK allocation of the limited release label in what is one of the largest orders of premium Australian wine ever placed by the retailer.

Majestic Wine Buyer Matt Pym explains: “On a recent visit to Australia I tasted through The Shortlist range with Chief Winemaker Neil McGuigan. These limited release wines showcase McGuigan’s best vineyard sites and really prove once and for all that Australia can deliver at the premium end of the market. Excited by what I tasted I immediately snapped up the entire UK allocation.”

IWSC Winemaker of the Year and IWC White Winemaker of the Year Neil McGuigan officially launched the new premium range at a gala winemaker dinner in London on 12th May. Attended by over 70 members of the wine trade, including Majestic staff, industry influencers and the media, The Shortlist range highlights McGuigan’s commitment to pushing the premium credentials of what is now the 14th biggest selling wine brand in the UK.

The five-strong regionally focused range features Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, an aged Eden Valley Riesling, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Shiraz and a Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre blend, also from the Barossa.

Commenting on the development, Paul Schaafsma, UK & European GM for brand owner Australian Vintage said: “The addition of The Shortlist range to the McGuigan portfolio is a great boost for not only McGuigan, but the Australian category in general.  The potential for premium Australia in the UK is untapped – one of our key areas of focus for 2011 is to really drive the premium message behind McGuigan and Australia as a whole.”

“We’re delighted that Majestic are have taken the entire allocation of The Shortlist, which further cements McGuigan’s standing as the fastest growing global wine brand in the UK top 20 with 62% growth in the past 12 months and annual sales of £65M.”