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Published:  23 July, 2008

The majority of major wine brands are a big, bland let-down', according to the March issue of the Consumer Association's Which? magazine. The campaigning magazine conducted a blind tasting of a Chardonnay and Merlot from each of the UK's top-10 best-selling wine brands and concluded that a worryingly high number were below average and poor performers'. No wine scored higher than 13 out of 20 - although Southcorp's 2004 Lindemans Cawarra Cabernet/Merlot, with an RRP of 4.49, was awarded best buy'. Also with 13 points were, in the reds, 2002 Rosemount Diamond Label Merlot; 2004 Diamond label Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon; 2003 Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz; and 2004 Bin 40 Merlot. The whites were led by 2004 Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay and 2003 Hardys Nottage Hill Chardonnay. Overall Southcorp's Lindemans and Rosemount fared best and would have had a clean sweep with Penfolds if Constellation's Hardys had not come third. Which? editor Malcolm Coles said: The majority of the big brand wines we tasted were mediocre, and we're not talking about bottles that cost three quid either - some of them sell for 6 or 7.' Bottom of the pile were Blossom Hill White; 2004 Jacob's Creek Semillon/Chardonnay; Piat d'Or Medium White; Blossom Hill Red; Piat d'Or Red; and 2003 Banrock Station Merlot. Percy Fox marketing manager Emma Chamberlain said: It seemsthis tasting was set up by wine experts for wine experts, without perhaps thedue consideration for price points nor what tickles the majority of consumers' taste buds.'