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LIFE IN ACCRA - Results of the 2017 Expat wine tasting....

Sep 12, 17 - Comments


A new post from our American Members Wes Shrum and Matthew LeBlanc, following their first Wine Tasting Blog post in 2012 and the second one in 2016.


For the first time in the history of the Expat Cheap Wine Awards, there is a tie for first place. Argentina versus California has resulted in a draw.

Some Ghana Expats have followed the annual tasting since 2011, but for others, the Expat wine tasting is very simple, answering the age-old question: What’s the best wine you can get, here in Ghana, when you have no money? It’s for cheapskates, that is. Though it was originally established by American cheapskates, anyone, of any nationality, can be a cheapskate, no doubt about that.

Rules: We buy a lot of cheap wine in Osu and around, then have quite a few blind tastings to narrow it down, two different wines each night. This year we set a limit of 50 cedis, maximum price. Competitive wines were from France, Spain, Argentina, Chile, U.S., Lebanon, Australia and South Africa. We pair them by continents until we get a winner. Only this year we didn’t.

The 2016 Condor Peak (Malbec) from Andean Vineyards (Argentina) shares first place with the 2015 Western Cellars (Cabernet Sauvignon) from California’s Central Valley (Bottle Number 03085). Or is that too much information?

Yes, there was extra time, but no final round. Why? Because there was no more wine to taste from these two bottles. During the course of the match, the competition bottles were completely consumed before any final decision could be rendered. While your humble organizers were initially taken aback by this irregularity, it was brought to their attention that this exact situation has also happened in some football matches, with the same outcome.

And here’s the best part: our “best value” award was really simple. For quality and price it’s Condor Peak, which was not only tied for first place but was the least expensive wine of the bunch at 20 cedis. Now, what could be better than that?



While neither Ronaldo nor Messi was on the pitch at the finish, the winner was Portugal in extra time.  

We do apologize for the lame hook, but Atlantico (2014) was the winner, from Portugal (Vinho regional Alentejano, 13.5%). The second place finisher was Hereford, a Malbec/Syrah/Sangionese blend from Argentina.  Both excellent value for money.  

Of course, we refer to what is formally called the “EXPAT CHEAP WINE TASTING,” our annual event in which select (or, at least, “selected”) wines are compared in a highly systematic, blind tasting involving expats.  Since this was founded in 1994 by Americans, who know nothing about wine, it was deemed right and proper for them to judge only those wines they could legitimately be allowed to taste—the cheapest.  This year 30 cedis ($7.55 today) seemed reasonable for a self-respecting cheapskate.  Wines are purchased at a variety of caves and shopping centers in Osu and Labone.  Expats rate the wines in a blind tasting involving single-elimination consensus.  (Taste overs are required when no consensus is reached on the first round.)

A variety of standards and criteria have been used in the past, but our World Cup format this year and last involves pitting regional groups (Europe/South America/etc) against each other through semi-finals and final rounds.  Special mention this year to the Colio River Rock Red, from Ontario, which beat the U.S. Selections to move to the semis.  Historical Note: Last years winner was Bouchard Merlot over Western Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon.

We are pretty sure that Ronaldo wished he had been there—and Messi retired again from international competition. 2015 

By a hair, the winner is Bouchard Merlot over Western Cellars Cabernet Savignon


Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in the Blog are those of the writer only and do not engage the responsibility of the website

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