Tasmania Winery Tour for the Connoisseur – April 2016

Been to Burgundy? Toured Bordeaux? Done Italy?

Then here’s your chance to experience one of the hottest (and yet the coolest) wine destinations in Australia, and that’s the region of Tasmania.

I say “hottest” because Tasmania is definitely up amongst the top of many people’s bucket list as a tour destination, famous for fine food, great wines, friendly hospitality, natural beauty and compact size, meaning that unlike much of Australia, you’re not travelling great distances to get from one experience to the next. Hot too for its luxury boutique accommodation, of which Saffire Freycinet sits at the pinnacle, not only in Australia but against the best global competition.

But for wine-making, Tasmania is the coolest place in Australia. Go any further south from Australia and you’ll end up in Antarctica. The cool-climate wines from Tasmania are starting to make the experts sit up and take notice. The prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy for Australia’s best dry red wine has been won by a Tasmanian wine twice in the last five years. The best sparkling wines come from Tasmania and its top Pinot Noir wines are amongst the best in the New World according to Andrew Jefford of Decanter Magazine.

Clearly I’m biased, but I believe the best way to experience the ultimate that Tasmania has to offer in everything connected with the wines, the vineyards, and the winemakers, together with the fine food and luxury accommodation, is to join me as I lead Country Holidays “Tasmania Winery Tour for the Connoisseur” in April, and possibly in October. This is a tour, as it says, for the connoisseur. No golf, no fishing, no museums (well OK, there is MONA, but that doesn’t really count) no souvenir shops. And no 25 person bus with karaoke. Limited to a maximum of 8 persons, the tour is distinctly different from the usual whistle-stop cellar door tour. Last year, our clients plunged a pinot noir ferment, tasted grapes fresh from picking, sat in a winemaker’s kitchen into the early evening soaking in the wisdom, the wines and the generosity of the owner/winemaker, and on one occasion, we were led scrambling through the vineyard and its surroundings hunting for wasp nests – don’t worry, it was completely safe!

And in the middle of the tour, 2 nights of indulgence and relaxation at Saffire Freycinet.

Have a look at Country Holidays website (link below) to view the full details.

The winemakers are waiting to welcome you, the wines are ready to be tasted – I do hope you can join me.

CHT SD Tasmania - Apr 2016 SG

FOR FULL BROCHURE ON THE TOUR, PLEASE GO TO:

http://www.countryholidays.com.sg/en/signature-departures/14-apr-to-21-apr-2016-tasmania-wine-tour.html

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Are you a wine snob?

Wine wankers and wine snobs. There’s been a flourish of articles written about them recently. Well, I’m sick and tired of wine wankers and wine snobs.

Yep, absolutely fed up with the folks who write the articles, as in my humble opinion, they are the wine wankers and snobs.

Standard procedure – get a bunch of people together for a blind tasting, throw in a cheapie and throw in a Grange or something like that and hey presto! – the cheapie beats the Grange every time. The mocking conclusion is that spending money on Grange is pointless because a cheapie is just as good; that anyone who does spend the money is merely trying to impress; and that they wouldn’t know the difference between hermitage and shiraz if it wasn’t written on the back label.

Well let me tell you that the folks I drink with can pick a Grange in a blind line up within a nano-second of the those famous drops hitting their front palate. Why? Because they drink Grange all the time (not me, by the way) and they know exactly what it tastes like young, old and past it; good vintages and (yes, even for Grange) bad vintages. It’s as familiar to them as Yellow Tail is to my relatives. Put a current release Grange in front of some of my relatives and they’d spit it straight out. Too tannic, too hard, not quaffable. Not familiar.

And therein lies the key.

So, who cares if some people fit the mould of “more money than sense” as wine consumers. Don’t lump all of us enthusiasts into the category of wine snobs just because we enjoy immersing ourselves deeply into the language of wine and the associated camaraderie it brings. Waxing lyrically is half the fun. As that famous philosopher Kimmi Raikonnen said “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing”…

Here’s a challenge to the wine wanker/wine snob writers. Imagine you just won the $100 million lottery. Would you keep drinking exactly the same wines you’re drinking now, or would you start to experiment with some of world’s great wines, maybe ratchet up a bit in your spend. If the answer is not an emphatic “no change”, then ask yourself – who is the wine snob?

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TASMANIA WINS…AGAIN

A stunning result for Home Hill Wines of the Huon Valley in Tasmania to win the presitigious Jimmy Watson Trophy with their 2014 Kelly’s Reserve Pinot Noir. That’s the second time it’s gone to Tasmania (the first was Nick Glaetzer’s 2010 Mon Pere Shiraz) and the second for Pinot Noir. There’s a definitive trend emerging with the Jimmy Watson. Over the last few years, a cool-climate Shiraz (Glaetzer Dixon, Tasmania), and cool-climate Pinot (Yabby Lake, Mornington Peninsula) a Syrah instead of a Shiraz (SC Pannell, Adelaide Hills) and now another cool-climate Pinot (Home Hill, Tasmania). The classic areas and varieties may be feeling the heat!

Sales of the Home Hill Kelly’s Reserve Pinot Noir were quickly restricted at the winery to one bottle per person. Just nine people in Singapore were lucky enough to get a bottle through Tiger Wines.

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Speaking of Tasmania, I thought I’d have a look at some of the Tasmanian wines you can get other than through Tiger Wines. Here’s two – the good and the downright ugly!

2013 / Freycinet Vineyards / Tasmania / Pinot Noir / $118 at Century Cellars – Let’s talk about the wine first. A personal favourite. Halliday 97. One of Tasmania’s best. Now let’s talk about the price. The Century Cellars website promises wines “at the cheapest possible price”. Tiger Wines $79. Kapow! BBI 

2004 / Domaine A / Tasmania / Cabernet Sauvignon / $59 at Wine Exchange Asia – Not my favourite vintage but still worthy of 91 from Jeremy Oliver. The pricing? Well I don’t carry the 2004 any more, but I am the distributor for Domaine A in Singapore and I couldn’t have done it for $59. Exceptional bargain. BBI ♥♥♥♥♥

As usual in Singapore, it pays to do your homework.

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WINESPEAK 101 – How to waffle with the best of them. Today’s word – VIOLET

“Supple, velvety and distinctive for the lavish violet and incense overtones to the core of fresh currant and berry fruit”. 

Is that snobbish enough? Violet is a great descriptor for some Cabernets, as it was in this case.

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Wine appeals to every sense. The hearing takes pleasure from the sound of a pulled cork, the gentle trill of the pouring wine. The sight is refined and uplifted by the rich colour. The touch answers to the stimulus of smooth glass and delights in the wrist action when gently swirling the wine in the glass. The nose takes subtle joy from the elusive bouquet and the complex aroma. And the mouth is flattered by the sheer delight of the bigness of the wine, the grape ‘body’ and the feeling of satisfaction due to the temperature of the wine, the fineness of its alcohol, the incomparable softness of its velvety texture.” – The Aesthetics of Wine, March 1946

Oops. That’s blown it.

 

 

Halliday’s latest ratings- the good news, the bad news

You have to hand it to the team at Hardie Grant who now distribute James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion. The embargo on the ratings in the 2016 edition until 29th July 2015 creates an enormous sense of excitement…and then the ratings are out! If you’re in Australia and have managed to get to a bookshop then you’ve probably got all the information you need, but if you’re in Singapore like me, and therefore an on-line subscriber, then it’s a case of wait until the website can handle the traffic. It can’t today.

I managed to get a look into some of the new ratings last night whilst the Australians slept, and without doubt the most exciting for me was the awarding of 99 points to the 2014 Serrat Yarra Valley Shiraz Viognier.

I managed to get a little Serrat last year. This year, the allocation was very, very tight but I was over the moon just to get the tiniest amount of the 2014 Pinot Noir (no slouch at 96) and the 2014 Shiraz Viognier, and that was just last week. Thank you Tom Carson and Nadege Sune. No surprise that it’s all been sold in the last 24 hours. There’s 10 very happy people out there in the Little Red Dot.

It seems somewhat cruel to publish a rating for something you now can’t get (at least in Singapore) , but here it is:

Serrat SV

(with permission from Hardie Grant)

Once the Wine Companion website is back to normal, I’ll update you on what you can get from Tiger Wines in Singapore.

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“Wine is, in Belloc’s famous lines:-

‘….true begetter of all arts that be;

Wine, privilege of the completely free;

Wine the recorder; wine the sagely strong;

Wine, bright avenger of sly dealing wrong…..’

The Aesthetics of Wine, March 1946

Tasmania is hot…perhaps too hot

Tasmania is hot, perhaps too hot.

That might seem an odd statement to be made in June when much of Tasmania is covered by snow, but I’m not talking about the weather. I’m talking about Tasmanian wines being very much in vogue with mainland producers who are venturing south to procure fruit so that they can add a Tasmanian label to their portfolio.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s a testament to the quality of Tasmanian fruit and its cool-climate characteristics that “north islanders” are seeking it. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Queenstown in New Zealand but the stunning scenery and proximity to ski-fields meant that it became so popular as a place to have a second home that property prices went through the roof and many locals could no longer afford to live in their own town.

In the wine industry, Tasmania is drifting the same way. The cost of fruit in Tasmania has consistently been considerably higher than on the mainland. How much higher? Oh, very much higher! In 2013, the national average price per tonne for Pinot Noir was A$870. In the same year in Tasmania it was around A$2400. I don’t have figures for 2015 for the mainland but I can tell you that during my recent visit to Tasmania, I learned that some Tasmanian Pinot Noir was bid up to $4,500 a tonne by zealous mainland producers, I even heard unconfirmed reports of $5,000 a tonne. On one hand, that’s great news for Tasmanian producers, but not every winemaker in Tasmania owns a vineyard, and so those who don’t and have in the past scoured the island for the best fruit, now find themselves squeezed out by the rush for a Tasmanian label. To secure fruit in the future, some are now looking at establishing their own vineyards.

That’s just the price of success, but there’s another aspect of this “gold rush” that is less appealing, and definitely has that air of opportunism about it. There’s a few Tasmanian Pinots (and Chardonnays) being spruiked by mainland producers at, well, ambitious pricing, and with an arrogance behind the marketing that suggest that no-one had ever produced a decent Tassie Pinot before. There are mainland producers who have invested in and are committed to Tasmania; – names such as Shaw & Smith with Tolpuddle, Yalumba with Jansz, Taltarni with Clover Hill to name a few but there are others who are in for a quick buck and will be gone as soon as another region becomes the latest fad. I only hope they don’t trash the Tasmania brand as they go.

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On a completely different subject and nothing at all to do with wine, I’d like to introduce you to a long-time friend of ours, Leon Varley. We first met Leon in 1989 when he led us on walking trips in national parks in Zimbabwe, tracking black rhino in places like Chizarira NP and Kazuma Pan. We tracked 17 rhino in 1989, and when we went back again in 1991, most were gone, including the appropriately named Pinocchio.

570-33 22-10-89 Kazuma Pan

Leon and his wife Mags have been regular visitors to Singapore, usually on their way to see wildlife in this part of the world. Last year, we met them at Changi as they returned from an excursion to see the orangutan, and were surprised to see Leon walking with the aid of a stick. Somewhat laconically, Leon mentioned that he’d decided to climb Mt Kinabalu in a day, not just up, but down again on the same day, and that his knee was now paying the price.

Of itself, no big deal, except that he had committed in just three weeks time to break a walking record that he’d set as a young man (Leon is over 60) and that record was to walk 85 kilometres in a single 24 hour day.

Well, he’s at it again, this time attempting to walk from Victoria Falls to Msuna, a distance of 126 kilometres, between 9:00am on 30th June and 9:00am on the 1st July, all in the cause of raising money for wildlife protection. I’ve attached the flyer – I can say that I’ve trusted my life to Leon in the African bush so I have no hesitation in recommending this admirable cause.

Walking for Wild

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Question: Do we really need sommeliers to help us match wine to our food?

Apparently not. FairPrice are offering a range of wines that take all of the guesswork out of food and wine pairing. Welcome to “Chops &Burgers” Bordeaux! Or how about “Chicken & Turkey” Cote du Rhone; or “Salmon & Trout” Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon, “Cheese & Crackers” Beaujolais-Villages and “Lobster & Shrimp” Muscadet.

Well that’s done it for the sommeliers then. Next time you’re dining at that swishy, top floor revolving restaurant, you can tell the sommelier “I don’t need the wine list, just bring me the Chops & Burgers Bordeaux. And I want it fresh, no stale wine.”

IMG_20150607_0002

I’ll be back with the wine specials soon!

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THE WAY WE WERE: 1981 RHINE RIESLING

Why would an Australian winery call a wine Rhine Riesling? Why not just Riesling? Well, back then, a wine labeled Riesling in Australia may not have been Riesling at all. It’s just as likely to have been Semillon or Crouchen, so to indicate to the purchaser that the wine really was Riesling, it was called Rhine Riesling. Strange but true.

1981 Krondorf Rhine Riesling

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“A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine” . Louis Pasteur

 

BUYING WINE IN SINGAPORE IS EASIER THAN BUYING IN SOME STATES IN THE US. REALLY.

The results for the 25th Tasmanian Wine Show were announced recently and no surprise that there’s a few of the award winning wines in Tiger Wines line-up.

The 2002 Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged won Top Gold and “Best Late Disgorged Mature Vintage Sparkling Wine”. I have 9 bottles in stock at $135.

The 2011 Dawson & James Chardonnay won Top Gold for “2012 and older Oaked Chardonnay” and “Best Chardonnay” of the Show and “Best Wine of the Show”. Well done Peter Dawson and Tim James. None in Singapore but I have plenty that can come up in March if you order. $77 a bottle.

The 2013 Home Hill “Kelly’s Reserve” Pinot Noir won “Best Pinot Noir”, “Best Red of the Show” and Top Gold in the “2013 Pinot Noir” category. There’s usually only about 100 cases of this wine made and as you can imagine, with a show record like that following on from similar results for the 2011 and 2012 Pinot, demand definitely exceeds supply. Very excited to be able to confirm that Tiger Wines does have an allocation, although exactly what that is, I’m yet to know for sure. Last year, I got just 2 cases. If you’re interested in this wine, let me know ASAP at tigerwines@singnet.com.sg and I will add you to the list for divvying up once my allocation is confirmed. No guarantees that there’ll be enough for everyone though. Pricing will be confirmed later but the 2012 sold at $77.

And to top it off, Home Hill won the “2015 Pinot Noir Producer of the year”.

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Sometimes you have to look outside your own backyard to see how well off you are. Like, how well off we are in Singapore when buying wine.

Arrgh! I can hear the yelling now. Well off! What with the tax and everything!

Granted, the tax is better for consumers in Hong Kong (there isn’t any) but the tax really only hurts on the cheap stuff anyway. Remember, Grange is cheaper in Singapore than in Australia. And as I’ve said before, know what you’re doing and you can regularly buy Australian wine in Singapore cheaper than in Australia. Case in point is a wine I offer through Tiger Wines. The 2010 Apsley Gorge Pinot Noir is A$60 at Apsley Gorge’s on-line cellar door. You can have it delivered to your door here for S$65. Not bad eh?

And even with the new liquor laws, you can buy wine pretty easily.

Consider the barriers to buying in some states in the US.

It is only last November in Tennessee that it became legal to buy wine in grocery stores and in some states in the US, you can’t buy direct from wineries that are out-of-state. In Indiana for example (according to Wine Spectator), “direct shipping is prohibited, with on-site exception. Wineries must not be represented by an Indiana distributor, and consumers must visit the winery in person to have wine shipped to their home, up to 24 cases per year. Retailer shipping prohibited.

In Kentucky, “…residents may have wine shipped to them from small wineries making 50,000 gallons of wine or less per year, [in Arizona, it’s 20,000 gallons per year, in New York and Ohio it’s 250,000 gallons per year], however common carriers (FedEX, UPS) will not deliver to Kentucky.” In other states (Delaware for example) “shipping by common carriers is prohibited”.

And to make matters even more complicated, there can be limits on how much you can ship to your home, for example:

Zero cases per year; Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah

1 case per calendar quarter; Arkansas

1 case per month; District of Columbia, Nebraska

2 cases per year; Minnesota, Wyoming

2 cases per month; Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia

3 cases per year; Tennessee

4 cases per year; Texas

5 gallons every two months; Connecticut

6 cases per year; Hawaii

12 cases per year; Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wisconsin

18 cases per year; Maryland, Montana

24 cases per year; Idaho, Indiana

36 cases per year; New York

There’s also states where you must visit the out-of-state winery to ship or bring back home – Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Rhode Island

Buying wine in Singapore’s looking a whole lot simpler.

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Here’s today’s reviews:

Vintage unknown / B3 / Barossa Valley / Shiraz / $45 at Wine Connection – Not having a vintage meant I couldn’t find a specific rating for this offer but the label seems to hang around in the low 90 mark. Asking retail in Australia is A$25 so price here is fair without being generous. You can order this online and have it delivered to your door and I guess that’s when you find out what the year is. Probably bad luck if it’s 2011 from Barossa. I think you know my view on this, namely that I won’t buy if a retailer fails to quote the vintage. And if you’re already reading this blog, you probably won’t either. On pricing…I’m giving it BBI♥♥♥♥

2012/ Gibbston Valley Estate / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / $55 at Wine Exchange Asia – This sounds like a pretty good wine, with Raymond Chan putting it at 18.5/20 and with a RRP of NZ$45, the pricing here is reliable Wine Exchange Asia, meaning good wine, good value. BBI♥♥♥♥

2013 / Deakin Estate / Victoria / Shiraz / $24.90 at Wine Connection – Huh, what’s this? A Deakin Estate from “Victoria” (most likely irrigated Riverland) getting 4.5 stars? Well yes, because James Halliday gives it 91 points, and Campbell Mattinson gives it 90, and at $24.90, it actually does shape up as fair value. Never mind that the RRP is A$10 and it actually sells at A$7.99! If you must buy in this no-man’s land of pricing where the tax is still working against you, then go right ahead. Thanks, all the same but I won’t. BBI♥♥♥♥

2012 / Brand’s Laira / 1893 Foundation / Coonawarra / Shiraz / $30.50 from The Wine Palate – I saw this whilst walking past the shop in Katong V. Nice shop, helpful staff which can be something of a novelty in some wine shops here. Nice range including Torbreck and Yangarra Estate along with the usual Margaret River regulars. Huon Hooke gives it 92 and says it has “delicious flavour” Well, at $30.50, I don’t think you need ask for more than that. Looks like a no brainer to me. BBI♥♥♥♥

2007 / Two Hands / Ares / Barossa Valley – McLaren Vale / Shiraz / $110 by the bottle, $99 if you buy 6 at Wine Exchange Asia – About as far removed from the Deakin Estate as possible. Retailing at A$165 down-under. Wine Advocate gave it 91 (“outstanding”) but thought that at US$136, it was overpriced. Well, that’s been taken care of then! Nothing subtle about the wine, it’s a biggy, but there’s good value here. BBI♥♥♥♥♥

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WINESPEAK 101 – How to waffle with the best of them – Today’s word ASPARAGUS

“Palate held big flavours with upfront grassy asparagus characters that commanded attention. A wine for the admirers of the New Zealand style and there are many.

This was a review of a Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc and I think I can taste it now. There’s no mistaking asparagus. I wonder if it does next morning what real asparagus does?

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“The yeast species Brettanomyces bruxellensis, is better known in wine circles simply as brett…..It imparts an assortment of distinctive aromas and flavours, which can fluctuate significantly in intensity. At lower levels, some find it pleasantly spicy, with cedar and earth undertones. Higher concentrations smell of sweaty saddle leather, barnyard, burnt plastic or Band-Aids, often turning austere and metallic on the finish” – Daniel Sogg writing in Wine Spectator, March 2006

One for the ratings chasers…

I’ll get back to reviewing what’s on offer by everyone else out there in Singapore but for this post, I’ll be unashamedly concentrating on what’s on offer by Tiger Wines, and that’s because there’s been such a rush of great ratings over the last month or so that I just can’t keep them to myself.

Let’s start with The Wine Front, one of my favourite ratings websites. Here’s what they’ve been rating that you should be able to get your hands on through Tiger Wines:

2012 / Holyman / Project X / Tasmania / Pinot Noir / A$90 – rated 95 by Gary Walsh – I’ve got 4 dozen of these ready to come up in January. Rare as hen’s teeth. It’ll be offered here around the $105-$110 mark when it gets here. Get in early!

2013 / Holyman / Tasmania / Chardonnay / A$45 – rated 96 by Gary Walsh – 4 dozen of these too, although half have gone already to pre-arrival orders. Will list here just short of $70.

2013 / Mayer / Big Betty / Yarra Valley / Shiraz – rated 94 by Gary Walsh – a handful in stock in Singapore and a handful in Melbourne. $66 will secure.

And from James Halliday, only the one recent rating covering my stock, but a pretty nice rating it is:

2014 / 3 Drops / Mount Barker / Riesling – rated 96 by James Halliday – it’ll be leaving Perth tomorrow so should arrive end of next week. Expect it to be around $40ish.

I picked up a copy of Jeremy Oliver’s 2015 Australian Wine Annual when I was in Melbourne recently. In Jeremy’s Top 100 wines, he listed the following Tiger Wines stock:

2002 / Radenti / Tasmania / Sparkling – rated 96 – This is Jeremy’s top sparkling. OK, so not strictly in stock as it’s available only from cellar door and it does have a limit per customer but if you want some, I’ll talk with the good folks at Freycinet Vineyard. But…it won’t be here until January. And in case you wondered, yes I’ve got mine.

Huon Hooke & Gourmet Traveller Wine have also just released “The Wine Guide 2015” and in this day of digital everything, it’s still nice to be able to get a solid, hardback publication to browse through. Here’s the important bits (to me!) that I gleaned from the Top Rated section by variety:

2013 / Bay of Fires / Tasmania / Riesling95 by Huon – I’ve got 24 bottles of it ready to go at $48. Delighted to have some of the Bay of Fires range here.

2012 / Tolpuddle / Tasmania / Chardonnay96 pts – currently out of stock but will be re-ordering. Last listed at $88.

2012 / Freycinet Vineyard / Tasmania / Chardonnay96 pts – I’ve got 14 bottles in Singapore @ $58. A bargain.

2013 / Bay of Fires / Tasmania / Sauvignon Blanc95 pts – 13 ready to go @ $48

2004 /Arras / Grand Vintage / Tasmania / Sparkling97 pts – 12 bottles @ $87. Put it up against Champagne and watch the smiles.

2002 / Arras / EJ Carr Late Disgorged / Tasmania /Sparkling96 pts – Who’d have thought you’d ever be able to buy this in Singapore. Well, you can. I have a dozen at $135 each. A bargain compared to vintage French fizz. And oh yes, it is stunning. Jeremy Oliver thinks so too and gives it 95.

2004 / Arras / Blanc de Blanc / Tasmania / Sparkling95 pts – 24 bottles of this @ $94. Halliday gives it 97!

2012 / Freycinet Vineyard / Tasmania / Pinot Noir95 pts – Just 4 left in Singapore @ $79. A whisper that the 2013 has just been rated 97 by Halliday. I’ve got some coming, probably will come up in February. Let me know if you’d like to be put on the allocation list.

2012 / Tolpuddle / Tasmania / Pinot Noir95 pts – I’ve got 9 bottles @ $99.

2012 / Waterton / Tasmania / Shiraz95 pts – A Tassie shiraz in Huon’s top list? Yep, that’s right. 18 bottles @ $67.

More recently, Huon Hooke has reviewed the new releases of Hickinbotham Wines and it’s a stunning collection:

2012 / Hickinbotham / Clarendon Vineyard Brooks Road / Shiraz96 pts – RRP A$75

2012 / Hickinbotham / Clarendon Vineyard The Peake / Cabernet Shiraz96 pts – RRP A$150

2012 / Hickinbotham / Clarendon Vineyards / Trueman / Cabernet95 – RRP A$75

I’ll have small volumes of each of the Hickinbotham coming up in the first quarter.

No longer do you have to look at the gongs and think – I wish I could get that wine in Singapore!

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WINESPEAK 101 – How to waffle with the best of them

Today’s words – Red Candy

Amazingly complex, offering a seamless, sophisticated mix of ripe blueberry, currant and hard red candy flavours, with a firm, loamy earth foundation”.

I had a look on Wikipedia to see if candy can be soft, and yes it can, so the reference to hard red candy is quite specific. I think you can taste it now. Did you guess the grape though? It’s Cabernet Sauvignon…

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And just in time for that Xmas party…

Say you are giving a party outside (or this is practical inside too) spread a long table with a gay cloth, put candles in empty wine bottles and light them. Make a centerpiece of the wine bowl, place your glassware nearby and the food in small dishes filled with bite sized pieces…the ‘wine bowl’ can be anything you possess, even a washing up dish if you decorate it prettily enough. Covered with cellophane, clusters of plastic grapes tied on (easily got at most shops today), or any artificial fruit or flowers.” – Wine Talk, Mrs Rada Penfold Russell, Penfolds Advertising Director approx 1978

Sula and Grover, here we come…

We’re off to southern India again to drive an Ambassador (possibly someone’s taxi) around Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It’s our third time so either we’re crazy or there’s something very special about these trips. A couple of photos might help you to decide. Sign up for next year at www.classiccarjourneys.co.uk

0196-LB 6-10-09 Calicut to Cochin0477-LB 10-10-09 Kurumba to Ooty141-DB 29-10-10 Munnar to Coonoor0061-DB 4-10-09 Calicut

On the wine front, two bits of news. Firstly, Tiger Wines is bringing up the full range of Arras premium sparkling wines from the EJ Carr Late Disgorged to the Brut Elite NV 701. They don’t get much better than this in Australia. We’re also bringing up te Bay of Fires Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Pinot Gris 2014 and Riesling 2013. Have a look at www.tiger-wines.com for details.

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The two month promotion on Stefano Lubiana wines is still running at Mezza9, until the end of October, and we recently supplied Tetsuya’s Waku Ghin restaurant with wines from 5 Tasmanian producers for a Tourism Australia event. The wines that went to Waku Ghin were the 2008 Apsley Gorge Chardonnay, 2006 Domaine A Cabernet, Freycinet Vineyards Botrytis, the 2013 Pressing Matters R9 Riesling and the 2010 Stefano Lubiana Estate Pinot Noir. A great selection.

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Here’s some current deals:

2005 / Jasper Hill / Georgia’s Paddock / Heathcote / Shiraz / $85 a bottle or $79 in a six pack from Wine Exchange Asia – Rated 94 by James Halliday on release and sold for A$72 at that point. Still drinking through to 2020. Last auctioned at Langtons for A$55 so if you bought it at that price, it’d easily cost you S$85 to get it here. Save yourself the trouble and buy local. BBI♥♥♥♥

2012 / Shottesbrooke / McLaren Vale / Cabernet / $36 a bottle or $33 in a six pack at Wine Directions. 91 from Campbell Mattinson, sells for A$20 downunder, another solid buy. BBI♥♥♥♥

2014 / Pike’s / Traditionale / Clare Valley / Riesling / $36 a bottle or $33 in a six pack at Wine Directions – I’m a sucker for Riesling so I’d buy this except I’ve got a cellar full of Riesling and my wife doesn’t drink it. 94 from Gary Walsh who says, yes it will go for another 10 years but why wait? Retails at A$26 so price here is very good. BBI♥♥♥♥

 

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“Parties, where only wine is served as a beverage, are still novelties at this stage in Australia, unlike Europe, England and now California. Remember that wine can be drunk at any time of the day or evening, still or sparkling. Iced Chablis or Moselle for instance, is a lovely refresher, say at noon. Wine is healthier and cheaper than spirits. The teenager (!) should be encouraged to understand about wines, it is especially suited to their forms of entertainment, and to their budgets.” – Wine Talk, Mrs Rada Penfold Russell, Penfolds Advertising Director approx 1978

 

 


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Wine quotations

"A good bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world" - Louis Pasteur

“The unexacting palates of the masses…are content to ask no question [on origin] so long as a florin or half-a-crown will purchase a roomy flagon of strong , full-bodied, fruity wine” – CE Hawker writing in 1907