A good Central Otago pinot for S$36 and something completely different – Muscat & Tokay from All Saints.

Mount Difficulty:

Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of pinot coming out of New Zealand these days, and like the sauvignon blanc not surprisingly, not all of it’s good. I’ve seen some pretty ordinary NZ pinots priced way, way up, even higher than the 2008 Ata Rangi which rates as one of the best around. I see Wine Exchange Asia still have some of the Ata Rangi on sale at S$72, which is a terrific comparative price. I’ve already got mine.

But if you want an everyday drinker that still rates OK, then have a look at the Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg:

2008 / Mount Difficulty / Roaring Meg / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / S$36 at Wine Exchange Asia – Rated 90 points by Wine Spectator in the US, where it sells for US$23 with recommended drinking now to 2014. In New Zealand its RRP is NZ$35 but it gets discounted down to about NZ$28 or S$27. Add in freight, duty, VAT and you’d be looking at around S$38, so the price at Wine Exchange Asia of S$36 looks a pretty fair deal to me. By the way, unless I’m mistaken, Roaring Meg refers to a six kilometer stretch of whitewater on the Kawarau River that runs through a steep gorge that connects one side of Central Otago (think Chard Farm, Gibbston Valley, Peregrine, Amisfield etc.) with the other side (Felton Road, Bald Hills etc.).

Ride the Rutherglen Red:

Back in the 70s, a “red rattler” train used to leave Spencer Street Station in Melbourne early on a Sunday morning, travel up to Rutherglen, bus the passengers around the various wineries in that area and then back on the train to the sound of flagons of muscat and tokay clinking in the aisles and under the seats. Oh, and a fair degree of snoring.

I didn’t expect to find Rutherglen stickies on offer in Singapore, but they are, and mostly at a reasonable price. They’re available at The Cellar Door at VivoCity and I’ve picked a few to review here:

All Saints / Rutherglen / Muscat / S$29.50 – Epicure gave this 4.5 stars and suggested the RRP is A$35, so the Singapore price looks pretty good.

All Saints / Grand / Rutherglen / Muscat / S$72.50 – Well you’d expect something called grand to be a notch up in price and rating and it is. WineEstate gave this 5 stars and an Australian RRP of A$62, so it just sneaks within my BBI for value.

All Saints / Grand / Rutherglen / Tokay / S$72.50 – Ditto for the tokay. James Halliday gives it 95 points, so 5 stars too.

The folks at Rutherglen have a saying that “Sydney has a great harbour, but Rutherglen has a great port”. But, ports are for another day.


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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