Archive for August, 2010

All Blacks beat the Wallabies, and now the Kiwis are scoring tries on wine – great deals on Pegasus Bay and Bilancia

Firstly, an apology, of sorts. I’ve learnt in my 10 over years in Singapore that little stands still and the same can be said for wine buying. Just because you’ve been buying your favourite wine at your favourite place for some time doesn’t mean that’s always going to be the case. Hence the need to grab specials when you can, hence the need for me to tell you about them as soon as they lob, hence the need for these frequent postings. So apologies for the number of postings, but blame the sellers (and tell them to keep it up!). Now, on to the wines.

As an Australian, I learnt a long time ago that if you’re ever in New Zealand when the All Blacks and the Wallabies play, you’re in a no-win situation. If the All Blacks win, it’s going to be pretty miserable. If the All Black’s lose, it’s best to keep your mouth shut. Well, this is no time to keep quiet on some terrific specials from The Cellar Door.

2006 / Pegasus Bay / Waipara / Sauvignon Blanc Semillon / S$30 – I have ratings from two sources on this wine. The first is from WineEstate magazine that gives it 4.5 stars and the second is from Michael Cooper who gives it 4.5 stars too, and suggests drinking now to 2013. Looks like the average RRP is NZ$27 so at S$30, this is solid value indeed.

2007 / Pegasus Bay / Waipara / Sauvignon Blanc Semillon / S$30 – Same price, same rating, this time from Bob Campbell (93 points), and the value is the same too. A distinctly good buy.

2006 / Pegasus Bay / Waipara / Chardonnay / S$37 – Respected across the board. Gourmet Traveller Wine gave it 4.5 stars as did Bob Campbell (91 points). Michael Cooper gives it 5 stars and suggests drinking now to 2014. RRP is NZ$36 so at S$37, what are you waiting for?

2007 / Pegasus Bay / Waipara / Pinot Noir / S$45 – When most people think of pinot noir from New Zealand, they think Central Otago or Martinborough. No argument from me on that, but here’s one from Waipara (north of Christchurch) that two respected raters give 4.5 stars to. Bob Campbell gives it 94 points and Michael Cooper gives it 4.5 stars, with suggested drinking from now until 2014. With a RRP of NZ$47 against S$45, it’s definitely worth a try.

2006 / Bilancia / Hawke’s Bay / Pinot Grigio / S$29 – Bob Campbell has this rated at 90 points with a RRP of NZ$24. I don’t have a recommended drinking range but I’m guessing that you wouldn’t want to sit on a 2006 pinot grigio.

By the way, Bob Campbell’s ratings can be found on-line at and Michael Cooper puts out an extensive review of New Zealand wines in his book “Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines” covering over 3,000 wines. I picked up my copy in Melbourne, but if you’re interested in New Zealand wines, it’d be worth keep an eye out for it in Singapore too.

Has buying in Singapore ever been better?

Earlier in the week, there was the Halliday 94 pointer for under S$25. Now there are a couple of 96 pointers from the West that Wine Exchange Asia has on offer. Robert Rees says you’d better be quick on these as supplies are limited, and from my experience, when Robert says that, you’d better believe it! Here’s the deals:

2009 / Howard Park / Great Southern / Riesling / S$41, or S$39 by the case – James Halliday does indeed rate this 96 points in his 2011 Australian Wine Companion (I picked up my copy just today) and suggests this riesling (yes, Australian rieslings can last that long) will go to 2029. With a RRP of A$25, the pricing is right where I would expect it to be.

2008 / Houghton / Wisdom / Margaret River / Cabernet Sauvignon / S$42, or S$40 by the case – Another Halliday 96 pointer with recommended drinking to 2025. The Big Red Wine Book gives it 94 points and suggests drinking 2011 to 2017, so get some to drink early next year and put some aside. RRP is A$32 so the pricing here is solidly within my BBI for value too.

Scouring the second-hand bookshops some time ago (isn’t that something you miss in Singapore?) I picked up a gem of a title that I immediately thought, “bet you wish you’d written that”! It’s called ‘The Earnest Drinker’s Digest’ and was written by O. Mendelsohn and published in Australia in 1945. Here’s a bemusing quote, the first of many.

“……….in Anglo-Saxon countries, alcohol is often taken as an escape and under barbarous legal restrictions, and so men may find it is pleasant to keep up an air of mystery, just like an overgrown belief in Fairyland”

Wills Domain – a 94 pointer for less than S$25!

Denise has an “August Surprises” bin end sale on and this offering from Wills Domain looks excellent value indeed. Denise advise that this wine is available at their Icon Village shop so if you’re in the market for a fruity white at a great price, then this might be the way to go.

2008 / Wills Domain / Margaret River / Semillon Sauvignon Blanc / Under six bottles S$30.50, six or over S$24.50 – James Halliday rates this wine at 94 points and suggests drinking between 2010 to 2014. RRP is A$20 so at S$24.50, this is coming in way under the BBI which would see it still acceptable at up to S$35. Good buying indeed.

And another day, another quote. Can’t argue with this one!

“There are five reasons for drinking: the visit of a friend, present thirst, future thirst, the goodness of the wine, or any other reason.” – Attributed to Pere Sirmond, in the 16th century.

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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