Just what you need for Xmas, not – the Aussie/Singapore dollar rate at 1.2750

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet with the postings. Call it Singapore F1 GP hangover. What a terrific event, a solid win for Alonso and a great result for Mark Webber. We had guests for the GP as usual and managed to get around to quite a number of casual eating places, but I thought I’d give a plug to two in particular because (at the time of writing), neither of them charge corkage and what a bonus that is these days. They’re both in Frankel Avenue out Siglap way. The first is Baba Inn serving peranakan style food, and the second is Gourmet Plus serving international food. They’re not “die, die, must try”, but I can forgive a little if I can take my own bottle and not have to pay S$20 -$30 extra just for the privilege.

Now, to some specials from Wine Exchange Asia. It might pay to give them a ring or visit their website (www.wineexchangeasia.com) to see what’s still available but here’s a couple I picked from their recent specials:

2001 / Grant Burge / Meshach / Barossa Valley / Shiraz / S$85 – This wine was A$99 retail on release but that’s a bit academic now. Looking around the rest of the field in Singapore, this looks like a pretty good buy. James Halliday gave it 95 points and suggested drinking out to 2016. Jeremy Oliver gave it 88 points, drinking to 2013. Either way, it’s an icon wine that continuously pops up in many an Australian tasting night.

2002 / Katnook / Prodigy / Coonawarra / Shiraz / S$85 – Ditto for this wine, originally coming on the market at A$100 retail.  No doubt about its standing. Halliday gives it 96 points and Oliver 92 points, with the drinking range still out to 2017 but you can safely drink this wine now too. 14% alc. With the Aussie dollar where it is, I reckon S$85 for a recognized shiraz with a bit of age is going to look a damned good buy in months to come.

You know Xmas is coming when the champagne specials start to appear, and my oh my, haven’t they been appearing with gusto over the last week or so.  There seems to be a concerted effort by the champagne makers and importers to stitch up the festive market by offering exceptional deals. One of our well-informed guests commented that the same thing is happening in Australia. After the “savalanche”, are we going to get a “bubbly flood”?

Anyway, spare a thought for some of the better sparkling producers from down-under who’ll have to battle the French and the rising Aussie dollar. I’ve listed a couple of excellent examples which are currently available from Island Wines (speak with Aaron at  www.islandwines.com.sg)

Yarrabank comes from the stable of the Rathbone Wine Group which includes such notables as Yarra Yering, Mount Langi Ghiran, Yering Station, Xanadu and Parker Coonawarra

2004 / Yarrabank / Cuvee / Yarra Valley / Sparkling / S$45, S$40.50 by the case – Liked across the board by some of the recognized raters. Epicure gives it 5 stars, Halliday gives it 5 stars, and Oliver gives it 92 points. It’s still drinking out to 2012-2013 and the price is a great deal when compared with its Australian equivalent retail price of A$38.  12.50% alc.

2001 / Yarrabank / Late Disgorged / Yarra Valley / Sparkling / S$50, S$45 by the case – Another Halliday favourite with 95 points. This one’s best drunk now and would make a perfect bubbly for the more sophisticated Xmas events coming up.  With a RRP of A$45, the pricing here is excellent indeed. 12.50% alc.

“It used to be cool to say how much you spent on a bottle of wine. Now it’s cool to say how little you spent ” – Cyril Penn, editor of Sonoma Wine Business Monthly quoted in Decanter.

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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