Some terrific deals here – especially with the A$/S$ rate at 1.30!

I’ve got some catching up to do on the specials that have floated across my desk whilst touring India. Consequently, the reviews listed below come with a big caveat – please check availability before getting too excited, and like our friends from Zimbabwe said, “the price may have changed”, only with them it was between entering the shop and getting to the checkout. As you’re probably now aware, specials don’t always last long in Singapore. Price it right, and the stuff moves quicker than Mark Webber with Alonso in his rearview mirror.

Let’s start with a Kiwi, and another caveat. I don’t have a rating for the 2008 Mount Edward but I do for the 2007 and the 2009 and I’m going to assume consistency.

2008 / Mount Edward / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / S$54, S$49 by the case from Wine Exchange Asia – The 2007 is rated 5 stars by Michael Cooper and the 2009 is 91 points by Bob Campbell. RRP is NZ$45 so the pricing looks spot on.

Fancy a chardonnay? Then this one is outstanding value:

2008 / Grosset / Piccadilly / Adelaide Hills / Chardonnay / S$49 from Wine Exchange Asia – OK let’s climb up the rating ladder. Jeremy Oliver gives it 88 points (4 stars). Gourmet Traveller Wine gives it 90 points. Wine Front gives it 92 points (both 4.5 stars), and James Halliday gives it 96 points (5 stars).  Oliver says drink by 2013, the rest by about 2015. 13.5% alc. Make up your own mind but with a RRP of A$53, this is a bargain.

Have you been listening on riesling, Australia’s great unsung and underpriced variety? Well, how’s this for confirmation? There was a dinner in Singapore last Friday night at Michelangelos (www.michelangelos.com.sg) to launch Jeremy Oliver’s new 2011 Wine Annual (www.jeremyoliver.com ). I didn’t attend, but by all accounts it was great success both in food and wine. Talking with friends who did attend, some of whom consider drinking white wine to be up there with driving a Volvo or doing the dishes, the wine that blew them away was the 2009 Seppelt Drumborg Riesling. No surprise that it’s good as Jeremy gives it a whopping 98 points, but to get a bunch of confirmed “rouge hommes” to say so is no mean feat. So, let’s have a look at a couple of Rieslings, and for the record the 2010 Polish Hill reviewed here is by far and away the best comparative value wine reviewed here today.  Look at the price, and then look at it again.

2010 / Grosset / Polish Hill / Clare Valley / Riesling / S$45 from Wine Exchange Asia – It’s so new, I’ve only got one rating. Wine Front give it 94 points  and suggest drinking out to 2017. 13% alc. The RRP is the same as Singapore – $45. Only in Australia it’s A$45 and in Singapore it’s S$45 and you don’t have to be told twice that that is a damn good deal. (By the way, you’ll find the 2009 for sale in Singapore at $65 if you shop in the wrong place)

2009 / Grosset / Springvale / Clare Valley / Riesling / S$39 from Wine Exchange Asia – This wine used to be called Watervale, now it’s called Springvale.  Why? Dunno.  What I do know is that this wine blew away the raters. The lowest rating I have is 94 points from Wine Front, Decanter gives it 18.5 points, James Halliday 96, and Jeremy Oliver 97. Zero risk in buying this wine then. It’s 12.5% alc. And with a RRP of A$36, the price here is keen indeed. You could put this away for 5 years or a lazy 20 years.

2010 / Grosset / Springvale / Clare Valley / Riesling / S$39 from Wine Exchange Asia – Same price, same value as the 2009. Hasn’t been in the bottle long enough to collect a swag of ratings so just the one. Wine Front at 93+ points and drinking to 2017.

2006 / Tim Adams / Clare Valley / Riesling / S$32 from Wine Exchange Asia – Clare Valley again (of course) and this one with a bit of age already. 94 points from Jeremy Oliver and 92 from Wine Front make it a safe bet. At its best next year out to 2014. RRP is A$22 so safely fits within the BBI for value.

Time to push an Aussie sauvignon blanc:

2009 / Fermoy Estate / Margaret River / Sauvignon Blanc / S$29, S$25 by the case from Wine Exchange Asia – A solid buy. 93 points from Halliday, 14% alc, drink to 2012 and RRP A$22. Can’t go wrong.

Before we move off the whites, I’m going to give a plug for this one even though you could have bought it for a lot less just a couple of months ago.

2008 / Redheads Studios / Yard Dog / McLaren Vale / White / S$19 from Epsilon Wines – If you followed this blog, you would have seen this wine at offer for S$13.50 when Vineyards Direct closed down. But that was a true liquidation sale, and opportunities like that don’t come around often (and you had to be quick, very quick). Yard Dog retailed in Australia for A$12.50 meaning that at S$19, it’s still a great buy. OK, it’s only 87 points from James Halliday but it’s less than S$20 bucks and you can do a lot worse than Yard Dog at S$20 bucks believe me.

We really are spoilt sometimes. This cabernet comes up time and time again in Singapore, and nearly always at a great price.

2004 & 2005 / Balnaves / The Tally Reserve / Coonawarra / Cabernet Sauvignon / S$88 from Epsilon Wines – Let’s start with the 2004. Oliver 97, Halliday 96, Gourmet Traveller Wine 97, Wine Front 95. One hell of a wine then. The 2005 gets 94 from Oliver, 5 stars from Epicure, 5 from Gourmet Traveller Wine and 95 points from Wine Front. I’m thinking you should have at least one of each of these in your cellar.  But you’ll need to be patient. The drinking range on the 2004 is at its shortest 2010-2020 (Wine Front) but Oliver and Halliday both say 2024 plus, even out to 2034. The 2005 is expected to be a bit less of a stayer with the range being 2013 to 2017 by Oliver, but curiously Wine Front reckons the 2005 will go to 2030. The wine might, I might not. RRP was about A$80-85 so S$88 is spot on value.

A cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot blend from Grosset:

2007 / Grosset / Gaia / Clare Valley / Cabernet Blend / S$54 from Wine Exchange Asia – Compared with Margaret River, Coonawarra or even Yarra Valley, the Clare Valley is not known for its cabernets. Maybe that’s why Jeremy Oliver only gives this wine 87 points but others don’t agree. James Halliday gives it 95 points and Wine Front gives it 93+. Ageing? Big difference here too. Oliver & Wine Front say 2015-2019, Halliday says out to 2027.  There’s no argument on the value though as it retailed for A$60 so S$54 is a solid buy.

And finally, a shiraz:

2005 / Wild Duck Creek / Spring Flat / Heathcote / Shiraz / S$55, or S$49 by the half case from Wine Exchange Asia – I sometimes wonder if Muck Duck was a blessing or a curse for Wild Duck Creek. There was such fanfare and hysteria around a relatively unknown winery that everything since seems in the shadows. This wine can stand on its own two feet though. Robert Parker gives it 94 points with drinking 2012-2025, and Halliday gives it 94 too, drinking to 2020. It’s still a “biggie” though, showing 15.5% on the label which means it could be anywhere between 14% and (gulp) 17% alc. Pricing is very keen as it retailed at A$50.

“All around the world, drinkers are now discovering just how brilliantly Riesling goes with food, adding vibrancy to flavours rather than swamping them with oak or alcohol. The more patient are enjoying Riesling’s capacity to age so intriguingly, while the more intellectual ones are marveling at its ability to express geography as eloquently as the most fastidious pinot noir.”  Jancis Robinson writing in Gourmet Traveller Wine, January 2008

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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

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