Chinese New Year fast approaching – time for some reds

Reviewed wines on offer by The Local Nose, The Cellar Door, Crystal Wines, Hermitage Wine, Eve Spirits, Epsilon Wines, Wine Exchange Asia, Wine Culture, Wine Connection, and Wine Direction

‘In his book, The Perfect Glass of Wine, young Australian writer Ben Canaider writes “All the ephemera surrounding wine – the language, the pretentiousness, the books, the guides, the newspaper columns, the lifestyle liftouts, the celebrity winemakers (and their dogs), the seriousness, the cellars – it all exists to prop up the social rituals and structure (or is it the wreckage) that go with the phenomenon that wine has become today” – from an article by Andrew Corrigan MW in Winestate Jul/Aug 2010.

Yes, and isn’t all that language and pretentiousness grand! You’ve probably gathered that Bastard Box is definitely “old school” in this regard. So let’s get into some old school wines. Grenache, cabernet, shiraz and durif. No Pinot Grigio here.

2008 / Old Plains / Terreno / South Australia / Grenache / S$40 at The Local Nose and Wine Direction – I don’t mind the odd Grenache from time to time so this is definitely one to consider. Wine Front 92 points, drinking to 2016, RRP of A$25 vs S$40 making it good value. What’s not to like?  By the way, I read recently that Grenache is the world’s second largest grape planting. The first? Airen, from Spain. No, me either.

2008 / Xanadu / Margaret River / Cabernet Sauvignon / S$39.50 at The Local Nose and Delfi Singapore – It’s probably appropriate that a winery called Xanadu would live in interesting times, and this winery has done just that. This Cabernet gets solid ratings from Wine Front (92), and Wine Spectator (90), and with an RRP of A$35, it’s stonking good value.

2005 / Burge Family / Draycott / Barossa Valley / Shiraz / S$92, S$87.40 Member price at Crystal Wines – Strange happenings indeed with this wine. Let’s get the ratings out of the way. Oliver 89, Halliday 93. Solid then. Drinking is out to about 2014.  On release, everything tells me this wine was A$35, meaning a Singapore price of about S$51, but it’s currently still on sale (retail) at Wine Star in Australia at A$49.99. That translates into about S$64ish, so how, oh how, does one get to S$92? Happy to take comments.

2008 / Quarisa / Johnny Q / South East Australia / Shiraz / S$24.90 at Wine Connection – I don’t always run a mile whenever I see “South East Australia” (it’s big, very big) but generally it can denote the,, lower end of the scale, so pricing is often the driver. And that’s pretty much the case here. The wine gets 3 stars from Winestate (they call that “good, bronze medal”) and the RRP is A$13, so you’d struggle to get this into the country at S$24.90 if you’re doing the usual mark up on the duty and freight. I’m sure it regularly sells at less than RRP in Australia (I’ve seen it down to A$10) but good on Wine Connection for giving it a go at a reasonable price. I’m not about to start on 3 star wines just yet though.

2006 / All Saints / Family Cellar / Rutherglen / Durif / S$65 at The Cellar Door – A swag of top ratings. Epicure 4.5, Gourmet Traveller Wine 5, Halliday 4.5 and Oliver 94. Drinking somewhere between 2016 and 2026. The RRP is A$50 so the price here is exactly where the BBI would expect it to be. I’ve listed the durif after the shiraz as I’ve always considered that durif is like shiraz for the gnarled. Sort of like roll-your-own vs filter tipped.

The best value on a BBI comparative basis is the Xanadu Cabernet by a fair margin.

“The bouquet mixed sweaty socks, acrid chemicals and cleaning fluid in equal measure”. Be afraid, be very afraid. See:

“I’m so  @#$%^&* sick of it. To arbitrarily say we want a wine at 14 per cent alcohol is ridiculous. I don’t find out what alcohols my wines are until we do the test for the bottle label. It can be three years after a wine is made before I find out the alcohol. I couldn’t care less.” – Dave Powell of Torbreck speaking his mind on making wine, a matter on which he does know a thing or two.



1 Response to “Chinese New Year fast approaching – time for some reds”

  1. 1 Robert Rees January 25, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Ha – I love Mr Powell`s outburst. Clearly he has been asked the question a fair few times…

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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