Wine at 71 cents a bottle (yes, really) and solid value across the board.

Reviewed offers by Crystal Wines, Wine Connection, Wine Exchange Asia, WineBOS, Eve Spirits, The Cellar Door, Underground Wines, The Local Nose, Singapore Straits Wine Company and Wine Culture.

Thought I’d put in word for a friend’s wine bar. If you’re looking for somewhere to chat over a nice glass of wine without having to put up with tourists or “yobbos” (if you’re Australian, you’ll know what that means) along the Singapore River, then head out to Binjai Park to Taberna Wine Bar and say hello to Ying Hsien Tan. It’s sort of the wine equivalent of an old fashioned bookshop. Comfortable, friendly, and you just know you could waste away a lot of time just wandering through the merchandise.

Have you noticed the creep? A dollar here, a dollar there.  Not surprising really given there’s roughly S$1.29 to A$1. That makes all the wines reviewed today damned good comparative value. There’s not a pricing dud amongst them.

I’ll leave you to make what you will of these statistics from the Wine Export Approval Report, December 2010 by Wine Australia:

In 2010, the average value of bottled wine exported from Australia was A$3.09 per bottle (A$4.12 per litre). The average value of bulk wine exported, most of which goes to the UK, was A$0.94 per litre, i.e. the equivalent of 71 cents per bottle!

Bulk wine shipments to China exceeded bottled wine shipments (30 million litres vs 24 million litres) with white wine being the largest share. Australian bulk wine exports to China grew by 51%.

Sigh. Nothing here for 71 cents!

2008 / Fox Creek / McLaren Vale / Chardonnay / S$30 at Wine Exchange Asia – Halliday gives it 90 points “highly recommended”, Wine Front 90 “very happy with it”, and Winestate 3 stars “good”. Halliday suggests it’ll drink out to 2013 but I’d probably get stuck into it now, just to be on the safe side. RRP of A$17 so the pricing is great value.

2008 / Sticks / Yarra Valley / Chardonnay / S$39 at Wine Culture – I think it says a lot that the wine in this bunch that represents the worst comparative value is actually still good value. The price on this wine is right where the BBI would expect it to be, it just loses out to all the others today. It gets a Halliday “highly recommended” rating, drinking to 2015, and with a RRP of A$20, it’s priced right.

2009 / Sidewood Estate / Adelaide Hills / Pinot Gris / S$49 for 2 at Singapore Straits Wine – One of their “2 for 1” specials for February, and a decent wine to boot. Halliday 91 points “highly recommended”. It’s drinking now, which may be why it’s priced so attractively, but attractive the price really is. RRP A$21.

2009 / Sidewood Estate / Adelaide Hills / Sauvignon Blanc / S$49 for 2 at Singapore Straits Wine – I blogged this last week as outstanding value. OK, the price has gone up by 50 cents a bottle, but no surprise, it’s still outstanding value.

2008 / Fonty’s Pool / Single Vineyard / Pemberton / Merlot / S$33 at Wine Connection – Wine Connections surprises me again – I’ve got my Fonty’s Pool chardonnay so I’ll be trying it soon. This merlot is a pretty good deal. James Halliday rates it 92 “highly recommended” and The Big Red Wine Book says “excellent, get it”. RRP down under is A$22 so great value.

2008 / Rockburn / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / S$42 at Wine Exchange Asia – This is a well rated Kiwi pinot at a reasonable price, which one can’t always say about New Zealand pinots. Michael Cooper says “excellent” (4 star) and Bob Campbell says “very good”. It’s got few years in it yet and the value here is terrific. RRP NZ$38.

2007 / Nepenthe / Gate Block / Adelaide Hills / Shiraz / S$44.90 at Eve Spirits – “Outstanding” according to James Halliday (94 points), with plenty of cellaring potential to 2020, and quite a bit of alcohol (14.5%). The RRP is $38.90 so yet another “great value” price here. If you’re a Nepenthe regular, this should definitely be worth a try.

2004 / Viking Estate / Grand / Barossa Valley / Shiraz / S$49 a bottle or S$45 by half case at Wine Exchange Asia – It’s always difficult to work out the comparative value on older wines but this looks to me like a pretty good deal. On release, it was A$35 which would mean the S$ price today was spot on, but this winery caught the attention of Robert Parker and that can drive prices crazy. I reckon it’s worth a punt as Halliday gave it 93 points which is the top end of “highly recommended” and it should last until 2019. 14.5% alc.

On a “bang for your buck” basis, the two Sidewood Estate wines win hands down, with the Rockburn pinot next.

And I thought I was a big spender…….

“I used to spend more than a million dollars a year on wine……..I’ve got about 5,000 top wines and hundreds of thousands of normal wines “ – Julio Iglesias speaking with Lucy Shaw in Decanter, September 2010.



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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