This sale looks like a sale – Straits Wine Company at Turf City

In recovery mode after a self-imposed grueling schedule of birthday celebrations down under.  Tasted some wonderful wines though, including Penfolds Yattarna, Elderton Command, Henschke Mt Edelstone etc. etc. but the delight was discovering some new favourites. Three that stood out after a lunch in the Yarra Valley included a 2009 Mayer Bloody Hill Chardonnay, a 2008 Gembrook Hill Pinot Noir (ignore the light colour, enjoy the nose and palate), and the 2007 Collector Reserve Shiraz from Canberra. Not wines I’d tried before, but I’ll certainly be seeking them out from now on.

Also three places I can definitely recommend for wining and dining:

Jasmin Restaurant in Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide – rated as one of the best Indian restaurants in Australia and no argument from me on that one. A good selection of reasonably priced wine and fabulous food. Even converted the “steak & chips” mob that attended.  See

Healesville Hotel, in (not surprisingly) Healesville, Yarra Valley – I think our longest lunch ever, beating one at Original Sin several years back that started at 12 and ended at 9:30pm. This one ended at 10:30pm! Thankfully, we were staying at the pub overnight. The hotel focuses on Yarra Valley wines but has a great selection from smaller wineries from across the country (hence the Collector from Canberra). See

Tarrawarra Estate in the Yarra Valley – We’ve driven past this estate for over 25 years and until now, never called in. It’s a stunning place, in terms of the architecture (very swish rammed earth), its Modern Art museum, the setting in a meticulously maintained vineyard and its small but inviting restaurant.  See

Whilst I get my act together, I’ve had a quick look at a couple of the specials from Straits Wine Company’s Wine Warehouse Sale at Turf City (until 24th March), and first impressions are that there’s some pretty good deals here:

2009 / Glaetzer / Amon Ra / Barossa Valley / Shiraz S$88 on “pre-order”.  96+ points from Robert Parker. Say no more. Currently on sale in Australia at RRP of A$90 to A$80 at the online discounters, so the price here of S$88 is very attractive indeed.

2009 / Two Hands / Gnarly Dudes / Barossa Valley / ShirazS$33.  Another good deal as I reckon this could come in at S$10 higher and still make it into the BBI. RRP is A$27. Wine Spectator has it as 93 points (“outstanding”) and Wine Front has it at 89 points (“very happy with it”). Not a long stayer, probably best in the next 3-5 years.

2007 / Peter Lehmann / Weighbridge / Barossa Valley / Cabernet Merlot S$19.90. This is an interesting wine because I can’t find a rating on it anywhere, not even a mention. Maybe the Weighbridge label is for export only, but in any event, Peter Lehmann’s “normal” cab merlot scores around the 87 point, 4 star mark, so I’d be prepared to give this a go at the price.

“I like my pinots to taste like pinots. I don’t want them to be too jammy….or what I call shiraz in drag” – Ariki Hill of Labyrinth wines speaking in Gourmet Traveller Wine in July 2007.

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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