New Zealand 3, Australia Nil……

Reviewed offers by Crystal Wines, Epsilon Wines, eWineAsia, Rubicon Reserve Wines, The Cellar Door, The Local Nose, Wine Connection, Wine Culture, Wine Exchange Asia.

You may have read of the planned purchase of Cellarmasters in Australia by Woolworths. Seems it’s stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest. This is just one of the websites that has arisen to counter the fear of market concentration.

The Kiwis:

2009 / Dog Point / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc – S$35, S$30 by the case at Wine Exchange Asia – This is a personal favourite of mine but don’t rely on my opinion. Wine Spectator says it’s “very good” (86) but Bob Campbell is more excited giving it “excellent, top quality” (94).  The pricing is pretty stunning as its RRP is NZ$25. By the bottle at S$35 it’s great value, but outstanding value by the case at S$30. There’s really no excuse for not having some of this in your fridge.

2006 / Trinity Hill / Gimblett Gravels / Hawkes Bay / Chardonnay – S$42.90 at The Local Nose or The Cellar Door. This wine is a stunner – Winestate says “excellent, high silver” (4.5), Gourmet Traveller Wine says “outstanding” and Bob Campbell says “absolutely outstanding” (96) and it takes a special wine to get a rating like that out of Bob. It retails for NZ$30 so the price here is great value.

2008 / Wild Earth / Central Otago / Pinot Noir – S$49, S$46 by the half case at Wine Exchange Asia.  It’s got to be tough flogging pinot noir from Central Otago when you’re up against names like Felton Road and Bald Hills. This wine does OK, where it gets a “very good” (87) rating from Wine Spectator, and “good” (84) from Bob Campbell. On a comparative basis, the pricing here by Wine Exchange Asia is very keen indeed, it’s just that with a RRP of NZ$42, it seems a little out of its league to start with. Still, you won’t get a Felton Road or Bald Hills in Singapore for forty six bucks, so definitely worth considering.

In this lot, the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc by the case is the best buy, but it only just pips the 96 point Trinity Hill Chardonnay, so best to get a case of each, don’t you think?

The Aussies:

2009/ Bindi / Block Five / Macedon/ Pinot Noir – I don’t have a rating on the 2009 yet, but when I do, you’ll be the first to know. In the meantime, you might like to consider this – S$152 at Crystal Wines (Member price S$144.40) or S$112 at Wine Exchange Asia. The facts, just the facts.

Not a lot of comparative value in this lot I’m afraid:

2003 / Mitolo / Savitar / McLaren Vale / Shiraz – S$129 at Wine Culture. OK, so it’s an older vintage but it is still available retail at around A$69 (e.g Wine House in Australia). Given that, it’s hard to see how this wine should be over S$90 but if you want it here and now in Singapore, you’ll make your own choice. Oliver “regular gold” (94) and Halliday “outstanding” (95) with general agreement on cellaring to around 2013.

2007 / Sir Paz / Parker Road Bin 8 / Yarra Valley / Shiraz – S$49 at Wine Connection. I’m sorry, I can’t look at the name of this wine without thinking of Sir Les Paterson – it must be word association, but that’s not a pleasant association for any wine seeking credibility. And it has credibility – Halliday gives it “recommended, above average” (89). With a RRP of A$26, the price here gets a BBI of marginal value, but it’s the best BBI of the Aussies reviewed here today. Oh dear.

2005 / Yalumba / The Menzies / Coonawarra / Cabernet Sauvignon – S$77 at Epsilon Wines. Well, this wine and this vintage get all the gongs. Jeremy Oliver “regular gold medal” (95), James Halliday “outstanding” (94), Robert Parker “outstanding” (90+), Gourmet Traveller Wine “outstanding” (92), etc. etc. General consensus on cellaring seems to be 2018. Looks like it’s pretty much out of stock down under, but when it was in stock, it was about A$49 meaning it would have been around S$62 under a fair BBI. It’s that case again of “if you like it, you’ll buy it”.

Well, that’s how the cards have fallen this time round. I promised some good deals in my last blog, and there are, but you’ll have to look to the Kiwis for value today.

A way with words:

“You can tell by the way it blossoms on the palate. And by the character of the tannin, reflecting light back on the fruit like glints off chipped mica” – Wine & Spirit magazine tasting notes on 1999 Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz,  October 2005.

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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