Archive for April, 2011

Nothing to break the bank in this lot – from two reliable retailers

Reviewed offers by Le Vigne and Wine Exchange Asia

Off to Istanbul tonight to savour the wines of Kavaklidere, Kayra and Buyulubag. Should be interesting. At least it’s better than paying US$120 for Oxford Landing!

But before we head off, what a terrific, but small, selection of deals there is this weekend.

2008 / Bald Hills / Central Otago / Pinot Gris – S$32.50 at Le Vigne (cash & carry). Big fan of Bald Hills and whilst I’ve not personally tried the pinot gris, I see that Michael Cooper gives it a “very good” rating. Interestingly, it’s drinking to 2013 so plenty of time. It’s terrific value as the RRP is NZ$25.

2009 / Seifried / Nelson / Sauvignon Blanc – S$25 at Le Vigne.  Big fan of Seifried too. You’ll nearly always find a bottle in our fridge. This one’s Michael Cooper 4 stars “excellent” and Bob Campbell 86 points “above average”. Drinking to 2011, which I figure it still is, so still safe with this one too. Grab some for the May Day celebrations. This is a stunning deal – it retails for NZ$23! I’ve bought some.

2008 / Seifried / Winemakers Selection / Nelson / Pinot Noir – S$35 at Le Vigne. Bob Campbell gives it an “average to good” rating and called it subtle. Michael Cooper says “good” and drinking to 2015. OK, so it’s not Ata Rangi or Felton Road, but it’s only 35 bucks. It sells for that in New Zealand so another great comparative value deal.

NV / Skillogalee / Clare Valley / Sparkling Riesling – S$42 at Wine Exchange Asia. That’s not a misprint. Yes, it is sparkling Riesling. I’ve not tried it, Winestate has, and they give a “good, bronze medal” rating. It retails at A$28 so not bad comparative value. A very good deal.

2006 / Skillogalee / Clare Valley / Cabernets – S$42 at Wine Exchange Asia.  Winestate gives this a “very good, silver medal” rating, and suggests drinking out to 2015. It retails for A$26 so the price here is right where the BBI would expect it to be. Try it for a change from Coonawarra and Margaret River.

The Skillagolee offer closes this Monday, Le Vigne’s offers close 5th May (all prices cash & carry). Get to it!

The best deal (steal?) is the Seifried Sauvignon Blanc by a country mile, with the Seifried Pinot Noir second.

The wine and the place: Drakensbergs, South Africa

“Wine was like a peasant’s drink, very available….. and now we intellectualise it” – Jancis Robinson, apparently

Supermarket bargains – who’d have thought?

Reviewed offers by FairPrice Finest, Carrefour, Cold Storage and Bottles & Bottles

(Used 1.3344 and .9946 for the Aussie and Kiwi rates today)

I did a wander around some of the supermarkets and this is what I turned up. Some entirely predictable, but a pleasant surprise here too.

Lindemans / Bin 90 / Moscato – S$21 at Carrefour. I’m still reeling over Carrefours asking price of S$820 for 2005 Grange but let’s not allow that to cloud my judgement. The facts, nothing but the facts. I don’t have a vintage on this wine but I’m guessing it doesn’t matter. I don’t have a region either, but likewise I’m guessing that doesn’t matter. I’m also guessing that this is a wine designed for the export market because I couldn’t turn up a price or a reference anywhere in Australia. I can tell you that it’s for sale in the US at US$6.50 a bottle so that should tell you something. I can also tell you that Wine Spectator rated the 2009 vintage at 85 points (low 4 stars) which is somewhere between “good” and “very good”. I’m assuming it might be around A$5 if it was sold in Australia which makes it a fair price here, it’s just that I don’t like paying more in the mark-up on duty and tax than the wine itself. Some people love this wine, I don’t.

2010 / Cloudy Bay / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc – S$43 at Bottles & Bottles at Parkway Parade. Actually, it’s $86 for two, but you get the drift. No need to talk about Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Why so cheap, lah? Well, it’s 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. As a retailer, you wouldn’t want to be caught with a whole swag of rapidly ageing sav blanc so best to get it out the door. I wouldn’t be worried by this vintage yet (I bought some so can’t be too worried) but I wouldn’t stick it away and forget about it. Have a bottle tonight. And then every day with a “y” in it.

2008 / Rabbit Ranch / Central Otago / Pinot Noir – S$46.95 at Cold Storage. From what I can gather, Rabbit Ranch is a sub-label of Chard Farm.  I could only find one rating on this and it was pretty average, in fact that’s exactly what it was – Michael Cooper 2.5 stars “average”. It retails at NZ$22 which seems a bit ambitious, but accepting that for what it is, the BBI reckons it should come in around S$42. It doesn’t, which makes the Cold Storage price look a bit ambitious as well. Instead, I’d go for the Trentham Estate Pinot Noir at Wine Directions for S$35 (see April 12 blog) or the Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir at Wine Exchange Asia for S$36. I’ve done just that and am enjoying both.

2007 / Alkoomi / Blackbutt / Frankland River / Cabernet Blend – S$72 at FairPrice Finest. For the anoraks amongst us, this wine is 48% cabernet sauvignon, 28% malbec, 16% cabernet franc and 8% merlot. Phew. It’s a pretty good wine by all accounts. Jeremy Oliver gives it 92 (“top silver”), James Halliday gives it 95 (“outstanding”) and The Big Red Wine Book 90 (“very happy with it”). Oliver and Halliday say drink between 2019 and 2027. The Big Red Wine Book says it’s all over by then. They say drink between 2010 and 2014 and more specifically “it won’t age”. Who says raters always agree! But it’s the value that surprised me. This wine retails for about A$63-$64, so the price at FairPrice is good value, and I haven’t been able to say that about a supermarket seller for some time.

2007 / Alkoomi / Jarrah / Frankland River / Shiraz – S$55 at FairPrice Finest. Well, Halliday and Oliver agree again. Halliday says 96 (“outstanding”) and Oliver says 94 (“gold medal”). They both agree it’s got long legs into the 2022 to 2027 range. With a RRP of A$44-A$45, this is a good buy. Again.

OK, so I’m impressed (and surprised) that FairPrice Finest is offering the Alkoomi at such a good price for a supermarket that has the overheads of bricks and mortar. But it’s not all beer and skittles. They’ve got a bit of work to do in other places. The store I visited was at Parkway Parade and the fine wines are stored in a separate glass room, but the door seems to be permanently open and I’m guessing the temperature was pushing 20c in there. The bottles are stored upright too (a peculiar trait in Singapore it seems). As for the wine area outside the fine wine room, well, it’s positively warm. Well lit, but warm.

I’m encouraged by the pricing, let’s see if they can fix the storage.

I think the bargain deal here today is the Cloudy Bay at Bottles & Bottles

“Two thousand or more years ago, the Romans had a proverb ‘In vino veritas’, so tersely true that most countries still retain it in the original Latin form. Those shrewd observers had noted that when the liquor goes in, the truth comes out.” – O. Mendelsohn, The Earnest Drinker’s Digest, 1945

Reds go better with chocolate Easter eggs

Reviewed offers by Cornerstone Wines, Crystal Wines, Epsilon Wines, Equatorial Wines, eWineasia, Le Vigne, The Cellar Door, The Local Nose, Underground Wines, Wine Connection, Wine Directions, Wine Exchange Asia, Wine Guru.

Eater egg hunts take on a sense of urgency in Singapore. Wait too long to find that extra well-hidden egg, and all you’ll get is a sticky pool of melted chocolate.  Still, the kids enjoyed it, at least until a very colourful lizard took objection to a soft pink hand being thrust into his garden home. Ouch! Time for the adults to retire to the aircon and the pinot.

2008 / Neudorf / Tom’s Block / Nelson / Pinot Noir – S$52 at The Local Nose & Wine Guru. Just one lonely pinot noir this post. A bit of a difference of opinion amongst the Kiwi raters, with Bob Campbell only giving it 85 points (“above average”) but Michael Cooper giving it 5 stars (“outstanding, gold medal”). I’m tempted to go with Michael Cooper and will give it a try. It sells locally at about NZ$30 so the pricing at S$52 is about where the BBI would expect it.

2007 / Mitolo / Serpico / McLaren Vale / Cabernet – S$88.35 at Crystal Wines.  I only have one rating on this and it’s from Wine Front who say “very happy with it” (89+), drinking out to 2016. RRP A$80, so price here is good. Even better if you’d bought it at one of Crystal’s recent specials at S$55.80. Maybe you can still twist their arm….Jeremy Oliver’s 2011 Wine Annual lists this wine as Nagambie Lakes. Ignore it, it’s a misprint.

2007 / Woodlands / Nicolas Reserve / Margaret River / Cabernet – S$95 at Wine Exchange Asia.  For the extra $7 over the Mitolo, I’d be going for this. Why? Try this – Wine Front “exceptional” (95), Jeremy Oliver “top gold medal” (96), James Halliday “highly recommended” (93). You might have to be patient to get the best out of it as the drinking range is variously 2013-2021 and 2019-2027. Put it away for 5 years and I reckon you won’t go wrong.  The RRP is about A$100 so you don’t need a doctorate in maths to see that this is a great deal.

2007 / Pikes / The Dogwalk / Clare Valley / Cabernet Merlot – S$37.50 at The Local Nose & Wine Directions.  I’ve always thought of cab merlot as being for people who don’t like straight cabernet. A little bit softer on the edges, like some of my relatives. Oliver ‘s luke-warm on this wine (“top bronze”), Halliday a bit keener (“highly recommended”) so you’ll have to go with your favourite rater. It’s about A$19 downunder so the Singapore price is right where the BBI would expect it to be.

2008 / Woodlands / Margaret / Margaret River / Cabernet Merlot – S$65, S$60 by the half case at Wine Exchange Asia.  Here’s another Woodlands that’s highly regarded. Wine Front 92 points (“excellent”) and Oliver 92 (“top silver”). Put it away for a year or two and then drink out to about 2018. Go for the half case for a good BBI buy.

2005 / Brothers in Arms / Langhorne Creek / Shiraz – S$78, S$74.10 member price at Crystal Wines. Winestate give it a “good to very good” rating of 3.5 stars, Oliver gives it 86 points which means it falls below any of his categorizations. Hmm. OK, Wine Front give it 92, but it’s the pricing that’s putting me off.  It’s listed at A$44 retail, so it should hit here a good S$15-S$18 lower than the offer here to sit within the BBI and compete with others. I’ll pass.

2009 / Hay Shed Hill / Pitchfork / Margaret River / Shiraz – S$37.50 at The Local Nose and Equatorial Wines. I hadn’t seen or heard of Equatorial Wines before and it looks like they’re a new player. Let’s see how they deliver. Wine Front gives this wine 89 points (“very happy with it”) with drinking over the next two years. It retails for A$16 so the price here is right on the limit of being OK under the BBI. Watch this space.

2006 / Kilikanoon / The Covenant / Clare Valley / Shiraz – S$46.70 at Crystal Wines. I blogged this in December when Wine Exchange Asia had it for S$50, and said it was a good deal. It’s a great deal now,  Oliver 93, Decanter giving it a silver medal. It’s a personal favourite.

A sign of tough times? Just noticed that 2008 Betts & Scholl Black Betty Barossa Valley shiraz (a wine specifically made for the US market) is currently listed in Wine Spectator at US$35. The 2006 and 2007 were listed at US$79.  That’s quite an adjustment!

The wine and the place – Graham Beck Methode Cap Classique, / Salt Rock, South Africa

“To taste 300 wines in a day and give a mathematical judgment on them seems crazy, and betrayal of the person that made the wine” – Jonathan Nossiter, author of “Le Gout at le Pouvoir (Taste and Power)”

It’s a white day today

Reviewed offers by Cornerstone Wines, Crystal Wines, Epsilon Wines, Equatorial Wines, eWineasia, Le Vigne, The Cellar Door, The Local Nose, Underground Wines, Wine Connection, Wine Directions, Wine Exchange Asia, Wine Guru.

I used a rate of 1.3245 for the A$/S$ calculation in the BBI. Last post it was 1.3101. The Kiwi/S$ rate hasn’t changed much at .9893

All whites today, reds to follow….

2009 / Bilancia / Hawkes Bay / Pinot Gris – S$34.90 at The Local Nose & The Cellar Door. Bob Campbell said he particularly liked this wine and gave it “above average” score of 86 points. Its RRP is NZ$25 so a fair value on the BBI could have had it come in as high as S$44. At S$34.90  it’s terrific value.

2009 / Heart of Stone / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc – S$25 at Underground Wines. Just when you thought you’d tried all the Kiwi sauvignon blancs, up comes another one. Cloudy Bay won’t be too worried by this one. Michael Cooper gives it 3.5 stars (“very good”) but it’s the price that grabbed his attention saying that it is “fine value. I’m not going to argue with that. With a RRP of NZ$17, the price here is really quite outstanding at this end of the market.

2010 / Mt Difficulty / Target Gully / Central Otago / Riesling – S$41.50 at eWineAsia. Bob Campbell sort of damned this with faint praise.  He gave it 87 points which equates to “above average” but added “whilst very good, doesn’t live up to my memory of past classics”.  Retails for NZ$25 so the price here is fair to good.

2008 / Neudorf / Nelson / Chardonnay – S$42 at The Local Nose & Wine Guru. I’m a big fan of Neudorf and the Nelson area, often overlooked in the flood of stuff (not all good) that comes out of Marlborough. Michael Cooper agrees giving this wine an “excellent” rating (4.5) and Bob Campbell gives it 89. It retails for NZ$30 so it’s great value here. Give it a try for a change!

2007 / Villa Maria / Cellar Selection / Marlborough / Chardonnay – S$39.90 at The Cellar Door. Bob Campbell gave it 87 points and called it “stylish”. It retails around the NZ$24 mark so the price here is good, rather than great.

2010 / Woodlands / Margaret River / Chardonnay – S$42, S$37 by the half case at Wine Exchange Asia. We had to get an Aussie in the line up sooner or later. Wine Front says “very happy with it” and suggests drinking to 2013. With a RRP of A$23, the single bottle price is spot on the BBI, and the half case price is a great deal.

The wine and the place.  La Motte at Salt Rock, near Durban

“The results of a blind tasting cannot be predicted and will not even be reproduced the next day by the same panel tasting the same wines.” – Stephen Spurrier after Bottle Shock apparently.

90+ point wines for under $30 bucks, nothing over $55 – life’s good

Reviewed offers from Le Vigne, Rubicon Reserve Wines, Wine Connection, Wine Culture, Wine Exchange Asia

It’s funny how specials seem to go in waves. One week, it’s all at the high end; the next week, all it’s all very affordable, and that’s where we are this week. Nothing here over S$55.

2007 / Black Quail / Central Otago / Pinot Noir – S$55, S$52 by the half case at Wine Exchange Asia – Don’t get too excited by this. It’s sold out! I know because I just tried to buy some. Bob Campbell gives it 94 points and says it’s “very classy”. With a RRP of NZ$36, WEA’s price is within 8 cents of where the BBI would expect it to be. It’s a case of the quick or the dead, but at least you’ll be well informed for next time. Maybe one of the successful purchasers will share it…..?

2008 / Rocland / Chocolate Box / Barossa Valley / Sparkling Shiraz  – S$32.50 at Le Vigne. James Halliday gives this a “recommended” rating (88) and suggests it will drink out to 2012. I’ve tried it, and it’s not up there with 1985 Seppelt Show Reserve (what is?) but neither is the price. It sells downunder for A$20 so the price here is great value. From memory, it’s a bit on the sweet side so a perfect companion for those chocolate Easter eggs you’re sure to get soon.

2005 / Arlewood / Margaret River / Shiraz  – S$28.90 at Le Vigne. I saw some completely unheard of Australian rubbish (yes, it had a critter on the label) in our local provision store yesterday for about the same price. I bet it didn’t start at A$22 retail.  This, however, is a good solid buy. Halliday says “highly recommended” (91), drinking to 2018. With that RRP of A$22, the price of  S$28.90 is terrific value.

2005 / Fox Creek / Reserve / McLaren Vale / Shiraz – S$55 at Wine Exchange Asia. This has come up before at this price and it’s still a good deal. Halliday, Oliver and The Big Red Wine Book all give it the equivalent of 4.5 stars. It sold originally for A$70 and you can still pick it up for A$65 odd downunder. I’m convinced. I just bought some.

2007 / Hay Shed Hill / Margaret River / Shiraz Tempranillo – S$29.90 at Le Vigne. Wine Front gives it 91 points (“excellent”) but cautions that not everyone will warm to the slight bitterness. I guess that’s a change to Barossa Valley jammy-ness. Halliday says “recommended”. It retails for A$20 so the pricing’s terrific value yet again.

2007 / Rocland  / Barossa Valley / Shiraz – S$31.90 at Le Vigne. Another solid buy. Halliday says “highly recommended” (90) and Winestate says “good”. Retails for A$22, very attractive pricing here.

The two best BBI deals here today are the Fox Creek Reserve and the Arlewood. There’s no bad deals here at all.

Drinking wine is often about “the where, the when, and the with whom”. The “where” on this is on the Shosholoza Meyl between Johannesburg and Durban. We never go anywhere without our Reidel “O to go”. The essential travel item! (along with a corkscrew, just in case).

“Personally, I find a lot of the acclaimed wines of the Barossa not satisfying and not food-friendly. I’m not convinced that shiraz really is the great Barossa variety. I know that sounds heretical but I’m not” – Andrew Jefford quoted in Winestate Jul/Aug 2010

A rollicking good read, and a rollicking strong Aussie dollar

Reviewed offers from Crystal Wines, eWineAsia, Le Vigne, Rubicon Reserve Wines, The Cellar Door, The Local Nose, Wine Connection, Wine Culture, Wine Directions, Wine Exchange Asia

A big plug for a book that I just read on the plane and train between Singapore and Durban. It’s a quick read for sure but thoroughly entertaining. It’s “The Billionaire’s Vinegar” by Benjamin Wallace (thank you Lisa & Jos for the gift) and the story is of fakes in the wine industry, especially rare old Bordeaux.  I’m coincidentally thumbing my way through old Wine Spectator magazines from the last decade and the whole story of “suspect” 1787 Chateau Lafite Thomas Jefferson is covered month after month as the various parties, from buyers to auction houses, counter accusation with accusation. One of the themes is that the US was ripe for counterfeits because they didn’t know much about old wine, they just bought them for status. Where does that leave today’s China buyer? Another novel in the offing, I suspect.

Just the one white today:

2010 / Mitolo / Jester / McLaren Vale / Vermentino – S$28.20 at Crystal Wines. I could only find one rating on this and it was Epicure at 4 stars. The RRP is shown as A$24 so the price in Singapore at S$28.20 looks an absolute bargain on a comparative basis. But there’s a catch. Epicure reckons this wine should have been drunk in 2010, so no surprise that’s it being marketed at an attractive price.  Given that it’s only just out of the first quarter in 2011, it’s probably still worth a punt.

A flood of pinots:

2009 / Bass Phillip / Crown Prince / Gippsland / Pinot Noir – S$89.25 at Crystal Wines. I don’t have a rating on this vintage so can’t offer any help there. What I do know is that this wine is currently on sale at Wine House in Australia at A$57 so the price here looks a sizeable premium. I’m guessing not all that much comes to Singapore, so if you want it, you’ll probably buy it at that price anyway.

2008 / Mt Difficulty / Long Gully / Central Otago / Pinot Noir – S$110 at eWineAsia. One thing about Bob Campbell – when he likes something, he says so. He gives this wine 95 points (“excellent, top quality”) and says that “this is a great pinot noir”.  Its RRP of NZ$90 puts it right at the top bracket for Kiwi pinots and its price here of S$110 is right where the BBI would expect it to be. I think I’ll be tempted to try it.

2008 / Nazaaray / Mornington Peninsula / Pinot Noir – S$50.25, S$43.93 by the case, at Rubicon Reserve Wines. I’ve never come across this name before but in any event, Wine Front gives it 90 points (“very happy with it”) and suggest drinking out to 2014. With a RRP of A$30, the price is about right for the case buy.

2008 / Tarrawarra Estate / Reserve / Yarra Valley / Pinot Noir – S$62 at The Local Nose and Wine Directions.  All round accolades for this one. James Halliday “outstanding”, Jeremy Oliver “top silver”, and The Big Red Wine Book “exceptional”. General consensus is to drink out to about 2018. With a RRP of A$50, the pricing here is good value.

2006 / Trentham Estate / Mornington Peninsula / Pinot Noir – S$35 at The Local Nose and Wine Directions. I recommended this wine back in May last year and you should have bought it then when it was offered at S$30. It’s now S$35 as the Aussie’s gone up but it’s still a terrific buy. Halliday 92, drink to 2013.

And a trio of shiraz (or should that be shirazes?):

2008 / Kilikanoon / Killerman’s Run / Clare Valley / Shiraz – S$31.45 at Crystal Wines. Another wine/vintage that I don’t have a rating for. So what can I tell you? Well, it’s on sale at Dan Murphys in Australia at A$16.99 which would equate to a BBI of about S$36.  That makes the price here great value, and if you know the wine, then the deal is good.

2003 / Shirvington / McLaren Vale / Shiraz – S$143 at Wine Culture. Have you ever seen a bottle of this? No, me either. All you need to know is that Robert Parker rated it 96 points. Now, it just happens to be on sale at Wine House downunder for A$95 but in limited quantities, and you’re sure as hell unlikely to get the WET back. I think this is another case of “if you know it and like it, you’ll buy it” because you won’t be seeing much of it around.

2004 / Torbreck / Run Rig / Barossa Valley / Shiraz – S$199 at Wine Exchange Asia. We’re in the big hitters today aren’t we? Wow. OK, the lowest rating I could find on this was Jeremy Oliver at 88 points, drink 2012. The highest rating I could find was Wine Advocate at 99+! Everyone else is in the 95+ bracket and a bit more generous in its ageing potential. Let’s call it 2018 to be fair. It WAS on sale in the US at US$225 a bottle. It’s NOW on sale at Wine House for A$240. I never thought I’d say it, but that makes S$199 smashing value.

The star deals for today are the Trentham Pinot Noir, and wait for it, the Torbreck Run Rig.

So, how much has the Aussie dollar changed the pricing in Singapore over the last 12 months? Perhaps not as much as you’d expect. In an A$50 bottle of wine, the BBI reckons the exchange rate has added about S$2 here.

“Like many males of my age, I live along that fine line between pretentious wine snob and wine enthusiast. I call myself an enthusiast. I absolutely drew the line at the sommelier slurping thing.” – Andrew Bruce, HK lawyer and wine enthusiaist writing in GrapeGrowers & Vignerons March 2011

The specials resume. A stunning Wild Duck offer

Have spent the last few weeks sampling the delights of South African wine as we travelled around KwaZulu Natal and yonder. Probably the most surprising thing was the price (inexpensive) and availability of wines. Every pub, lodge or B&B (even a local sporting club in the back blocks near Rhodes) was able to offer a decent selection of South African wines at a decent price.  I wish the same could be said for parts of Australia.

Anyway, whilst we were away, it seems you’ve been getting some pretty good offers, like the ones below. So good in fact that I suspect they’ll be gone by the time you read this.

2005 / Gravitas / Hugo’s Delight / Marlborough / Late Harvest Riesling (375ml) – S$29 at eWineAsia. This is a roaring good deal. It retails for NZ$25 so eWineAsia price is simply stunning. Michael Cooper says “excellent, silver medal” and Bob Campbell says “excellent” too (93).

2008 / Sandalford / Estate Reserve / Margaret River / Cabernet Sauvignon – S$48 at Wine Exchange Asia. Another great value deal from WEA. The Big Red Wine Book gives it 94 points (“excellent”), and James Halliday gives it 96 (“outstanding”). Drinking range looks to be from about 2013 out to 2020+. RRP of A$40 so a smashing deal.

2010 / Shaw & Smith / Adelaide Hills / Sauvignon Blanc – S$42, S$39 by the half case at Wine Exchange Asia. The Age Good Wine Guide gives it 92 points (“superior quality”) and reckons it’s right for drinking now. With a RRP of A$26, this is pretty good value.

2003 / Wild Duck Creek / Springflat / Heathcote / Shiraz – S$69 at Wine Exchange Asia. If you don’t know the story behind Wild Duck Creek and Duck Muck, then you’re definitely a lot younger than me. Go ask your father, sonny. This 2003 gets 92 points from Robert Parker with his recommended drinking to 2015. It’s still available at specialty wine shops in Australia at around A$53, so on that basis, the price here would be about where the BBI would expect it to be.  BUT WAIT – THERE”S MORE! If you buy the 2003, Wine Exchange Asia will throw in a 2002 (Robert Parker 91) for free and that makes the deal possibly the best so far this year. The gauntlet’s been thrown down.

How’s this for a setting for a quiet imbibe? Believe it or not, this is in Lesotho at a place called Katse Dam. Now the accommodation is basic (it is after all, the old dam worker’s quarters) but even here, in the middle of nowhere, you can get a decent drop.

You’ll recall that we drove a taxi around India last year. Well, the same company ( runs a trip through South Africa and Lesotho and we couldn’t possibly miss it. Have you ever driven a bakkie across the wilds of Lesotho? No, I thought not. This is wild and remote country, but the rewards for putting up with winding, dusty roads are enormous. Put yourself down for next year!




“Including an animal graphic on the wine label has been a popular move throughout much of the last decade. AC Neilsen reported that one in five table wines developed between 2005 and 2008 included an animal on the label, and doing so attracted a price $1.34 below average for wines in the study”. – Wine Label Design Influences Price, Grape Growers & Vignerons, March 2011



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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