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