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

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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

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