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)”

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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