Quality, not quantity – a small selection of wines on offer

Reviewed offers by Cornerstone Wines, Le Vigne, Rubicon, and Wine Exchange Asia.

Buying wine in Singapore is not like dropping in to your local Dan Murphys. If you see a wine for sale here at a decent price, you need to grab it, because it probably won’t be there next week, or in the case of Wine Exchange Asia, even this afternoon. The best thing to do is to get yourself on their e-mail listings (or Facebook/Twitter for the younger or more technologically minded) so that you can grab deals when you see them.  I’m reminded of a story by some Zimbabwean friends that supermarkets in super-inflationary Harare carried a sign that said “the price may have changed by the time you get to the checkout”. Well, with regard to the specials below, the deals may be gone by the time you get to read this.

2003 / Leeuwin Estate / Art Series / Margaret River / Chardonnay – S$99.55 at Cornerstone Wines. In case you’re worried about a 2003 chardonnay, don’t be. My data says that expectations are that you can drink this wine out to 2012 at least and 2015+ if you follow Jeremy Oliver. Really depends on how it’s been stored. It’s a bit pointless comparing initial Australian retail price, but for what it’s worth, it retailed on release for between A$80 to A$100. Wine Front gave it 93 (“excellent”), Gourmet Traveller Wine 5 stars (“outstanding”), Jeremy Oliver 93 (“top silver”) but Winestate could only manage “good”. If you like old Australian chardonnays, this could be worth a try. WineHouse recently had it listed at A$83.

2010 / Dog Point / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc – S$36 at Wine Exchange Asia. Bob Campbell called it “mouth-watering” and gave it 87 points (“above average”). Retails for about NZ$25 so price of S$36 is terrific value.

2008 / Seifried / Winemakers Collection / Nelson / Sauvignon Blanc – S$39.90 at Le Vigne. Michael Cooper gives it 4 (“excellent”) with drinking right now. It retails for NZ$23 so the price at Le Vigne is spot on. The Seifried range is a personal favourite, so buy some of this, e-mail me your address, and we’ll be around before it’s had time to go off.

2007 / Dog Point / Marlborough / Pinot Noir – S$52 at Wine Exchange Asia. This wine’s right at the top of the list for Michael Cooper with 5 stars (“outstanding”). Wine Front like it too, giving it 93 (“excellent”) so the risk in buying it is very low indeed. Drinking range looks about 2014-2015. Retails for NZ$39 so the deal here is a great buy.

2002 / Clonakilla / Canberra / Shiraz Viognier – S$88.50 at Le Vigne. Jeremy Oliver has no qualms about this wine giving it 96 points (“top gold medal”) and Wine Front give it 94 (“excellent”). There’s no doubt, it’s a top Australian red. Still drinking 2014 to 2020.  WineHouse in Australia had this (now sold out) listed at A$113 and I saw the 2005 recently in one of the Marina Bay restaurants at S$580. Le Vigne’s price has to be a bargain!

Hard to pick a winner today, but pushed, I’ll go for the Dog Point sauvignon blanc

The wine and the place. A 2007 Durbanville Hills Rhinofields merlot at Katse Dam in Lesotho. There’s nothing at Katse Dam but a hotel converted from the construction crew’s quarters. And a bar with a half-decent wine list!

“James Busby… ..first brought shiraz cuttings from France to Australia in 1832. Known as scyras at the time, it was planted in the Hunter Valley in the 1930s and the Barossa Valley in the 1840s.” – Peter Dry writing in Winestate, October 2008


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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