Five reasons why buying wine in Singapore can be so difficult….and not one of them is price!

Reviewed wines on offer by Absolute Blizzard, Barrique Connections, Bottles & Bottles, The Local Nose, The Moomba Wine Store, Wine Directions, and Wine Exchange Asia

Ok, so price can be an issue, but not if you do your homework. Here’s the things that really annoy:

…..Some retailers send out flyers with super-duper deals, but they never answer their e-mails. You would think that orders@…… on an e-mail or website would let you, well, place an order, but there’s little guarantee of that.

…..Websites and e-mails don’t quote vintages. How am I supposed to order a wine unless I know the vintage? Some retailers even have shopping carts that don’t show the vintage. Yep, I’ll take a dozen of whatever you’ve got.  Talk about a lucky dip.

…..Call me old-fashioned, but I like to get a confirmation and an invoice. And not everyone does that before delivery.

…..The biggest sin of all is sending the wrong vintage. Still happens, the wines still go back.

…..The second biggest sin (and illegal to boot) is quoting prices before GST. Still happens. I’m still avoiding those retailers that don’t quote GST inclusive, and frankly I believe, so should you.

There’s retailers out there that get everything right, and there’s quite a few who get bits wrong, and at least one who gets it wrong all the time.

On a brighter note, well done to the person/s who picked up the 3 bottles of 2005 Clarendon Hills Astralis for S$230 each at Wine Exchange’s Consolidated Clearance Sale. You could make a tidy profit by selling it on to one of Singapore’s other retailers for the $416 they are asking for it!

2009 / Penfolds / Koonunga Hill / South Australia / Shiraz Cabernet / S$41 for two at Bottles & Bottles. Called into my local Bottles & Bottles at Parkway Parade and came across this deal. Koonunga Hill gets discounted away fairly viciously down under, but even so, to buy it here at S$20.50 a bottle is quite remarkable. Give them a visit.

2009 / Bouchard Finlayson / Galpin Peak / Walker Bay / Pinot Noir / S$49 at Wine Exchange Asia. OK, so Walker Bay (yes, Walker Bay in South Africa) is a long way from Central Otago or Mornington Peninsula, but what the heck, life’s about trying new things. Platters South African Wines 2011 gives it 3.5 stars which works out at “very good”, a bit of a come down from previous vintages. But it’s the 2009 that’s available here so I’m happy to give it a try and have bought some.  It retails at Bouchard Finlayson’s cellar door for the equivalent of S$43, so I figure my comparative value risk is relatively low. It’s shown on Wine Exchange Asia’s Consolidated Clearance Sale. Go on a journey, try some.

2002 / Tahbilk / Eric Stevens Purbrick / Nagambie Lakes / Shiraz / S$78 at Absolute Blizzard. Another newcomer (in name at least) to the wine scene in Singapore. So what have we got here? An undoubtedly exceptional wine, that’s what. Wine Front gave it 96 points and suggested breaking the budget to buy this wine. All the major raters, from Jeremy Oliver, James Halliday, Gourmet Traveller Wine etc. agree that it is a great wine. The good news is that it’s drinking now, even though it should hold up for another 10 years too. It retailed on release at A$70. A steal here.

2005 / Braydun Hill / Single Vineyard Premium / McLaren Vale / Shiraz / S$70 at The Local Nose and Barrique Connections. I haven’t seen the name Barrique Connections around before so curious to see how they stack up. The wine’s fine with a James Halliday rating of 92 points but it’s the pricing that has me confused. On release, this wine was A$24 and I see it still on sale at around A$28. So, how do you get to S$70? On a pure BBI basis, the Australian RRP equates to a selling price here of around $40-$45. I must be missing something. Again.

The Tahbilk look the pick of the bunch today.

“Per capita consumption of wine has never been higher, while beer consumption slipped to its lowest levels since 1947, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australians aged over 15 now consume an average of 29 litres of wine a year, an increase on the 22 litres recorded in 1979 and 8.5 litres in 1949.” – GrapeGrowers & 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