A message to Dear Leader – sorry, Dear Reader

I’m in Australia at the moment freezing my butt off as I look over my vines. Snow in winter and 45 degrees C in summer. These shiraz vines have to be made of hardy stuff.

Whilst I’m in this area, I always pay a visit to the antique shop in Yarra Valley and this time was no disappointment.  Apart from a 1945 issue of Autocar and a 1978 issue of Winestate magazine (with a review of Woodleys 1972 Queen Adelaide champagne), I managed to secure a real gem. It’s entitled “Wine: Its History, Culture and Making” issued by Rhinecastle Wines Pty Ltd of Sydney, and with a hand written insert to “Dear Reader” dated 5th March 1946. It includes such insights as “the growing of wine begins with the planting of the grapes…..”. A few wasted nights around the log fire I fear.

What are Australia’s highest rated wines? Grange? Hill of Grace? Bin 60A? The Laird?

Maybe, but on my limited data, I’m showing something else, something perhaps a little surprising. 100 points from Wine Spectator.   Scroll to the end of the e-mail to find out one of Australia’s most highly rated wines.

What’s this #1? An Argentinian wine????

Yes, well you know that Bastard Box is obsessed with ratings on AUSTRALIAN wines, so what are these interlopers doing here? Well, I just happen to like them.

NV / Finca Flichmann / Extra Brut Rose/ Sparkling – About S$25 from Le Vigne. I say about because that’s what it is in a mixed dozen at Le Vigne until 7th July. I have no rating except personal preference, and on a dollar for dollar basis, I reckon this wine is OK.

What’s This #2? Another South African wine???

Having spent April driving a bakkie around KwaZulu Natal and Lesotho, have I become an instant expert in South African wine? Actually, not quite, as I’ve had this wine before in Singapore and not been disappointed.

2009 / Boekenhoutskloof / Chocolate Box / Red Blend – S$65 from Wine Exchange Asia.  When I say red blend, I mean syrah, grenache noir, cabernet, cinsault and viognier. A great wine to drag out when your guests can’t manage to say Bimbadgen or Bidgeebong, let alone Boekenhoutskloof.  As exotic as “foie gras” or “parmesan” on your first trip to Europe in a kombi van. Try it.

The times, they are a changin’:

“ Fino sherry, the delicate aperitif we associate with the towns of Jerez and Puerto in Spain, is now [in Australia] called ‘pale dry apera’ “ – Jeni Port, writing in The Age on 5th October 2010

The 100 pointer – Campbells NV Merchant Prince Rutherglen Rare Muscat. 100 points Wine Spectator October 2010. End of story.

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1 Response to “A message to Dear Leader – sorry, Dear Reader”


  1. 1 red wine galore australia July 8, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Yarra Valley will also be a home to great red wines


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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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