Be careful what they ask for! – Wine & China

10 wines reviewed on offer by Absolute Blizzard Resources, Artisan Cellars, Crystal Wines, eWineasia, The Cellar Door, Underground Wines, Wine Connection, Wine Culture, Wine Exchange Asia,

Now here’s a tale that will have you shaking your head. Two wineries produce wine with almost exactly the same labels. Ah, you’re thinking – one in Australia and the other in China. Not quite. Both the wineries are in Australia. Read on…..


Over the last few weeks I was starting to wonder if some of the smaller players in the wine biz here might have got knocked out of the field, so quiet were the specials coming through. Thankfully, the specials are coming fast and furious again, although still quieter than the “45%  off” for National Day last year.

Here’s some weekend buying tips:

NV / Dominique Portet / LD / Yarra Valley / Brut Rose sparkling / S$43.50 at eWineasia – With a RRP of A$25, the pricing here is spot-on. Epicure (from The Age in Melbourne) give it 4 stars, meaning “a very good wine of style and personality”. No, really. Not a bad way to get some bubbles up your nose.

2010 / Cape Mentelle / Margaret River/ Semillon Sauvignon Blanc / S$43, S$40.85 for members at Crystal Wines – If you don’t want the bubbles of the Dominique Portet, then this is a better buy. Sells at the same price down-under (A$25), sells at almost the same price in Singapore but this one comes with a 4.5 star Epicure rating or “first class, a wine of distinction” as they say.

2006 / Lindis River / One by One / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / S$80.25 at Artisan Cellars – I think Artisan Cellars have got their work cut out on this one. Step into the S$80 ring for a Kiwi pinot and you’re up against the likes of Felton Road and Ata Rangi. Step into the ring with only a 3.5 star rating from Michael Cooper and the odds are definitely against you. With a RRP of NZ$40, the BBI puts the expected price at around S$60. Handicapped from the start.

2005 / Mount Mary / Quintet / Yarra Valley / Cabernet Blend / S$135 at Absolute Blizzard Resources –  An icon wine. 5 stars from just about everybody. Still drinking out to 2025 apparently, in fact it’s still a bit young. A quick look at the on-liners in Australia suggest that it’s still available for A$155. Price here looks very good.

2005 / Paringa Estate / Peninsula / Mornington Peninsula / Shiraz / S$55 at Wine Culture – A 4.5 star wine according to James Halliday, drinking out to 2013.  The first two wines reviewed here today had a RRP of A$25. So does this one. They’re selling for S$43. This one’s not.

2007 / Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards / Swartland / Syrah / S$30 at Wine Exchange Asia – You’ve possibly never heard of Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards from South Africa, but in this case, I can say that I have. In fact, we’ve been drinking their TMV White (essentially a chenin blanc blend) and once you get over the initial shock that it is so, so different to anything else, it’s actually a wine that has you coming back again and again. I have no personal experience of the syrah but Platters gives it 4.5 stars which equates to “outstanding” in their books.

So, my tip for this weekend would be to stock up on the Cape Mentelle Semillon Sauvignon Blanc as your white, and the Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards Syrah as your red. Now that won’t break the bank, will it?


The way things were, 1978…..

“Australian people seem to be ready to pay a lot of money for their drinks but very little for their food. So, the restauranteur will give the food away and make a profit on the wine. And when the chappie has drunk a little bit, now they go further. They fill the glass, fill the glass, fill the glass, if you are not careful you are obliged to leave the place with your full glass of wine, which is crime, not for the money value but the real value of wine.” – Bernard Vigor, restauranteur, commenting on the wine scene in December 1978


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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