Grange at S$588 and top weekend buying at S$110 – did someone mention recession?

Reviewed a total of eight wines on offer by Bottles & Bottles, The Cellar Door, Underground Wines, Wine Exchange Asia


He would indeed be turning in his grave. See . I knew David Clarke well from my time at Macquarie Bank. I recall an evening at which my department was hosting some special clients at a vertical Grange tasting.  We invited David to open the event. He keenly agreed but regretted that he needed to get away early as he had guests for dinner. Well past his indicated departure time, and well into our vertical tasting, I said “David, shouldn’t you be going, you have guests for dinner” to which he replied “To hell with the guests, this is Grange!”


In this age of planned obsolescence, short attentions spans, and instant gratification, isn’t it great that we can still procure something that will reward us for our patience and our care. I’m just looking at the tasting notes sent out in James Halliday’s recent Wine Companion newsletter. 2009 Grant Burge Corryton cabernet, drinking to a mere 2020. Then 2009 Tower Estate Horse Paddock shiraz drinking to 2030, ditto 2009 Dutschke Oscar Semmler shiraz, ditto 2009 Hewitson Old Garden mouvedre. I say, good on those winemakers for giving us something that is crafted for the future, such a rare thing these days.


Well, what a week. Wine Exchange Asia dropped a swag of investment wine onto the market this week and what I understand from Robert Rees is that it’s all gone. If you’re not on their Twitter or Facebook list then you probably missed out. I know I did. Bugger!

It’s not a big selection of wines reviewed today, and I have to say that this is the first time that the value/quality balance is generally OK, not great. We’ve been treated to some exceptional deals on wines over the last few months; some of these deals are still very good good, just not exceptional.

2007 / Bushmere Estate / Unoaked / Gisborne / Chardonnay / S$30.50 at Underground Wines – The only rating I could get on this was from Michael Cooper who gave it 3 stars, which equates to “good”. He’s showing a RRP of NZ$19 so the price here is terrific value.

2009 / Villa Maria / Cellar Selection / Marlborough / Chardonnay / S$32.39 at The Cellar Door – Ignore the odd pricing and look at the wine. Bob Campbell did and wasn’t overly impressed giving it 82 points, but that’s still “average to good” in his terms and bronze medal standard. Retails for NZ$24 so the small drop in quality is made up for in a very decent price indeed.

2009 / Rockburn / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / S$52 at Wine Exchange Asia – A solid 89 points from Bob Campbell, making it “above average” and bordering on “very good”. “Good weight and length” he says. It retails for NZ$40 so the price here is pretty attractive.

2005 / Penfolds / South Australia / Grange / S$588 at Bottles & Bottles – I don’t know if this is the cheapest price around town but it looked reasonable to me. Certainly better than the S$820 that Carrefour had it at. I know that Grange is A$550 down-under, but with the WET rebate kicking in, I reckon that you might see it in Singapore at S$500. But then again, you might not. As I said, I think this is a fair price. Oh yes, 95, 96 97 points by everybody that counts.

2004 / Wild Duck Creek / Springflat / Heathcote / Shiraz / S$55, S$49 by the half case at Wine Exchange Asia – Scores a Halliday “highly recommended” rating and it’s drinking way, way out to 2024. The alcohol? A modest (?) 15%.  Retailed for A$36 so the BBI reckons the pricing is spot on.

2005 / Wild Duck Creek / Reserve / Heathcote / Shiraz / S$110 at Wine Exchange Asia – A 95 pointer from Halliday with a life expectancy of 2020. Retailed for A$125 so the offer here is very attractive indeed. Alcohol? Did you have to ask? I’ll whisper it to you…..16%.

So what’s Bastard Box’s recommendation today? I’d go for the 2005 Wild Duck Creek Reserve shiraz at S$110 at Wine Exchange Asia. If you really don’t like the alcohol level, add some water. Oh, yes, it is acceptable. You might want to check with Robert on availability though.

My second choice would go to the 2004 Wild Duck Creek Springflat shiraz followed very closely by the Rockburn pinot. If Wine Exchange Asia has sold out of all of those, then I’d get the Villa Maria chardonnay at The Cellar Door.


Winespeak 101: Learn to waffle with the best of them. Today’s word is SILKY

“This silky, supple red offers black olive-accented blackberry, plum and cherry flavours mingling with hints of chocolate and spice.”

“Silky, supple and complex from the first sniff to the last echo on the long, expressive finish, this drips with character, offering black olive-accented blackberry, plum and cherry fruit mingling with hints of unsweetened chocolate, bacon-stewed greens and haunting spices.”

The wine? Syrah – so next time someone asks “what do you think of this syrah” simply reply “silky”. Not sure about bacon-stewed greens though…..


THE WAY WE WERE:  1975 Arrowfield

Interesting that it’s a wine for grown-ups given that you have to be an adult to legally drink! As far as I can see, Arrowfield doesn’t use black labels anymore.


“A Major Ross, writing from Norfolk Island in 1790 said: ‘From eight grape vines which are found in His Majesty’s garden and two vines I found in Lt. Creswell’s garden, there are 600 cuttings planted here and all of them in flourishing condition. Last August His Excellency, the Governor-in-Chief, sent 250 cuttings from Port Jackson. In the course of two or three years I can see no reason why we may not have as much wine made upon this island as will supply New South Wales and this place. I think it very probable that in a short time they may export wine from this island.’ Alas! There is no record that, even if the wine was made, it was exported to New South Wales. It may have saved a great deal of trouble if it had been a Wine and not a Rum Rebellion.”  – The Aesthetics of Wine, March 1946


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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