Oh dear. Did the French start the Australian wine industry?

Reviewed 5 New Zealand wines and 3 Australian today. Seems only fair given the rugby outcome. From my time in New Zealand in 1988, I learnt two golden rules when it came to rugby. The first rule is that it’s best not to be an Australian in New Zealand if the All Blacks win. The second rule is that it’s best not to be an Australian in New Zealand if the All Black’s lose.

Wines on offer by Essential Fine Wines, Goddess Wines, The Cellar Door, The Local Nose, Underground Wines, Wine Direction.


Were you a fan of Cliff Richard? Come on, own up! Well now you can be a fan of his wines too. Have a look at:



Here’s today’s reviews:

2009 / Rock Ferry / Marlborough / Pinot Gris / S$30 at Underground Wines – “A gutsy Pinot Gris” is how Bob Campbell describes it. He gives it 87 points (“above average” so OK rather than startling. It retails for NZ$27 which I must say seems a bit high locally, but whatever, that translates into excellent buying here when listed at S$30.

2008 / TerraVin / Marlborough / Pinot Noir / S$42 at Goddess Wine – Bob Campbell called it “charming, fruity” but only gives it 85 points so it’s sitting right on the bottom edge of his “above average” but still good. Retails for NZ$35 so is very acceptable.

2010 / Wignalls / Unwooded / Great Southern / Chardonnay / S$38 at Wine Direction – Halliday 88 (“above average”) and drinking for the next year. Retail price of A$18 so pricing here is OK. It still fits comfortably within the BBI.

2008 / Pikes / Le Merle / Clare Valley / Riesling / S$45 at Wine Direction – This rates solidly in the low 90s from both Halliday and Gourmet Traveller Wine. Acceptable alcohol at 12%, and drinking to 2020. RRP of A$38 making the price here pretty attractive. A safe bet.

2008 / Mitchell / Peppertree / Clare Valley / Shiraz / S$35.53 at The Cellar Door – This is the stand out wine for me today.  James Halliday gives it 96 points (outstanding”) and says that it’s the best Peppertree to date. Long legs, way out to 2030. Usual 14.5% alcohol. With a RRP of A$26 and only S$35 odd here, I’m definitely getting some of this.

Today’s Bastard Box choice is a no-brainer. It’s the Mitchell Peppertree Shiraz. $36 bucks for a 96 point Clare Valley “best yet” shiraz, or $30 bucks for a Pinot Gris, any Pinot Gris? I’ve made my choice. And if push came to shove, I’d put the Pikes Riesling in there in second place. Nothing wrong with the Pinot Gris, and it’s a good comparative price, I just get more excited by the other two wines.


WINESPEAK 101 – How to waffle with the best of them. Today’s word is – BLACKCURRANT

“Sweet, ripe blackcurrant nose, medium-bodied but ripe and lively, fresh and not extracted.”

“Stylish wine with good definition of blackcurrant aromas and elegant, fresh, cassis varietal palate with hints of violets and excellent oak balance.”

Give yourself a pat on the back if you picked that the wines are reds. Give yourself a drink if you picked the first one as Syrah and the second one as Cabernet. Easy isn’t it?



“A cordial invitation is extended to visitors to the Rutherglen area to visit our winery…..” Weren’t we ever so polite back in 1978. Marketing novices perhaps, but polite.


Oh dear. Does this mean the FRENCH started our wine industry?

“From this small beginning, a few vines in the Governor’s garden, the only vines in the New Continent, Governor Hunter was able to report in 1789 that Sydney had eight acres under vines.  History does not relate who made the first wine. Nor who first exported some to England. But someone did. The Duke of Portland writes to the Governor of New South Wales in April, 1800: ‘As it appears that the soil and climate of New South Wales are favourable to the cultivation of the grape, there will go out by the “Royal Admiral” two Frenchmen, who are prisoners of war here and who appear to have a perfect knowledge of the cultivation of a vineyard and the whole process of making wine….I trust the employment of these men will enable you in a very short period to cultivate a vineyard for the Crown to such an extent as to allow of your producing, on the spot, whatever wine may be wanted for the public account.’” – The Aesthetics of Wine, March 1946

Stay tuned…….

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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