Lowburn Ferry, Ninth Island, Cloudy Bay – wines with a sense of place, at least in the title.

Reviewed only four wines today on offer from Le Vigne, Underground Wines and Wine Exchange Asia.

All the wines reviewed today have a scenic, watery imagery. Rock Ferry, Lowburn Ferry, Ninth Island, Cloudy Bay…..I’ve got ratings for all but the Rock Ferry, so out it goes.

NV / Ninth Island / Tasmania / Sparkling / S$40.55 at Le Vigne – Non-vintages are always hard to apply ratings to as it depends very much on when the rating was done. My research shows that this non-vintage sparkler usually sits in the 90-92 point range so not shabby at all. Priced at about A$27 RRP makes the buying here quite good.

2011 / Cloudy Bay / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc / S$44 at Wine Exchange Asia, this weekend only – What can I say that hasn’t already been said? It’s an icon, it’s at a terrific price.

2008 / Lowburn Ferry / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / S$45 at Underground Wines – Bob Campbell gives it 87 points and calls it an “elegant wine”. 87 points from Campbell translates as “above average”. It retails for NZ$41 so on a pure price comparison basis, the cost here of S$45 is very, very tantalizing.

It’s a toss up today. On the one hand, the Lowburn Ferry is the best comparative value relative to its domestic price, but Bastard Box is going to go with the Cloudy Bay as first choice, and the Ninth Island as second choice.


 THE WAY WE WERE – 1979 Stock Gala Spumante

Admit it, you probably had this at your wedding…..



Did you notice? The top four of the Australian whites listed in the Oct/Nov issue of Gourmet Traveller Wine were from Tasmania. No surprise to me!

Tiger Wines has just landed a shipment of 2009 Springvale Freycinet Coast Pinot Noir – a 5 star Tassie Pinot Noir that punches way above its weight!

In our household, the benchmark for New World Pinot Noir is 2008 or 2009 Ata Rangi from Martinborough in New Zealand. It is a stunning wine. Well we had one last night and then took the very risky step of following it up immediately with another Pinot Noir, the 2009 Spring Vale Freycinet Coast Pinot Noir from East Coast Tasmania. Talk about blown away! Instead of prostrating itself in the company of such a benchmark, it stood tall and would have  “kicked sand” if that’s not stretching the metaphor too far. Tiger Wines is delighted to be able to offer another top-notch Tasmanian wine.

Here’s what the winemaker said:

“Ruby violet in colour. Toasty oak, spicy black cherries, licorice, dried herbs and earth. Seamless, flowing palate with upfront punch and creamy, yet juicy palate. Velvety tannins with impressive length. Orchestral!”

Winestate gave it 5 stars (“outstanding”) in July 2011 and said that the “lovely long palate has attractive flavours reminiscent of liqueur cherry confectionery.Spring Vale Vineyards is a family-owned winery, situated just north of Swansea in the heart of the Freycinet Coast region on Tasmania’s East Coat, producing Pinot Noir, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. All wines are produced on-site with exacting care and attention to detail, ensuring that Spring Vale wines are always of exceptional quality. Every year, most of the wines sell out well before the new vintages are bottled.

Now, you don’t have to go to Tasmania to get this wine, you can get it East Coast or Holland!

2009 / Spring Vale / Freycinet Coast / Tasmania / Pinot Noir – S$57

Winestate 5 stars, drinking to 2016, 13.6% alc., RRP in Australia is A$40 – 48 bottles available

Order from tigerwines@singnet.com.sg or visit the website at http://www.tiger-wines.com


Quote for today:

“As Hilaire Belloc so nobly recounts in his ‘Heroic Poem in Praise of Wine’, man advanced across from Asia Minor through the Greek Islands to Africa, thence to Italy and France; here one branch went to the Norse countries (of the Sagas) and the other went to India and the East; and with them all went the Vine.” – The Aesthetics of Wine, March 1946

1 Response to “Lowburn Ferry, Ninth Island, Cloudy Bay – wines with a sense of place, at least in the title.”

  1. 1 Ferry November 29, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Lowburn ferry is the area around the historic ferry across the mighty Clutha River. The picturesque lake are now occupying the site at the foot of Lowburn Valley vineyards, and a lot of glacial terrace surrounding society where gold miners once toiled hot Otago Sun. Lowburn Ferry Pinot Noir 2003 won trophies Champion Wine, Champion Red Wine and Champion Pinot Noir.

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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