And the winner of the week is…….from Carrefour!

Reviewed wines on offer by Artisan Cellars, Carrefour, Crystal Wines, Equatorial Wines, Eve Spirits, Underground Wines, Wine Exchange Asia

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Bit bizarre this week. Of the 5 Australian wines I looked at, I couldn’t find ratings on 4 of them, in fact for one of them, I couldn’t even find the winery!

So let’s have a look at what I know I don’t know:

Equatorial Wines has a 2008 Barinia Clare Valley Cabernet for sale at S$35.50. I’ve never heard of Barinia and it seems it doesn’t have a web-site.  A quick Google and I was not much more informed. No rating from any of the recognized raters down under so I can only guess it’s going to be a hard sell on this wine.

Nepenthe (on offer by Eve Spirits) is much better known but I couldn’t find a rating on the 2011 White Tryst (Sauvignon Blanc Semillon) or the 2010 Good Doctor Pinot Noir. The flyer says the Tryst has a Wine Advocate 91pt rating but I couldn’t find that in my eRobertParker subscription. Rating aside, the pricing at S$31.90 and S$45.90 respectively looks OK.

That leaves the Rosemount on sale at Carrefour (2010 Rosemount Roseglen Shiraz at S$16.90) but Roseglen doesn’t pop up in any rater reviews. I suspect it’s a specific export label. I’ll pass.

Let’s have a look at what’s left, in ascending order of value.

2009 / Noon / Reserve / McLaren Vale / Cabernet Sauvignon / S$152 or S$144.40 for members at Crystal Wines – This wine gets a 91pt gong from Wine Advocate so not shabby. Trouble is, this wine is on sale in Australia right now (Wine House) at A$80 so the price here of S$152 looks ambitious. Drinking to 2018.

2009 / Pyramid Valley / Lions Tooth / North Canterbury / Chardonnay / S$101.65 at Artisan Cellars – Do you follow Bob Campbell or Wine Advocate? Bob Campbell is not overly excited by this wine giving it 85 points “above average” whereas Wine Advocate gives it 91+ “outstanding”. You make your own choice. Retails for NZ$65 though, so that makes the price here a little on the high side.

2009 / Desert Heart / Central Otago / Chardonnay / S$38 at Wine Exchange Asia – A solid 5 stars from Michael Cooper (“outstanding”) and with a RRP of NZ$32, very good value at S$38. Should drink to 2017.

2011 / Soho / Stella / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc / S$29.50 by the case at Underground Wines – Michael Cooper gives it “excellent, silver medal” but unfortunately does not give its drinking window. Should be safe for 2012 though. Its RRP is indicated as NZ$23, so this is great buying.

I can’t believe this.  The winner for today comes from Carrefour. As you know, I’m pretty critical of places that don’t quote vintages or sell wine right next to bicycles and vacuum cleaners. Carrefour’s catalogue (expiring 29th March) has the Rosemount on the same page as toilet rolls and on a completely separate page, the Kim Crawford next to chicken nuggets. Go figure. And there’s no vintage quoted. So, with the very big proviso that the wine offered is 2010, here’s the review:

Kim Crawford / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc / S$29.65 at Carrefour – It gets 5 stars from Michael Cooper “outstanding, gold medal” and Wine Spectator “very good”. With a RRP of NZ$23, this is the winning deal. If it’s earlier than 2010, forget it, as the 2010 should be drunk right now.

To be fair, any of the last three wines here (Desert Heart, Soho, Kim Crawford) are good value, there’s not a lot in it.

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TASMANIA UPDATE (and a little bit of Yarra Valley)

The word I get from the Apple Isle is that the grapes are in for the northern wineries but down south, they’re still picking. Volumes are well down apparently but quality up.  Watch this space.

Also watch this space, as over the coming months Tiger Wines (www.tiger-wines.com) will be bringing to Singapore a range of wines from Apsley Gorge, Chartley Estate, Domaine A, Glaetzer-Dixon, Kate Hill, Pressing Matters, Spring Vale, Waterton, and very exciting, a fairly comprehensive range from Stefano Lubiana.

Some interesting small-producer wines from the likes of Yarra Valley winemakers Luke Lambert, Timo Mayer, and Syd Bradford (from Thick as Thieves) will make their way up here too.

It’s going to be a great opportunity to try wines from some of Australia’s up-and-coming and “brave” winemakers. Brian Franklin from Apsley Gorge, Steve Lubiana from Stefano Lubiana and Peter Althaus from Domaine A were all listed in Decanter’s “Australia’s 10 Bravest Winemakers” in their May 2010 issue.

Steve Lubiana is highlighted in Max Allen’s book “The future makers – Australian wines for the 21st century”. So too are Luke Lambert and Timo Mayer, referred to as members of the South Pack , “an excuse some may say, for boozy road-trips thinly disguised as marketing”. If Singapore is ready, maybe we can entice them to pay us a visit.

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‘Mark how it smells. Methinks a real pain

Is by its odour thrown upon my brain.

I’ve tasted it – ‘tis spiritless and flat,

And it has as many different tastes,

As can be found in compound pastes….

A poet comments on port in 1702, in “Winetasting” by Peter Simic, Winestate 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

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