Ata Rangi Pinot gets 98 pts and $49 bucks for an aged Cabernet

Some newsy bits before we get into the wine reviews. Le Vigne are in the throes of shifting from their Holland Park premises to 72 Namly Place 267220. They might be open there by the time you read this. And, it’s been a long time coming but Straits Wine Company has finally revamped its website and it looks fairly comprehensive.



I’ve been hunting down the 2010 Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir in Singapore. Why? Well, I’m a big fan of the 2008 and the 2009 so when I read that the 2010 received 98 pts in Gourmet Traveller Wine, I knew I had to have some.  They said (and the ‘they’ is Bob Campbell) “this is one of Ata Rangi’s best ever wines….I’m not sure how they can improve on a wine like this.” Need more convincing? Wine Spectator gives it 94 pts but Decanter place it top of the tree in their article on New Zealand Pinot Noir 2010 in the July issue, giving it 19/20. Yes, it is in Singapore, and it’s at The Cellar Door for $82.50. I’ve got mine.


Reviewed 11 wines offered by Artisan Cellars, Crystal Wines, Eve Spirits, Straits Wine Company, Underground Cellars, Wine Exchange Asia, reporting on 7.

In ascending order of value:

2008 / Rochford / Macedon Ranges / Pinot Noir / $51 at Straits Wine Company – This wine retails for A$36 so there’s nothing wrong with the pricing here, it’s pretty close to spot on BBI. It just struggles to crack the 90 pt barrier (James Halliday 89, Huon Hooke 86, Jeremy Oliver 87, Wine Front 88) so on a comparative quality/value basis, it loses out here today.

2006 / Massena / Moonlight Run / Barossa Valley / Grenache Blend / $55 at Crystal Wines – Unlike the Rochford, this wine does just break through the 90pt barrier getting just that (90 pts) from Wine Front and 88 from James Halliday. It’s the relative pricing here that puts it in this spot. It retails at A$25, A$11 less than the Rochford but S$4 more by the time it gets here. Pass.

2008 / Majella / Coonawarra / Shiraz / $54 from Crystal Wines – Another wine in that no-man’s land of 87-90 pts (Halliday 90, Oliver 90, Huon Hooke 87), but again, it’s the pricing that’s letting it down. Retails for A$28 so the BBI says it could be coming in a good $9 under the price here to match the value others seem to achieve.

2010 / McHenry Hohnen / Margaret River / Cabernet Merlot / $45 at Straits Wine Company – Finally, a wine in the 90s! Halliday 93, and Wine Front 91, it retails for A$21.60 to be precise so the pricing is just OK, but we’re getting there.

2010 / Glaetzer / Amon Ra / Barossa Valley / Shiraz / $110 at Wine Exchange Asia – It retails for A$90 so the pricing is OK without being startling but it gets a solid 93 pts from Huon Hooke and Wine Front who call it “a big blokey style” and at 15% alc., who’d be surprised by that. Drinking surprisingly early at 2022 to 2030.

2006 / Hewitson / Private Cellar / Barossa Valley / Shiraz Mouvedre / $90 for a magnum at Wine Exchange Asia – A huge jump in value for these last two wines. Halliday gives it 94 pts and reckons it’ll last to 2040. Hmm, maybe for my 89th birthday? Halliday thought the magnum listed at A$170, I reckon A$140 would be a better bet, but either way, this is great value.

And the winner is…

2003 / d’Arenberg / The Coppermine Road / McLaren Vale / Cabernet / $49 at Wine Exchange Asia – Can’t beat this for value. It retailed for A$65, last seen in Melbourne at A$59 and only S$49 here.  Halliday 94 pts, Oliver 93 pts, and Wine Front $91 pts, and still drinking for another 3-4 years if you believe Oliver and Wine Front, although Halliday wouldn’t wait any longer. $49 bucks.  Still want that 2008 Majella at $54?


WINESPEAK 101 – Waffle with the best of them – Today’s word MARSH-MALLOW

‘Rich and full-bodied, with ripe layers of fig, apricot and melon flavours shaded by toasty, smoky roasted marshmallow notes”.

Mmm, I can taste it now. Chardonnay of course. It’s an odd word when you strip it to its essentials. Marsh and mallow. Wonder what the Mandarin is for that.


And it is pleasant to conjecture just how they first discovered wine. The imagination seizes the picture of our forefathers coming hot from the chase, slacking [sic] their thirst at a cool brook, and idly picking sweet berries from a nearby bush.  The wives would take some sweet berries home for the children, they protected in their shelters by the aged folks. And so it would happen that some of the berries, left uneaten and neglected in their containers, would ferment. One day, tasting, our forefathers found that the sweet berries had changed into dry wine. The miracle of the vintage had begun. And from that day to this, the grape marked the progress in the slow civilizing development of man.” – 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