The Battle of the Pinots

Reviewed wines on sale by Eve Spirits, Le Vigne, Underground Wines, Wine Exchange Asia


Eek! The exchange rate against the Aussie is 1.3126. Tough times for current release Aussie wines in Singapore especially when you can buy Italian or US reds for under $12 here if you’re desperate. I did say “reds”. They may also be wine.

On that note, as we travelled around the Kimberley, my brother experimented with some French wine from Languedoc – the alluringly named Arrogant Frog Croak Rotie.  Well, it’s just my personal opinion (although my brother did agree) that it’s close to undrinkable. If you get a chance, have a look at what Nick Stock says in the 2012 Good Wine Guide. It’s not as complimentary as my opinion.


Want to know what others think of Aussie wines? Here’s Wine Spectator’s top ratings in their July 2012 issue. And yet again, the top wines are not only shiraz. Do we Aussies really give the Rutherglen fortifieds the credit they deserve and that others clearly see?

NV Chambers Rosewood Vineyards Rare Rutherglen Muscat – 98 pts

2006 Henschke Hill of Grace Eden Valley Shiraz – 98 pts

2009 Two Hands Ares Barossa Valley/McLaren Vale Shiraz – 98 pts

2009 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Margaret River Chardonnay – 96 pts

2010 Mollydooker Velvet Glove McLaren Vale Shiraz – 96 pts

2009 Two Hands Zippy’s Block Marananga Barossa Valley Shiraz  – 96

The Chambers Muscat is about A$350 per half bottle. If you’re interested, drop me an email at and if there’s enough buyers to make a case, we’ll bring it up to Singapore.



In the August 31 issue of Wine Spectator, they cover “The Best Wine Lists of 2012” and for Australia, one of those listed is Grossi Florentino in Melbourne. I happened to be passing Grossi Florentino recently, so I ducked in to see what they had on their wine list. They’re listing two wines that Tiger Wines also sells, namely the 2010 Thick as Thieves Poco Rosso Yarra Valley Nebbiolo (in stock at S$57) and the 2009 Cape Bernier Tasmania Pinot Noir (arriving late August).


If you’re old enough to remember, Australian radio (that’d be the HMV Little Nipper radio set) used to have a weekly “Battle of the Sounds” sponsored by Hoadley’s. Who remembers their Polly Waffle and Violet Crumble? Stuff of kids dreams.

Well, here’s the Battle of the Pinots, sort of.

They’re listed in ascending order of comparative value according to the BBI (Bastard Box Index):

2009 / Old Coach Road / Nelson / Pinot Noir / $28 at Le Vigne – The price value on this is pretty good as the wine retails in New Zealand at around NZ$17. But, Michael Cooper only gives it “average” and that means it struggles against some of the other offerings reviewed here today. Hard to find a pinot worth drinking any cheaper though.  And Michael Cooper does say “simple but pleasant…priced right.”

2008 / Seifried / Winemakers Collection / Nelson / Pinot Noir / $40.80 at Le Vigne – Also good value on a pure price comparative basis as it retails at NZ$35. Michael Cooper gives it “good, bronze medal”, Bob Campbell “average to good” and suggest drinking to 2015. “Fine-boned” he calls it.

2010 / The Ned / Marlborough / Pinot Noir / $44.90 by the case at Eve Spirits – This wine is a branded label from Marisco Vineyards. Bob Campbell gives it “above average” and calls it “charming”. Retails for NZ$26.

2007 / Bald Hills / Single Vineyard / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / $74.80 at Le Vigne – A “dense, rich” Pinot Noir according to Bob Campbell and he awards it “very good”. Michael Cooper agrees and gives it “excellent”. Should drink to 2017. RRP NZ$44.

2011 / Best’s / Great Western / Pinot Noir / $41.20 at Le Vigne – I could only find one rating on this wine but it’s by Jeremy Oliver and that’s 91 pts, “silver medal”. Nice wine then.  Should drink to 2019 and with a RRP of A$22, it’s good value.

2009 / Chard Farm / Mata-Au / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / $49 at Wine Exchange Asia – This is a new label by Chard Farm and it’s scoring well enough. Michael Cooper says “excellent”, the Good Wine Guide (Nick Stock) says “this is where serious quality starts to kick in”; Bob Campbell says “elegant, excellent”. Should drink through next year. With a RRP of NZ$44, good value too.

2010 / Ninth Island / Tasmania / Pinot Noir / $31 at Le Vigne –No, that’s not a mistake and here’s why. Jeremy Oliver gives it 90 pts “silver medal”, Good Wine Guide/Nick Stock says that it fits in its “good wine” range of ratings, and Wine Front reckons it fits in their “very happy with it” range. In fact Wine Front say specifically that it’s a “pretty decent” wine. But it’s the great pricing that wins the day. RRP is A$24 so S$31 is pretty darned good.

So there you have it. A bunch of reasonable Pinots at affordable prices. Nothing startling (no 95 pointers) but we’re not talking sheep stations either. Enjoy!

By the way, Le Vigne’s prices are a special that last until 7th August.


WINESPEAK 101 – How to waffle with the best of them

Today’s word is “RHUBARB” as in;

“Nice integration of rhubarb and cherry-like varietal fruit characters.” 

That’s a Pinot Noir they’re talking about so see if you can get the rhubarb in the Pinots reviewed today. 



You’d pay about A$120 at auction for that 1973 St Henri today




Tiger Wines has just landed the following Tasmania and Yarra Valley wines. Check the website at for more info.

Apsley Gorge 2008 Tasmania Chardonnay $59

Apsley Gorge 2008 Tasmania Pinot Noir $71

Luke Lambert 2010 Yarra Valley Syrah $62

Luke Lambert 2010 Reserve Yarra Valley Syrah $85

Mayer 2011 Close Planted Yarra Valley Pinot Noir $71

Pressing Matters 2010 Tasmania Pinot Noir $66


“Cool nights, blustery days, plenty of rain, and yet still as sunny as you’d expect for an Australian state, Tassie is home to some of the best-kept wine secrets on the planet.” – Matthew Jukes of the Daily Mail, August 2010


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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