Archive for November, 2013

Australian Pinot is the best in the New World

Freycinet Vineyards Pinot Noir just scored highly in the August issue of Decanter. Have a look at the News tab on Freycinet’s website below to see what Andrew Jefford and others say about Australian Pinot Noir (“Australian Pinot is the best in the New World….”). Just don’t tell the Kiwis.


Here’s the reviews for this week. Must be the quiet before the Xmas storm.

2012 / Murdoch James / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc / $26.50 at Underground Wines – This gets a rating of 87 from Lisa Perotti-Brown at Wine Advocate putting it into their “very good” category and drinking through 2014. RRP is NZ$20 so pricing here is excellent. Sniff around some of the supermarket shelves in this price bracket and I think you’ll see this is quite a good deal. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2004 / Kilikanoon / Covenant / Clare Valley / Shiraz / $45 or $39 by the half case at Wine Exchange Asia – Ratings wise, this wine may have set a new record for divergence of opinion. There’s nothing wrong with differing opinions. One wine table that I’m on, several members think Penfolds Yattarna is rubbish but I see it just topped the “Judgement of Montreal” recently. Yep, wine can divide opinions alright.  So, for this wine here’s how the raters go – Jeremy Oliver 88, should have been drunk by 2012; Lisa Perotti-Brown 89, agrees with Jeremy Oliver that it should have been drunk by now (Robert Parker’s earlier rating was 94, drink to 2016); James Halliday 94, drinking to 2024. So, fellow wine drinkers – who do you believe? What are you going to do? Here’s what I’d do – I’d buy a bottle and try it and if you reckon it’s still OK, run back and get some more. The pricing looks about right for an older vintage. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2009 / Majella / Coonawarra / Cabernet Sauvignon / $54 at Crystal Wines – It’s one of those days. Nobody can agree. James Halliday 95, drink to 2026, Campbell Mattinson 94+, drink to 2024+, but Jeremy Oliver 89, drink through 2014 to 2017+. Pricing here doesn’t overly excite as it retailed at A$33 but is now about A$28 at Langtons auctions. If you were astute and following this blog last year, you could have picked this wine up for as low as $42 elsewhere. But that was then and this is now. Stay alert! . BBI ♥♥♥♥

1999 / Penfolds / South Australia / Grange / Shiraz / $495 at Wine Exchange Asia – Maybe when someone asks “what would you like for Xmas?”, you could drop the hint on this. It’s not the greatest Grange but it still scores 96 from Jeremy Oliver and 95 from James Halliday.  Robert Parker wondered if Grange was heading in the right direction with this vintage and “only” gave it 92, suggesting it would start to fade after 2019. Oliver and Halliday reckon it’ll go to 2029. You could buy this at auction in Australia and possibly land it here for about S$465 if you checked it in your baggage on the way back. Why bother. It’s here, it’s a fair price. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2003 / Kilikanoon / Covenant / Clare Valley / Shiraz / $35 at Wine Exchange Asia – Here we go again, from 89 pts and drink by 2015 by Jeremy Oliver to 94+ and drink to 2025 by Robert Parker. Form your own opinion – it’s only $35 after all. Actually, what a great (and relatively cheap) way to test yourself against the raters.  Write the cost off as experience. BBI ♥♥♥♥


Here’s some of the latest ratings on wines from wineries that Tiger Wines represents:

Bromley “Harrison” Geelong Pinot Noir 2012 A$3894 pts Wine Companion

Bromley “Murray” Geelong Pinot Noir 2012 A$38 93 pts Wine Companion

Chartley Estate “Black Crow” Tasmania Pinot Noir 2011  A$28Gold at Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition 2013

Goaty Hill Tasmania Riesling 2012 A$2594 pts Wine Companion

Holm Oak Tasmania Arneis 2012 A$2592 pts Wine Companion

Grey Sands The Mattock Tasmania Merlot blend 2012 A$3093 pts Wine Companion

Let me know if you are interested in any and I’ll do up a “delivered to your door” S$ price for you.


Some  Tassie snippets:

Grant Burge has released the 2004 Helen Grand Cuvee, a Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkler from Pipers River region, the winery’s first sparkling wine from Tasmania.

The new chief winemaker at Heemskerk and Abel’s Tempest is Charles “Chilly” Hargave. He is quoted in Winestate Nov/Dec 2013 as saying “I think the wines we are producing out of Tasmania are some of the best examples of their varieties: steely Riesling, beautiful aromatic Pinot Noir, taut and linear Chardonnay, and sparkling wines with lovely finesse.”

Treasury Wine Estates has bought the White Hills Vineyard in Tasmania from Brown Brothers

And finally…

I didn’t know that!  – 45% of Pinot Noir and  & 60% of Chardonnay grown in Tasmania goes into sparkling wine production.


Crown seals on sparkling wine rock, if only because they confuse wait staff. The other day, I had a sparkling shiraz at a restaurant in town, and the lovely waitress took the bottle away, opened it, and brought it back complete with a chilled beer glass. Bless.” – Blogger only known as Julian.

Some older Warrenmangs for you

Caught up with Rick Burge at Burge Family Winemakers in Lyndoch a few weeks ago and spent several hours sampling some older museum releases and some of the upcoming releases. If you don’t know Burge Family Wines, I think you should – as noted in Max Allen’s “the Future Makers” (highly recommended reading), Rick dances to his own drum and one of the best examples of that is his decision (and ability without corporate beancounters) to make a straight Merlot this year. I’m looking forward to bringing some up to Singapore early next year.


It’s not that far to Xmas so keep your eyes open for those champagne and sparkling specials. There should be a few around from the usual culprits such as Wine Exchange Asia, Le Vigne, Cornerstone, Crystal etc. The world is your oyster.

Here’s the specials reviewed for today:

2010 / Lime Rock / Hawkes Bay / Sauvignon Blanc / $30 at Underground Wines – Michael Cooper puts it into his “good, bronze medal” category with 3 out of 5, and Wine Advocate puts it into its “very good” category with 87 points. RRP of NZ$19 so the pricing offered here is quite good with only the lower rating dragging it down to 4 BBI stars. I’d be a little concerned about its age though as I’m a little cautious about Sauvignon Blanc once it gets past a few years (there are exceptions like Te Koko and Lady A) and I see that Wine Advocate says drink by 2013. I haven’t personally tried a bottle so I can’t comment but I think I’d ask the opinion of the retailer (and hold them to it) or perhaps try a bottle first. Don’t be put off by my caution – I’m still drinking some 2011 Dog Point which according to some should have been consumed already. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2010 / Saint Clair / Omaka Reserve / Marlborough / Pinot Noir / $54.40 for one bottle, $51.20 for six, and $44.80 for 12+  at Cornerstone Wines – Phew! Talk about complicated pricing. Anyway, how is it? Well Bob Campbell puts it into his “very good but not great” category at 90 points. Retails for NZ$37 so the S$ pricing for a single bottle is spot on. I’ve calculated the BBI stars against the single bottle price for a fair comparison against other offers and it comes in at…BBI ♥♥♥♥

2002 / Henschke / Keyneton Euphonium / Eden Valley / Shiraz Cabernet Merlot / $70 or $65 by six at Wine Exchange Asia – There’s a bit of this floating around Singapore and that’s no bad thing for you as a buyer. The last time I reviewed this was in April 2012 and it’s still the same price.  It gets excellent ratings from Australian reviewers (James Halliday 95, Jeremy Oliver 95), gets into Wine Advocate’s “outstanding” category at 93, but didn’t impress Wine Spectator quite as much who gave it 88 (“very good”). There’s a fair bit of disagreement on its ageing though with Oliver suggesting out to 2022+, Halliday and Wine Advocate at 2015 and Wine Spectator at 2010. Yes, 2010. So I’m going to throw in my opinion, based on a bottle I had in September. I don’t think it’s got that much more time left in it, maybe another year or two, so I’d definitely buy it on price and quality but I’d drink it soon.  It was last auctioned at Langtons at A$57 (this year) so using that as a fair current price (it was released at A$32), I get…BBI ♥♥♥♥

2005 / Warrenmang / Black Puma / Pyrenees / Shiraz / $55 or $49 by six at Wine Exchange Asia – Here’s another wine that’s been floating around Singapore for a while. Good solid ratings Halliday 94, Oliver 91, Campbell Mattinson 94 and this time at least, all agree at least 2020 for drinking. It retailed at A$80 on release which looks a bit optimistic in hindsight. I couldn’t find a recent auction price (last Langtons auction price was A$42 but that was in 2008!) so it’s definitely not a darling of the auction set. Winehouse had the 2004 and 2006 for sale in the mid A$60s so that’s what I’ve used as a current guide. Makes the price in Singapore of $55 look pretty darned good and if you like your shiraz big and 15%, then it’s probably for you. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2005 / Warrenmang / Luigi Tribute / Pyrenees / Shiraz Cabernet / $55 or $49 by six at Wine Exchange Asia –  Last reviewed by me in November 2012, same price, same wine, you know the story. Halliday 95, plenty of life still in it (2025) and a price that had collapsed from its initial release of A$96 to who knows…but it’s here at $55 so I’ll give it…BBI ♥♥♥♥♥


“I’m not after technical perfection. I don’t have much time for the Australian approach, where the ideal wine is the most neutral. It’s easy to clean up a wine, but by removing faults, unless they are truly detrimental, you also remove life.” – Jacques Lardiere, winemaker at Louis Jadot, speaking with Stephen Brook in Decanter, September 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