Archive for January, 2014

The tale of two bays – it’s not what you buy, but where you buy

Three of “my” wines from Tasmania and Yarra Valley got a gong this week in the latest (Feb/Mar) edition of Gourmet Traveller Wine.

The 2010 Glaetzer-Dixon “Reveur” Tasmania Pinot Noir scored 95 pts with “a pinot of profound flavour, great texture, density and length…”. It’s incorrectly listed at A$30 which it isn’t. It’s A$56 on Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemaker’s website and it’s “limited”. I’ve got 9 bottles in Singapore and 3 cases in Melbourne waiting to come up in late March. It’s S$65 including GST so if you’re interested, let me know.

The 2012 Mayer Yarra Valley Syrah scored 94, “with gorgeous spice and red-fruit flavours”. It’s listed at A$55 and you can get it from me at S$63. I’ve got a couple of cases so let me know your interest.

The 2013 Freycinet Vineyards Tasmania Riesling scored 93 with “rich and full in the mouth with a  trace of sweetness…”. Listed at A$25 and drinking for up to 12 years. I have the 2012 (Gourmet Traveller Wine 96 pts) for S$44 coming up in March and the 2013 is on order so hopefully March too. If you’re interested, you know what to do (


Gong Xi Fa Cai! It seems a bit ridiculous to be sending a blog on specials when most wine shops are shut today and some all weekend. Anyway, here goes…

? / Overstone / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc / $35 at Wine Connection – Let’s get straight into one of my pet hates – listing a wine but not listing the vintage. Why anyone would buy a wine via a shopping cart without knowing the vintage is beyond me, and if there’s any wine you’ll want to know the vintage on, it’s Sauvignon Blanc. It can go off quicker than Fiats used to dissolve in water. And believe me, that’s quick. There’s no help on this wine from Overstone’s website (minimalist would be the best term to describe the website) so I’ve had to turn to Dan Murphy’s in Australia to eke out any information. Dan’s has the 2013 listed (yes, Dan’s does list the vintage) at A$9.99 a bottle or A$9.49 if you buy six. So you know where this wine is pitched then. I also read that Overstone wines are exclusive to the supermarket Woollies in Australia (which includes Dan Murphy’s) so again, you know where it’s pitched.  S$35’s looking a bit much isn’t it, especially when for another S$8 you’ll get the 2013 Cloudy Bay and that sure as hell isn’t A$9.99 at Dan’s? Best I can do…BBI ♥♥♥

2009 / Pyramid Valley / Growers Collection Cowley Family / Wairau Valley / Pinot Noir / $67 at Artisan Cellars – Artisan say you have to quote “web price” to get this deal. James Suckling gives it 93 pts and Lisa Perotti-Brown from Wine Advocate 90, so it’s no slouch.  Should be safe drinking for another year or so, retails at NZ$42 so the pricing’s just a fraction over the BBI (Bastard Box Index) but fair all the same. I’m giving it…BBI ♥♥♥♥

2012 / Cloudy Bay / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc / $53.81 at Winelah! – Let’s get straight into my second pet hate for today – listing wine prices before GST. It’s naughty (don’t believe me? – check the IRAS website) and it’s annoying when it comes to price comparisons with other suppliers whose prices include GST. The wine is listed at $50.29 but actually it’ll cost you $53.81 so that’s what I’m running with. I’m going to assume you already know all that there is to know about Cloudy Bay so I’ll just mention quietly that you could have bought this vintage at Wine Exchange Asia a little while ago for $44. Enough said. – BBI ♥♥♥♥

2013 / Cloudy Bay / Marlborough / Sauvignon Blanc / $49 or $44 by six at Wine Exchange Asia – So the first question on any release of Cloudy Bay is “is it as good as usual?” The answer on this vintage is yes. Campbell Mattinson for one gives it 93 pts but also reckons it should be drunk this year (see Overstone above…). Pricing is spot on, and my guess is you’ll struggle to see lower than the six-pack price, so if Cloudy Bay ticks your box, then get stuck into it. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2005 / Paradigm Hill / Col’s Block / Mornington Peninsual / Shiraz / $48 at – Mornington’s better known for its Pinot than its Shiraz but this is a pretty good example according to James Halliday who gives it 94 pts. Should drink to 2020 according to James. With a RRP of A$35, the pricing here is very attractive indeed (although the “Recommended Retail” of S$79.50 looks a bit ambitious), and this wine was offered up at over $65 a few years ago. I’m giving it…BBI ♥♥♥♥

NV / Ninth Island / Tasmania / Sparkling / $37.75 at Le Vigne, cash & carry – If you’re already reading this blog, I don’t have to explain the difference between Non Vintage and No Vintage, so I won’t. With a rating of 90 from Halliday, it’s fair to say that this is a quaffing sparkler and that’s just what James infers when he says “ideal aperitif on a hot summer day”. Well, that’s every day in Singapore so best you stock up. RRP is A$27 although I’m sure it’s discounted below that but even so, the price here is (again for Le Vigne – well done chaps) the best on a pure price comparison basis. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2010 / BK Wines / Cult Single Vineyard Lobethal / Adelaide Hills / Syrah / $49 or $45 by six at Wine Exchange Asia – I’m a sucker for cool climate Syrah so can’t understand how I’ve missed this one. Halliday gives it 96, reckons it’ll drink to 2025 and says that it’s “cool climate shiraz at its best”. Good enough for me. With a RRP of A$27, the pricing here is spot-on…it’s only that some lucky *$%!! got one at Langton’s auction last year for A$17. I’ll have to be more vigilant. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2005 / Dalwhinnie / Moonambel / Pyrenees / Shiraz / $49.99 or $45 by six at Cornerstone Wines – I’m guessing this has come out of an investment holding (although I don’t know for sure) as this wine pops up from time to time across other retailers in Singapore. It’s been listed at $65 in the past so waiting for once looks like it might have paid off. Is that a warning that it’s waning? Not according to Campbell Mattinson who says it’ll drink to 2017 and gives it 93 pts. It’s still holding up at Langton’s too with the latest sale at A$47 against its initial retail of A$52 so all things considered, it looks like a safe bet. Pricing is great. BBI ♥♥♥♥♥



1951 Penfolds

It could be said that in cricket, Australia has returned to form and with Penfolds, their premium wines have certainly scored runs, although I see Treasury Wine Estates is expected to announce a profit fall of up to 20% according to some analysts.


In stimulating the appetite, the valuable action of Australian wine cannot be entirely attributed to the tranquilizing effect of alcohol. Wine will stimulate appetite directly by acting on the taste buds because of its palatability. In addition certain components of wine have been shown by laboratory studies to have an appetite stimulating action. These include tannins, Tartaric acid and acetic acid. In general, small amounts of wine are needed for appetite simulation.

For instance, 4 oz or two standard glasses of dry sherry is sufficient.” – Wine and Health, Winestate magazine, December 1978

Wines from Kangaroo Island and Baroota. From where? !!

The 2014  24th Tasmanian Wine Show results are out and here’s how some of the brands that Tiger Wines brings to Singapore performed:


I don’t represent Arras (it’s part of the Accolade group) but I do occasionally bring up some of their wines.

Grand Vintage 2004Trophy for Best LD MV Sparkling Wine, Trophy for Best Wine of the Show. I have a very few bottles of this @ $88.

EJ Carr Late Disgorged 2000Top Gold Medal. Very few in stock @ $188.


Pinot Gris 2013 – Bronze Medal

Chardonnay 2011Gold Medal

Chardonnay 2012 – Bronze Medal

Pinot Noir 2011 – Silver Medal


Radenti Sparkling 2002 – Silver Medal

Riesling 2013 – Silver Medal

Chardonnay 2005Gold Medal

Chardonnay 2012Gold Medal. Coming up in March, $49.

Pinot Noir 2012Gold Medal. A few in Singapore, more coming up in March, $77.


Nouveau Pinot Noir 2013 – Bronze Medal. Coming up in March, $37.

Reveur Pinot Noir 2012 – Bronze Medal. I have the 2010 (Gary Walsh 94) @ $65.

Mon Pere Shiraz 2012 – Silver Medal


Chardonnay 2012 – Bronze Medal

Pinot Noir 2012 – Bronze Medal


The Wizard Pinot Noir 2012 – Bronze Medal


Riesling 2013 – Silver Medal

Pinot Noir 2011 – Silver Medal


Chardonnay 2011 – Bronze Medal

Pinot Noir 2011 – Silver Medal

Pinot Noir 2012 – Bronze Medal


Trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor

R0 Riesling 2007Gold Medal

R0 Riesling 2011Gold Medal

R0 Riesling 2012 – Silver Medal. Coming up in March.

R0 Riesling 2013 – Bronze Medal

R9 Riesling 2011 – Silver Medal

R9 Riesling 2012Trophy for Best Riesling, Top Gold Medal

R9 Riesling 2013 – Bronze medal. Coming up in March.

R69 Riesling 2009Gold Medal

R69 Riesling 2010Gold Medal. Coming up in March.

R69 Riesling 2011 – Silver Medal

R69 Riesling 2013 – Bronze Medal

R139 Riesling 2008 – Silver Medal

R139 Riesling 2009 – Silver Medal. Coming up in March.

R139 Riesling 2010 – Silver Medal

Pinot Noir 2007 – Bronze Medal

Pinot Noir 2011 – Bronze Medal. Coming up in March.


Botrytis Riesling 2010 – Bronze Medal

Riesling 2012 – Bronze Medal

Riesling 2013Trophy for Best 2013 Vintage Wine, Top Gold Medal,

Dessert Riesling 2007Gold Medal

Shiraz 2012Trophy for Best Other Wine, Top Gold Medal

Please let me know on if you’ve interest in any of the wines and I’ll give you a price and availability. Also, have a look at to see other vintages of most of the wines above.


How’s the buying looking for 2014? Pretty good actually, if this lot is representative of the deals to come. All of them are fairly priced with some being real bargains.

2011 / Sandalford / Margaret River / Shiraz / $39.90 at Eve Spirits – With a RRP of A$20, this is right in quaffing territory and that’s where it sits ratings-wise too. 87 points from James Halliday means “above average, fault free”. Should still drink for another year or two. Solid but unspectacular. BBI ♥♥♥

2012 / Akarua / Rua / Central Otago / Pinot Noir / $35 at Underground Wines – Bob Campbell gives it 85 points, “above average” so make of that what you will. RRP of NZ$25 which Bob called terrific value so pricing here is keen. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2012 / Akarua / Central Otago / Riesling / $35 at Underground Wines – Another “above average” wine according to Bob Campbell, slightly higher RRP of NZ$27 so slightly better comparative value, but its marginal. Bob calls it a pretty wine. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2006 / Mr Riggs Wine Company / McLaren Vale / Shiraz / $99.99 for a magnum at Cornerstone Wines, or $89.99 if you buy 12 magnums (gulp!). Always getting into dangerous territory when trying to assess fair value on magnums as often there’s not quite the guiding secondary market in these bigger bottles. I see that a 2006 magnum went for A$65 at Langtons but that was 3 years ago now. So, taking a deep breath and espousing every known caution and caveat known to man, I’ll say that the pricing on this is “about right”, maybe even “spot-on” for the 12 bottles price, but really, unless you’ve got more friends than me (quite likely), do you really need 12 magnums?  The 95 points from Halliday might sway your decision and FYI the bottle was expected to drink to 2020. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2012 / Seifried / Neslon / Pinot Gris / $28 cash & carry at Le Vigne – Another 85 point wine according to Bob Campbell, “perfectly balanced” according to him. With a RRP 0f NZ$24, the pricing here is pretty keen, in fact on a pure price comparison basis for a single bottle, it is the best price here today.  An “above average” wine for $28? Takes some beating. But there’s more than price to the BBI stars so…BBI ♥♥♥♥

2010 / Sandalford / Estate Reserve / Margaret River/ Shiraz / $39.90 at Eve Spirits – 95 points from Halliday, say no more. Drinking to 2030 so no need to rush. RRP A$34 so pricing’s good. BBI ♥♥♥♥

2004 / Hazyblur / Baroota / Southern Flinders / Shiraz / $45 or $39 for six at Wine Exchange Asia. OK, so this is what can be called a BIG wine. The 92+ rating from  Robert Parker comes with the not so subtle note of “not meant for consumers who enjoy a more European-styled finesse-filled elegant shiraz…”. Downunder, we’d call that a bloke’s wine, and trust me, many women will drink a bloke’s wine (and his beer). So, you know what you’re in for then and elegant it’s not. On release it retailed for A$40 but it looks like on the secondary market in Australia, bloke’s wines are out of favour. No matter, this looks like a fair price, so…BBI ♥♥♥♥

2004 / Charles Cimicky / Autograph / Barossa Valley / Shiraz / $52.48 at Crystal Wines or $33.28 if you buy 24 or more. Yep, that’s right, there’s nearly a 20 buck difference per bottle if you buy in bulk.  Let’s get the details out of the way first. 92 points by Robert Parker, drink now to 2020, retailed for US$42.  So, what to do? 24 bottles is a lot to buy on price if you hate the stuff. I’ll leave that dilemma to you but as a single bottle purchase it gets 4.5 stars, and as a bulk buy, 5 stars. BBI ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

2004 / Cape D’Estaing / Kangaroo Island / Shiraz / $47.56 at Crystal Wines, or $30.16 if you buy 24 bottles.  Yes dear readers, there is a Kangaroo Island in Australia (surprise!), in fact it’s in South Australia sort of off the coast and a bit south of Adelaide. And yes, they do make wine there. Same story as the Autograph, same Robert Parker rating, almost the same US$ retail price. BBI ♥♥♥♥ / ♥♥♥♥


WINESPEAK 101 – How to waffle with the best of them – Today’s word COFFEE

Dense and brooding, with coffee-accented cherry, boysenberry, roasted meat and licorice notes that meld together harmoniously”

“Rich and supple, brimming with complex coffee, tobacco and dusky spice-accented ripe blueberry, dark plum, and slow flavours”

If you picked the wine as Shiraz, go straight to the top of the class.


In general, we find consumers much more open to the use of screwcaps than perhaps the gatekeepers, i.e. sommeliers, importers, retailers. For take-home consumers in new Asian markets, screwcaps are going to become an imperative as most Asian households do not own a corkscrew.” – Bruce Tyrrell of Tyrrell’s Wines  quoted in Wine & Viticulture Journal, Mar/Apr 2012



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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