Posts Tagged 'jeremy oliver'

A Bastard Box personal favourite – Peter Rumball Sparkling Shiraz

There used to be a biscuit advert in Australia that went something like this:

If you couldn’t kick a ball, and you couldn’t hold a bat,
And you didn’t know where the Dog on the Tuckerbox was at
Then you wouldn’t be an Aussie
You wouldn’t be true blue
Unless Arnott’s biscuits meant something to you.

Well, another true Aussie icon is sparkling shiraz, and for the benefit of those from colder climes, we’re not talking here of “cold duck” but of proper bottle-fermented shiraz bubbly that can last and last. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we’re still drinking the 1985 Seppelt Show Reserve Sparkling Shiraz (called Sparkling Burgundy in those innocent days), and Jeremy Oliver has the 1998 Leasingham Classic Clare Sparkling Shiraz drinking to 2018+ and at 96 points to boot.

The vintage stuff aside, there are two consistently reliable sparkling shiraz that you would always find in my fridge in Australia, and they are Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz and Peter Rumball. I haven’t been able to find the Seppelt in Singapore at a decent price for a long time, but I have found the Peter Rumball, and it’s on special at Top Wines

Here’s the deal:

Top Wines at 33 Temberling Road, 423576 (near Joo Chiat Place) (www.topwines.com.sg) are having a “bubbly Saturday” on the 26th June where for a fee of S$33, you can try a range of sparklers – have a look at their website for more details – but the key thing is that by going along, and paying your S$33, you’ll get 33% off the price, including the Peter Rumball. So…….that brings the price of the Peter Rumball down to about S$37.55 which stacks up pretty damn well against a RRP of A$24. Buy a dozen, sample a few wines, amortise the S$33 and you’ll end up paying about S$40 bucks a bottle which is exactly where I would expect the BBI price to be.

Not unsurprisingly, I’ll be stocking my fridge with some.

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Glaetzer, Glaymond, Golding and Heartland

Moving through Denise’s GSS specials and had a look at Glaetzer, Glaymond, Golding, and Heartland. I don’t have enough data on Golding to comment, but on the others, I’ve listed them with “best value” first until the prices break through my BBI (Bastard Box Index).

2007 / Heartland / Langhorne Creek / Viognier Pinot Gris / S$31.00 – Epicure give it 5 stars, and at RRP A$16, the price here is right on where I would expect it to be landed and taxed in Singapore.

2007 / Heartland / Langhorne Creek / Dolcetto Lagrein / S$35.10 – In case you’re wondering, it’s a red. Winestate gave it 4 stars. Jeremy Oliver didn’t like it much at all giving it only 83 points but WineFront had it just sneaking into 4.5 stars. They all agree its drinking to about 2012. With a RRP of A$20, the pricing is spot on again.

2006 / Glaymond / El Abuelo / Grenache / S$44.94 – James Halliday rates this wine 92 points, drinking to 2016. The pricing just fits within my BBI.

Maybe it’s because of the less usual varieties that the wines above are best value, because from here on in, the BBI gets blown out of the water. There’s no doubting that the Amon Ra and Bishop from Glaetzer, and the Distinction shiraz from Glaymond are excellent wines. I guess when a wine is rated 97 points by Robert Parker (the 2005 Glaymond Distinction Shiraz) you shouldn’t expect a bargain, and no surprise, you’re not going to get one.

If in doubt, talk with the winemaker, …..and some good deals on Ferngrove

Earlier this year, I bought some 2002 Ashton Hills Sparkling Shiraz for my cellar in Australia. I’m a big fan of aged sparkling shiraz and we’re still drinking 1985 Seppelt Show Reserve. Sure, the odd bottle is a little flat but the blackberries, oh, the blackberries.

I tracked down some Ashton Hills reds and whites in Singapore but they were a bit exxy, so I used the opportunity to ask the retailer when I might drink the 2002 sparkling shiraz. The answer I got was that all sparkling wine should be drunk early and that I shouldn’t hang on to the wine for much longer. Hmm, this just didn’t gell with the fact that the current release is 2002 so I decided to follow up with Ashton Hills direct. No website, so that meant a phone call. Of course, one of the benefits of picking up the phone is that you actually get to speak with a real person, and in this case it was the winemaker himself, Stephen George. His candid response to the advice I had received was “BS” and that the wine would cellar for at least another 10 years.

Denise’s GSS continued……some good buying here.

Don’t ask me why, but some wines just slip under my radar. I can’t remember when I last had a Ferngrove wine from Frankland River in Western Australia, if in fact I ever have. In reviewing Denise’s GSS sale offers, I realise that it’s time I mended my ways. Denise has a swag of Ferngrove on special and what I’ve listed below are all consistently and solidly under my BBI for comparative value.

2007 / Symbols / Shiraz Viognier / S$27.72 – Rated 90 points by Jeremy Oliver, drinking 2009-2012 RRP A$16

2007 / Symbols / Cabernet Merlot / S$26.90 – 90 points by Halliday, 89 points by Oliver, drink to 2012, RRP A$16

2007 / Chardonnay / S$29.36 – 90 points by Halliday, drink to 2012, RRP A$19

2008 / Sauvignon Blanc / S$29.36 – Another 90 pointer from Halliday, drink now, RRP A$19

2007 / Shiraz / S$30.18 – Winestate thought it average (4 stars) but Halliday gives it 4.5 (94 points), drinking 2012-2022 RRP A$19

2009 / Cossack / Riesling/ S$36.74 – Epicure gave it 4.5 stars and suggested drinking 2012-2018 with RRP A$23

2007 / Diamond / Chardonnay / S$38.38 – Oliver 90, Halliday 94, how can you go wrong? Drinking to 2013 RRP A$22

2007 / Dragon / Shiraz / S$40.84 – Oliver 92 points, drinking 2012-2015. RRP A$29

2007 / Majestic / Cabernet Sauvignon / S$40.84 – Oliver 93, Halliday 94. What’s stopping you? Drinking 2015-2019+.

2007 / King / Malbec / S$40.84 – Oliver 95! Halliday 94. They just keep getting better. RRP A$29

2005 / The Stirlings / Shiraz Cabernet / S$48.12 – Halliday 94, Gourmet Traveller Wine 4.5 stars drinking now to 2020, RRP A$50. Yes, that’s right A$50.

What a great selection. A bunch of 4-4.5 star wines for sub S$30 and nothing over S$50. Why pay S$21.50 for Little Penguin? On a BBI comparative basis, The Stirlings is the stand out value.

Who said you can’t buy wine well in Singapore? – The GSS sale from Denise/Straits Wine.

A real challenge to keep up with the specials coming through. Denise’s offer of 18% off across the range from now until 25th July includes some 40 wineries from Australia and New Zealand covering nearly 350 wines, so bear with me as I seek out the best deals amongst that lot. Denise/Straits Wine Co can tell you the details of the deal but essentially it’s their GSS sale (Great Singapore Sale) and it’s available across all stores except Turf City. Expect an update daily but if you’re interested in knowing about a wine that’s towards the end of the alphabet (I’m predictably starting at A), then just drop me a line at bastardbox35@gmail.com

I’ve already taken the 18% off, so let’s get started:

Bird in Hand / 2007 / Adelaide Hills / Merlot / S$35.92 – Rated 91 points by WineFront (being Gary Walsh & Campbell Mattinson) with drinking now to 2014. With a RRP of A$30, this is a great buy on comparative value, looking a solid S$8 cheaper than where I might have expected it to be.

Bird in Hand / 2007 / Nest Egg / Adelaide Hills / Shiraz / S$78.56 – Halliday rates this wine at 94 points with drinking 2010-2020, suggesting patience will be rewarded. With a RRP of A$75, this price is fair and square where I’d expect it to be.

Blue Pyrenees / 2002 / Midnight Cuvee / Pyrenees / Sparkling (chardonnay & pinot noir) / S$40.83 – No, that’s not a mistake on the vintage – it really is 2002 for this bubbly. I was buying the 2001 at NTUC Fairprice last year and it was a delightful wine. By the way, Pyrenees is in Victoria. Halliday rates this wine at 90 points and suggests you can hold it still further, out to 2014. With a RRP of A$30, the pricing in this sale makes it a good buy.

Blue Pyrenees / 2006 / Pyrenees / Cabernet Sauvignon / S$34.28 – Bit of a mixed opinion on this one. Winestate only gave it 3.5 stars whilst Jeremy Oliver gives it 90 points (4.5 stars). I’ll go with Jeremy on this one as Winestate only gave Seppelt St Peters 3 stars whilst everyone else is giving it 5! Value-wise, it’s right where I’d expect it to be from a RRP of A$18. It’s a keeper though as Oliver recommends drinking 2018-2026.

Blue Pyrenees / 2005 / Reserve / Pyrenees / Shiraz / S$45.76 – Another mixed bag of ratings. Winestate give it 4 stars, Oliver gives it 4 stars (86 points) but Halliday gives it 4.5 stars (90 points). Common agreement on cellaring though with recommended drinking from now to about 2014.

Phew! Well, that’s dealt with the As, Bs and Cs. The Bird in Hand merlot is the pick of the deals.

(PS – a glitch in the system yesterday screwed up some of the e-mails. Hopefully should be fixed now)

Affordable Torbreck & Arlewood, and goodbye to Vineyards Direct

2003 / Torbreck / The Struie / Barossa Valley / Shiraz / S$69 at Wine Exchange Asia – Halliday rates this wine at 95 points drinking to 2018 and Oliver rates at 90, drinking 2008-2011+. Retailed in Australia at A$55 so at S$69 a reasonable deal for an older vintage, and one you don’t have to sit on to enjoy (but you can if you want to). If my own cellar wasn’t so full, I’d get some.

2005 / Arlewood / Margaret River / Shiraz / S$33.80 at Le Vigne – We’ve tried this wine ourselves, and whilst it’s not in the Barossa mould, it’s a good affordable shiraz. Halliday rates this wine at 91 points (4.5 star) and recommends drinking between now and 2018. RRP is A$22 so with Le Vigne’s usual 10% discount (no Nets or cards) the price comes down to less than $31 so that fits inside my BastardBox Index of comparative value.

If you didn’t know already, Vineyards Direct is ceasing its operation in Singapore as of today I understand. If you did know, then you’ve probably scoured their list and made your purchases already. There may be some unsold stock so keep your eyes peeled to see if any of it pops up in the market at special prices.

Bannockburn – Ah, variety, the spice of life

Went searching for Bannockburn in Singapore and found it listed in at least three places being Island Wines, Crystal Wines and Wine Exchange Asia. A quick check of Island Wines’ website showed they’ve sold out, leaving Crystal and Wine Exchange as follows:

2006 / Bannockburn / Geelong / Chardonnay / S$78 (S$74.10 member price) at Crystal Wines – Halliday has no doubt with the quality of this wine rating it at 96 points, drinking to 2015 with a RRP of A$51. My BBI puts that at about S$60 into Singapore so the Crystal Wines asking price of S$78 looks a bit exxy for me.

2005 / Bannockburn / Geelong / Pinot Noir / S$56 at Wine Exchange Asia – Wow, this one brings out a difference of opinion. James Halliday rates this wine at 94 points, drinking to 2015. Jeremy Oliver doesn’t like it at all and thinks it’s close to past it. He gives it 80 points and drinking 2007-2010. Who’s right? Don’t ask me, I’m just the messenger! What I can tell you is that the RRP is A$55 which translates through the BBI to roughly S$63, so at S$56 on sale at Wine Exchange Asia, it’s either a fine wine bargain or an expensive dud depending on who you believe.

2005 / Bannockburn / Geelong / Serre / Pinot Noir / S$99 at Wine Exchange Asia – Are three opinions better than two? At least these three are in agreement – Gourmet Wine Traveller and Epicure both give this wine 5 stars, whilst Halliday gives it 4.5 stars (94 points). Pricing is less certain but a mid-point looks about A$110 with drinking to 2013. That translates into a Singapore price of S$107, so the listing at Wine Exchange Asia for S$99 again looks like a good deal.

Denise “2 to go” for May

Denise’s May specials http://www.denisethewineshop.com lobbed in my in-tray today so thought I would have a look at what’s on offer. They have 5 Australian wines on offer but my data was found wanting as I could only get info, at least for the vintages shown, on 3 of them.

Here goes:

2009 / Two Hands / Brilliant Disguise / Barossa Valley / Moscato S$45 for 2 – This wine was just reviewed by Wine Spectator in their April edition. They gave it 88 points (4 star), selling for US$19, and suggested drink this year. It retails in Australia for A$18 so S$22.50 seems OK. It doesn’t say so on the website, but I’m pretty sure this is a 500ml bottle, and I’m pretty sure (but don’t quote me) that this style used to be called white frontignac.

2006 / Wills Domain / Margaret River / Shiraz S$69 for 2 – Halliday rates this wine at 93 points (4.5 star), drinking to 2018, and RRP A$23.50 so at S$34.50, it still falls within my PPB (price pain barrier). It says 14%, but I’m also reminded that in Australia, that can mean anywhere between 12.5% and 15.5%.

2002-2003 / Yarra Yarra / Yarra Valley / Syrah Viognier S$129 for 2 – Interesting one this, as I don’t have a price for the 02/03 vintages. The ’05 and ’06 are on sale now in Australia at around A$65. Jeremy Oliver gives the ’02 87 points (4 star) drinking 2007-2010, and gives the ’03 90 points (4.5 star) drinking 2008-2011+. It would seem that for the same price, you’d want to try and get the 2003.

Cheers


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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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