Posts Tagged 'Little Penguin'

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.

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Why spend $21.50 when you can spend $30?

Did my usual wander through the liquor section of some of the retailers and noticed The Little Penguin merlot selling for S$21.50. Now, The Little Penguin sells in the US (where it’s pretty popular) for US$6 and is rated by Wine Spectator at 84 points (3.5 stars) so it’s not my cup of tea, but if it’s selling at that price in the US, my guess is that the wine going in to the bottle is (wholesale) less than a dollar. Bear that in mind.

Add freight, Singapore duty and VAT and you’ll come up with a figure of about S$10.50 in total, double it for the mark-up (and I have no qualms at all about that level of mark-up) and you quickly get to around $21.50. So, the pricing is understandable. And it’s mainly tax.

But…..if you could just drag yourself up the pricing point a fraction, to say S$30, look what you can get!

All of the wines listed here rate 90 points or better (4.5 stars or better) and they all sell at a RRP in Australia of between A$19 and A$25 so in pricing terms in their home market, they’re good mid-value wines. And if you’re on a budget, I think they make sense in Singapore too.

Turkey Flat Rose S$27.50
Majella The Musician Cabernet $29
Tim Adams Riesling $30
Lengs & Cooter Riesling $30
Kilikanoon Mort’s Block Riesling $30

All the above from Wine Exchange Asia. The following from Island Wines:

Jackson Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc $30
Charles Cimicky Trumps Shiraz $30

So no excuse for not drinking well at an affordable price.

Had a quick look to see if I could find any Babich wines on offer in Singapore. Only turned up the 2008 sauvignon blanc which doesn’t rate particularly highly (Wine Spectator 88 points, Bob Campbell 78 points) so will pass on Babich for now. Also tried to get some pricing on Wither Hills but pinning the retailer down on vintage has been a work in progress.


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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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