Posts Tagged 'Reserve'

Where’s the shiraz in this lot? – and lessons on how to spit

[Reviewed offerings by Cold Storage, Crystal Wines, Epsilon Wines, eWine Asia, Le Vigne, Monopole, The Cellar Door, Top Wines, Underground Wines, and Wine Directions]

Specials are a bit slow this week. Here’s the best I could do:

2003 / Kreglinger / Vintage Brut / Tasmania / Bubbly / S$48 at Le Vigne – From the same stables as Ninth Island and Pipers Brook, this is a personal favourite. No, I don’t always buy wines on ratings, as this one only gets 88 points from Jeremy Oliver (although other vintages score much better). It’s refreshing and it’s priced right. With a RRP of A$50, this comes in with a BBI rating of  “Terrific Value”.

2009 / Moss Wood / Ribbon Vale / Margaret River / Semillon Sauvignon Blanc / S$44 at Crystal Wines – Don’t have much on this one. Halliday 95 points, drink to 2013, 14% alcohol. RRP is A$26 so this one gets a BBI rating of  “OK Value”.

2009 / Pierro / LTC / Margaret River / Semillon Sauvignon Blanc / S$53 at Crystal Wines – Oliver 90 points, Halliday 94 points, drinking to 2013-14. With a RRP of A$31, this gets a BBI rating of “Reconsider”. Interesting eh, given that both are from the same retailer.

2008 / Jim Barry / The Lodge Hill / Clare Valley / Riesling / S$42 at Monopole – Halliday gives it 93 points, but Decanter didn’t rate it highly, giving it only 15.5 points (out of 20). Drinking to 2018 according to Halliday. With a RRP of A$20, the BBI on this is “Marginal Value”, especially when compared with the Pikes at S$29 from Wine Directions in the last post.

2007 / All Saints / Rutherglen / Durif / S$35.90 at The Cellar Door – It seems you’re either into Durif, or you’re not. I don’t mind the occasional one, especially with some age on it. This is too much of a generalization, but I think of it as a sort of black, inky shiraz. Oliver rates this one at 91 points (4.5 stars) and suggests drinking between 2015-2019+. With a RRP of A$24, the BBI on this is “Good Value”

2008 / Water Wheel / Memsie Homestead / Bendigo / Red (Shiraz, Malbec, Cabernet) / S$29 at Crystal Wines – I’ll be right up front and say I don’t like this wine. I’ve got some in my cellar, and it’s always overlooked when hunting around for something nice. Maybe I’ll drag it out when my relatives next visit. I’m not alone. Wine Estate give it only 4 stars and Wine Front 4 too (87 points), but Halliday is stumping up with 90 points. Halliday suggests drinking out to 2017. With a RRP of A$14, the BBI gives it a rating of “Good Value”, but it won’t be enough to convince me to stock up. Just a personal choice.

Where’s the shiraz? (sounds like an Elton John song….) Not here, I’m afraid.

2008 / Wolf Blass / Presidents Selection / South Australia / Shiraz / S$44.95 at Cold Storage – You might recall that this is the wine we got a roadside stall in rural Vietnam for about S$35. It’s a four star wine for sure (Wine Front 88 points) and I have it on good authority that Presidents Selection, which is not sold as such in Australia, is closer to Yellow Label than other Wolf Blass brandings.  So……if it is close to Yellow Label, then the RRP would be about A$16, giving the price here a BBI rating of “Reconsider”.

We often hear people say when shocked by the price of wine in Singapore, “oh, it’s the tax you see” and I have to bite my tongue every time I hear it. Yes, yes, it can be the tax, but only at the lower end of cheaper wines. The tax can even work in your favour if you’re prepared to lash out and spend above $30 bucks, and if you really want to splash out, have a look at how the tax creates a very favourable arbitrage on Grange and the like. Hundreds of dollars worth, so please, no more, “it’s the tax”. Unless……. you really are buying at the wrong end.

Let’s have a look at two examples. Not stunning wines. The Grant Burge is 4 star for sure; the Angove’s, I’m prepared to bet it’s no more than 4 star either.

2009 / Angove’s / Butterfly Ridge / Colombard Chardonnay / S$30 at Top Wines – I say S$30 because it’s listed at Top Wines at S$28 before GST (something they’ll presumably fix, and quickly – you never know who might be looking at this website) so I’ve added the 7% for correctness.  Well, this wine retails (at most) in Australia at A$7. That’s right, A$7. If you take out the margin, the GST and the WET in Australia, I’m guessing the wholesale price is around A$2.20. Now, if we convert to S$, add the freight, add the alcohol tax, add the Singapore GST and mark it back up by 100% (that’s fair), we’ll get to S$25, give or take a few cents. That’s how you get an A$2.20 wine to S$25 – it’s all mark up on the tax and on-costs and very little to do with the wine. For the record, the BBI rating on this particular deal would be “Marginal Value”.

2007 / Grant Burge / Summers / Adelaide Hills / Chardonnay / S$30 at Epsilon Wines – 4 stars from Decanter and Halliday, and the same price as the Angoves. Only this one starts with a RRP of A$24, not A$7. On a comparative value basis (i.e. the BBI), this wine would get a rating of “Terrific Value”. So, the real issue is, do you believe that retail prices reflect the quality of the wine? That’s up to you – I’ll just tell you the story.

But wait, there’s more! If you want to learn how to spit “with elegance”, have a look at:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcvujq_comment-cracher-le-vin-avec-eleganc_webcam

And finally, is there no respect? The 2008 Schild Estate Barossa Shiraz, having just been listed as the number 7 top wine in the world by Wine Spectator, has been discounted down from A$20 to A$14.99 (at winestar.com.au)!

“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and I drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it, unless thirsty.” – Lily Bollinger in 1961, on drinking champagne.

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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)

Crystal Mega Sale – 15th May at Delta House 10:00 to 20:00

I’m travelling at the moment but it would be remiss of me not to cast a quick eye over Crystal’s offerings. There’s just short of 100 Australian wines on offer and I can’t possibly list them all for good/bad value so I’m concentrating on those wines that (according to my data) rate 95 points or better and fall within my price tolerance as comparative value with their Australian retail price. So if you read between the lines, you’ll understand that not all wines meet that price threshold.

Here’s what I found:

2008 / Clonakilla / Canberra / Shiraz Viognier S$83.30 – Epicure rates this wine at 5 star and RRP A$95 drinking 2015, Halliday rates it at 97 points RRP A$90 and drinking 2015-2025, and Gourmet Traveller Wine rates it 96 points also drinking 2015-2025, so no doubting its quality then. Its one of my favourites too, but I must admit that I’ve been buying it at around this price on a regular basis, so not sure about the “mega discount”. That having been said, it’s a good wine at the right price so if you want to try what is arguably Australia’s best shiraz viognier, give it a go.

2007 / De Bortoli / Estate Grown / Yarra Valley / Cabernet S$44.10 – Halliday rates this 5 stars and it sells RRP for A$35.

2004 / De Bortoli / Reserve / Yarra Valley / Chardonnay S$51.10 – Another Halliday 5 star wine (95 points) that sells for A$40.

2008 / Frankland Estate / Isolation Ridge / Frankland River / Riesling S$36 – Epicure liked it giving it 5 stars, drinking 2011-2019, Gourmet Traveller Wine liked it too giving it 92 points, suggested retail at A$28.

If the wine you want is out of stock, just make sure you know when it’s going to be delivered.

If there’s a wine on Crystal’s list that you’d like some data on, send me an e-mail at bastardbox35@gmail.com , and if I can help, I will. If you send it tonight, you should have an answer in time for the sale tomorrow.


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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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