Posts Tagged 'shiraz cabernet'

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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The final word on duty free shopping

You’ve heard of the Big Mac indicator. Well, this is the Bastard Box indicator.

Jacob’s Creek Johann South Australia Shiraz Cabernet

This wine is for sale at winestar.com.au for A$55. I reckon there’s a smidge over A$10 of GST and WET (wine excise tax) in that price. Bear that in mind as we do the comparison:

Winestar.com.au (including Australian duty and tax, but not delivery) – A$55

Melbourne Airport duty free – A$65

Changi Airport duty free (S$140) – A$115

Say no more.

And I won’t.

Penfolds – Nice wine, pity about the price, and then…..Nice wine, good price

I rarely wander into a wine shop and buy off the shelf. I usually know what I’m looking for and I’ve got a fair idea of the price. There are exceptions – I will take advice from people I trust and they know who they are because I buy from them.

But, to be fair, I thought I’d throw my prejudices to the wind and start having a look around at wine shopping in Singapore in general. What better place to start than Cold Storage. Now I’m not a regular shopper for wine at Cold Storage, but from time to time, something pops up that shouts “buy me”. So, to the test…

I picked the first two wines on the shelf, and the brand is Penfolds.

Now Penfolds produce some outstanding wines (Grange for example) but there’s a lot of, how should we say it, bbq wine at the other end (but not at my bbq). The two wines I’m looking at here are Bin 389, often called the poor man’s Grange, and Bin 128, certainly in the mid to upper range of Penfolds line up.

Here’s the data:

2006 / Penfolds / Bin 389 / South Australia / Cabernet Shiraz / S$102 – The Australian raters love this wine, with Halliday giving it 96 points (5 star), and Epicure giving it 5 stars too. It’s one for the cellar though as Halliday suggests it’ll last until 2036 and Epicure to at least 2024. No good for my cellar then! Wine Spectator is less keen only giving it 4 stars, with a price of US$36. The retail price in Australia is A$55. Sorry, run that past me again. That’s right, A$55. Now, I can tweak A$55 every which way, add GST, add freight, add the duty, and no matter how much I tweak it, I can’t make it come anywhere near S$102.

2006 / Penfolds / Bin 128 / Coonawarra / Shiraz / S$70.05 – Halliday gives it 93 points (4.5 stars) and suggests drinking 2017-2027, so another keeper. Same old story on the price though. Retail price downunder is A$30, so who knows what’s going into the price to get it to S$70.

I haven’t given up on Cold Storage, but with these two in particular, I’ll leave you to be the judge.

BUT you can buy Penfolds at a decent price, a very decent price. Wine Exchange Asia has the following on offer, and if past experience is anything to go by, you’ll have to be quick. I’ve bought mine.

2007 / Penfolds / Koonunga Hill Seventy Six / Shiraz-Cabernet / S$35, S$32 by the case – Halliday rates this 94 (4.5 stars) drinking 2010-2020, and Oliver rates it 93 (still 4.5 stars) with drinking 2015 – 2019. On offer in Australia at A$20 so at S$35/S$32 it definitely falls acceptably inside my PPB (price pain barrier). Over to you.


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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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