Posts Tagged 'South Australia'

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.

Advertisements

St Henry or St ‘Onree?

Did French for 5 years (and failed) but that tells me it should be St ‘Onree. Try asking for that in Dan’s and see how far you get, so we’ll stick with St Henry.

Wine Exchange Asia has both the 2005 and the 2006 on sale for S$82 or S$78 by the half case. Here’s what the raters think:

2005 / Penfolds / St Henri / South Australia / Shiraz – Halliday likes it (94 points) and Oliver likes it (95 points). Say no more. And they both agree that it’s best drinking between about 2015 to 2025, so a keeper then.

2006 / Penfolds / St Henri / South Australia / Shiraz – Campbell Mattinson from the Wine Front gives it 95 points and the same drinking range as the 2005.

As they’re both the same price, how does the price stack up in Singapore? Pretty damned good if you compare it with a RRP of A$90-100. In fact, that’s enough to be able to gloat the next time you have visitors from down-under who rant about the cleanskins they’re picking up that are really surplus Grange.

Just don’t be too cocky, as it does appear that the St Henri doesn’t always sell at recommended retail. You can get the 2006 at WineStar in Australia at A$70 but to be fair, even when comparing S$78 to that price, it’s still a good deal. I’d love to add some to my cellar, but I just couldn’t wait that long.

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.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 74 other followers

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

Advertisements