Author Archives: bastardboxwine

About bastardboxwine

An unashamed wine quaffer who tries to grow his own wine in Australia and tries to shop sensibly for downunder wines in Singapore

Chatto ‘Glengarry’ Tasmania Pinot Noir 2020


94 Nick Stock, 94 Gary Walsh, 92 Huon Hooke…”a young pinot with a bright future”

Glengarry is a small town of roughly 500 people about 10kms west of the Tamar River at about the same latitude as Stoney Rise. It was a favourite stop-off place when I used to visit Tassie, with Grey Sands ‘Glengarry’ Vineyard being the last winery to visit before boarding the ferry at Devonport. The hospitality was always great at Grey Sands but one visit, totally my own fault, I stayed a little too long and then meandered across the winding B road towards Devonport. I knew I was running a liitle late but still thought I had time to spare. Anyway, I coudn’t hurry as I was carrying nearly 700kgs of wine in my Mitsubishi traytop, so 70kmh was fine thank you.

A phone call from my mate who was also travelling on the ferry changed that plan. “Box, where are you? All the cars have been loaded and they want to close the gate”. Gulp. I sheepishly said I must have miscalculated and I was still 30 kms out. Time to get that Mitsubishi motoring!

He rang back in a few minutes and said they’d close the gates on me come-what-may if I wasn’t there by 6:45pm. At 6:42pm I’d entered the outskirts of Devonport and at 6.44pm I crested a hill and yelled down the phone to him “I can see the ferry!”. I got to the gate at 6:51pm and they let me through. As I was handed my boarding pass, the gate officer said “You’re a lucky man. And thank your friend who parked his car across the boom gate and wouldn’t move until you arrived.” Tensions were relieved onboard over a shared bottle of Home Hill ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir, on my tab of course.

I’ve not called this wine Tamar Valley because strictly speaking, I think the streams around this way run a little west before heading to the nearby sea. The district is known as Tamar West.

Hickinbotham ‘The Revivalist’ McLaren Vale Merlot 2017


96 Ned Goodwin, 95 Huon Hooke, 92 Nick Stock, 92 Joe Czerwinski…”as good as any merlot on these shores”

If there’s a merlot to convince you that it’s a variety worth buying, then the Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard ’The Revivalist’ is the wine to do it. The variety’s image was tarnished by “Sideways” but these are no ordinary bottle-shop merlots, rather they are hand-crafted wines made by Chris Carpenter of Lokoya and Cardinale fame. When people “turn up their nose’ at merlot as a variety, he reminds them that one of the greatest wines in the world is a merlot – Petrus. I’m a big fan of this variety when made by Chris, which also includes the Napa Valley merlots of La Jota and Mt Brave. Chris travels to Australia specifically to make three wines at Hickinbotham, namely The Peake cabernet shiraz, Trueman cabernet and The Revivalist merlot. Always a few in my cellar.

You might also like to try:

2016 – $92 – 14 btls in SG – 95 Jane Faulkner (HA)
2018 – $97 – 11 btls in SG – 97 Campbell Mattinson (HA)

The Wanderer Yarra Valley Syrah 2015


95 Campbell Mattinson, 95 Nick Stock…”a killer wine”

Here’s another syrah from the Yarra Valley. There’s a link between this and the Mayer syrah. In 2015, Timo Mayer was working at Gembrook Hill jointly with Andrew Marks (of The Wanderer) where they shared Gembrook Hill’s winemaking roles. Buy one of each (Mayer and The Wanderer) and see what you think of the individual winemaking styles.

Craiglee Sunbury Shiraz 2017


95 Jane Faulkner, 94 Mike Bennie…”so excellent to drink”

This is the latest release shiraz from Craiglee. I’ve spoken enough about the winery over the last few emails, so I’ll let the raters do the talking on the wine.


You might also like to try the 2016 vintage – $80 – 10 btls in SG – 95+ Mike Bennie

Mount Langi Ghiran ‘Mast’ Grampians Shiraz 2019


96 Huon Hooke, 96 Jeni Port, 93 Mike Bennie…”a quite stunning shiraz”

This is the latest release ‘Mast’ from Mount Langi Ghiran’s famous Grampians vineyards. I’ve probably driven past the actual Mount Langi Ghiran well over a hundred times in my lifetime, travelling from Adelaide to Melbourne or vice-versa, plus quite a few trips to the Grampians (now also known by its Aboriginal name Gariwerd) but I’ve never diverted to the national park nor to the winery. Time to rectify that when travel restrictions are lifted. The ‘Mast’, together with Mount Langi Ghiran’s other premium shiraz ‘Talus’ and ‘Langi’ are exclusive to Tiger Wines in Singapore. The 2019 Talus will not be released until 2022.


You might also like to try the 2017 vintage – $98 – 24 btls in AU – 96 Jane Faulkner (Halliday)

Chatto ‘Lutruwita’ Tasmania Pinot Noir 2020


93 Nick Stock, 89 Huon Hooke…”elegant and nicely detailed”

This used to be known as the “Tasmania” pinot noir to indicate that it did not come from Chatto’s own vineyard in Glaziers Bay. The name’s been changed to Lutruwita to reflect the agreed Palawa kani (indigenous Tasmanian) name for Tasmania. It’s a blend of four sites in the north of Tasmania, namely Piper’s River (Bird), West Tamar (Glengarry), Tamar Valley (Marion’s) and East Coast (Maclean Bay). It’s also a blend of 5 differnt clones being114, 155, MV6, d5V12 and ‘unknown’.

From my own experience, Jim Chatto’s wines do not show well if drunk too early or straight from the botttle. If you do, that reductiveness that Huon Hooke refers to can be confronting, but give it some more time in the bottle and plenty of air after opening and you’ll start to see what the fuss over Chatto wines is about. Looks like it’s sold out at retail in Australia and as far as I am aware, it didn’t appear on Chatto’s website such was the low volume produced. Released at A$45 but I saw it offered at A$56 in Sydney. Probably the only chance to buy in Singapore.


Two Tonne Tasmania ‘Ziggurat’ Tamar Valley Chardonnay 2018 (plus price-list)


Not rated

I bought this back in November 2018 so it’s had nearly 3 years of bottle ageing in my coolroom storage. It’s got its followers for sure. Previously listed at S$59, I’ve dropped the price to S$55 to better reflect slight, very slight improvements in freight rates and exchange rates.


Home Hill ‘Landslide’ Huon Valley Pinot Noir 2018


96 James Halliday, 81 Huon Hooke…”a glorious wine”

If you’ve visited Home Hill’s wonderful winery, you’ll know that there is indeed evidence of a small landslide above one section of the vineyard.

So, what’s going on here then? Halliday 96, Hooke 81. I can’t answer that, I can only add that I’ve had a couple of the 2018 Landslide and whilst I didn’t take notes and my memory is not the greatest, I’d recall if the wine was as bad as Huon’s review, and probably pulled it from sale. Some of you have probably also tried it as it was released by me in Singapore in January 2020 so if you’ve any feedback it would be much appreciated. If you buy it, and it’s not up to scratch, then I’ll refund.

Currently listed at S$59, I’ve dropped it to S$49 to tempt you to try.


You might also like to try:

2017 – $53 – 5 btls in AU – JH95
2020 – $58 – 20 btls in SG – not rated.

Mount Langi Ghiran ‘Langi’ Grampians Shiraz 2019


97 Huon Hooke, 96 Jeni Port, 94 Mike Bennie…”a spectacular shiraz”

Exclusive to Tiger Wines in Singapore. Mount Langi Ghiran’s flagship wine that retails downunder for A$200 but it’s listed here at S$189. That’s the Singapore alcohol tax (S$9.77 for this bottle) working for you against the wine tax in Australia of around A$24. I’d give it at least a couple of years before “popping the cork” so to speak (it’s under screwcap).


You might also like to try the 2018 vintage – $187 – 24 btls in MEL (but on their way to SG as we speak) – JH99, HH97