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Brown Magpie “Single Vineyard” Geelong Pinot Noir 2013


95 from Halliday, 95 from Huon Hooke, Top Wine at the 2014 Boutique Wine Show, also at the same show Best Pinot Noir and Best Red Wine. Also Gold at the 2016 International Cool Climate Wine Show.

Here’s what Huon Hooke had to say back on 12th August 2014, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald:

“A little Geelong winemaker can rightly crow with its pinot scooping the pool. Brown Magpie was the star at this year’s Boutique Wine Awards, winning the trophy for “top wine of show” with its 2013 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir. It’s a name most wine-lovers would not have heard, but the vineyard is in the Geelong region of southern Victoria – a region whose fame with pinot noir is well established…Brown Magpie is near Moriac in the hinterland of the evocatively named Surf Coast…it is genuinely cool viticultural climate. And yes – there are brown-and-white magpies living on the property!

Brown Magpie has been knocking on the door [of the a trophy] for several years, and this is the best wine I’ve seen from them to date. The 20-hectare property was bought by Loretta and Shane Breheny in 1998 and nine hectares planted to predominantly pinot noir…Viticulture is Loretta’s field, the winery Shane’s, although they also employ a highly experienced winemaker in Daniel Greene. Most importantly, this wine also won the trophy for the “best estate-grown and produced wine”. This award is the essence of the competition, which aims to encourage and celebrate small wineries that produce no more than 250 tonnes of grapes a year. It goes to the best wine in the show that’s been produced in the true vigneron manner.”

I’ve got 41 bottles in stock and they can be here in the second week of January if ordered. It’s got plenty of life in it yet. See the promo attached.


David Boxall


ALL SAINTS (Rutherglen)
Rare Muscadelle NV 375ml – 10 btls – $94 – Halliday 98
Rare Muscat NV 375ml – 10 btls – $94 – Halliday 97
Grand Muscadelle NV 375ml – 6 btls – $73 – Halliday 96
Grand Muscat NV 375ml – 10 btls – $73 – Halliday 96
Durif 2015 – 2 btls – $47 – Halliday 93
Sparkling Shiraz NV – 6 btls – $49 – Campbell Mattinson 89

HOLYMAN (Tasmania)
Chardonnay 2016 – 12 btls – $69 – Gary Walsh 96

Riesling 2017 – 12 btls – $59 – Not yet rated
Pinot Noir 2016 – 24 btls – $78 – Huon Hooke 96, Halliday 95, Campbell Mattinson 94
Pinot Noir Gamay 2017 – 12 btls – $69 – Not yet rated
Blanc de Blanc Sparkling 2011 – 6 btls – $69 – Mike Bennie 91

ST LEONARDS (Rutherglen)
Wahgunyah Shiraz 2015 – 1 btl – $63 – Halliday 95

2013 SV PN 2


Castagna “Genesis” Beechworth Syrah 2014


This is the current release of Castagna’s flagship wine.

There’s not a lot of it about and ratings are hard to come by, in fact at this point in time, I can only find one rating and that is by Campbell Mattinson of The Wine Front (see the promo below).

Here’s what Halliday says about the winery:

“Winemakers Julian Castagna and Adam Castagna. Established 1997, producing 1800 dozen p.a. Julian Castagna is an erudite and totally committed disciple of biodynamic grapegrowing and winemaking. While he acknowledges that at least part of the belief in biodynamics has it to be intuitive, he also seeks to understand how the principles and practices enunciated by Rudolph Steiner in 1924 actually work. He purchased two egg-shaped, food-grade, concrete tanks, each holding 900 litres. They are, he says, ‘the most perfect shape in physics’, and in the winery reduce pressure on lees and deposit lees over a larger surface area, which he believes will eliminate the need for batonnage. He has been joind by son Adam, who is responsible for the 400 dozen or so of Adam’s Rib made each year, complementing the production of Castagna.” – Halliday Wine Companion 2017

Biodynamic and only 12.5%. What’s not to like?

Well it’s not cheap here at S$99 but it’s not cheap in Australia either, retailing at A$75.

The Castagna Genesis Syrah is listed as “Excellent” in Langton’s Classification.



You might also like to try, purchased direct from Castagna just this month:

2010 Genesis Syrah – 3 bottles – S$108 – Jeremy Oliver 96, Halliday 95, Campbell Mattinson 95
2012 Genesis Syrah – 3 bottles – S$105 – Jeremy Oliver 95, Campbell Mattinson 94+, Jancis Robinson 17.5, Halliday 95

Mayer Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2014


The review by Gary Walsh in the promo attached talks about leaving this wine open for a day, or leaving it alone for a year or two.

Given that his rating was made in May 2015, that “year or two” has now passed and this wine should be nicley aged. I bought it in August 2015 so it’s been quietly ageing since then in my Victoria coolroom where my commercial wines are held at around 14C.

But let’s get back to the “leave it open for a day”.

Many consumers believe a wine should be drunk immediately upon opening otherwise there is a fear that the wine will deteriorate (i.e oxidise) and become less enjoyable, even undrinkable in a relatively short period of time. I think this certainly holds true for some wines like Sauvignon Blanc that needs that zippy freshness to remain, or on some older, perhaps fragile wines that can fade very quickly in the glass. Most natural wines have very little protection against oxidation (i.e very little or no sulphur) so consuming them early is safest.

But I’m in the camp that that likes to decant everything, and I’m more than happy to carry a wine over to the next day if I think it will improve with more airing. From my experience, many Rieslings drink better the day after opening, and can reward even several days later. Apsley Gorge Pinot can disappoint if “popped and poured” but give it a long decant, or better still a whole day open, and it’s a different wine.

Ditto with the Mayer Pinots. Decanting and patience will be rewarded.

And perhaps still with this Chardonnay.




HOME HILL “Kelly’s Reserve” Tasmania Pinot Noir 2016 – 60 btls – $77 – not yet rated
LA VIOLETTA “Le Rayon V” Great Southern Cabernet Malbec 2015 – 12 btls – $77 – Mike Bennie 94+
MEWSTONE D’Entrecasteaux Channel Tasmania Riesling – 12 btls – S$63 – Halliday 95

2014 Chardonnay

Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard “Trueman” McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2014


So many ratings!

No lack of information on this wine and all of it good. Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise as Chris Carpenter plays a hand in the making of this wine and he’s got a few 99 & 100 point Robert Parker Cabernets up his sleeve already at Jackson Family Wine’s Lokoya and Cardinale vineyards.

Richard Hemming of gives it 17/20. From, Lisa Perotti-Brown gives it 90. Sells in the US at US$75. See below for the ratings of Huon Hooke (96), Gary Walsh (94), Halliday (94) and James Suckling (94).

In stock and ready to go. Enjoy!

David Boxall

2014 Trueman

Stefano Lubiana “Estate” Tasmania Chardonnay 2014


It came as a surprise to me that the last Stefano Lubiana Estate Chardonnay that I did a formal promotion on was for the 2008 vintage.

Why is this so? Well, one of the reasons is that Stefano Lubiana’s Estate Chardonnay often sells out before it gets a promotion done on it by me.

For this vintage, the 2014, I brought up a little more than usual for a proposed event that didn’t eventuate. Such are a retailer’s risks.

But, it’s the way it sold out downunder that also accounted for the fact that I can find no rating on this wine. Except one that matters. Although not strictly a rating in the normal sense, this wine was awared Gold Trophy at the 2016 International Organic Wine competition in Germany. That makes it the equivalent of 95 points in their score. Stefano Lubiana’s Pinot Noir from the same vintage was given “best biodynamic wine in the world” at the same show.

So, a special wine and a personal favourite.

2014 Estate Chardonnay

Kate Hill Tasmania Riesling 2015


I’m a big fan of Kate Hill’s rieslings.

This 2015 is the current release and was just given 95 points in the latest Halliday Wine Companion.

The wines are produced at the small winery in the Huon Valley (a formerly disused apple packing shed), a total of about 1,000 cases across riesling, pinot noir and sparkling.

Only 12% alcohol and even once opened, you can drink it over several nights. What’s not to like about that?

Only exports to Tiger Wines so you won’t see this anywhere outside Australia except here in Singapore.


David Boxall

2015 Riesling

Penner-Ash “Shea Vineyard” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015


“What’s this then?” I hear you say. “What’s Tiger Wines doing selling Oregon Pinot Noir?”

Well, little did I know when I was driving north towards Portland in July 1992, that 25 years later I would be bringing into Singapore a top range of pinots from that very area.

To join the dots…

Tiger Wines is the approved Jackson Family Wines distributor for the high-end boutique wines from Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard in McLaren Vale. Hickinbotham was purchased by Jackson Family Wines of the US in 2012.

They’ve also been buying pinot vineyards in Oregon for a while now. Zena Crown was acquired in 2013 and Penner-Ash in 2016, and both are very highly regarded. For example, Zena Crown “Slope” Pinot Noir is on allocation in the US (I was allocated just 18 bottles) but as an approved Jackson Family Wines distributor, I have been given the opportunity to tap into a small selection of their high-end pinots from both Penner-Ash and Zena Crown range.

Life’s a journey, who could resist?

This wine, the 2015 Penner-Ash “Shea Vineyard” Pinot Noir comes from the Yamhill-Carlton AVA within the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

I tried this for the first time last week and there’s no doubting the difference between the Australian and New Zealand pinots. Initially thinking it lighter in style, it developed into quite a savoury and robust wine. My first reaction was more Yarra Valley, more Timo Mayer than say Mornington or Tasmania, and as fans of Timo’s wines, my wife and I both agreed – very enjoyable.


David Boxall

2015 Shea PN