Reasonably-priced Wines Showdown

We have not had the chance to cover the slew of new wine retailers (rather, e-tailers) in Singapore. What they have brought to us consumers are lower prices, higher accessibility, and broader range of wines to buy and enjoy.
With that partly in mind, and because we have not done this before, the #SgWine crew recently caught up to have a “Reasonably-priced Wines Showdown”. The wines were served blind to find out winner… albeit only a very, very small sample of what is available.
Also, we unofficially inducted 2 more into our #SgWine crew (which, by the way, is definitely not exclusive; neither has it any special privileges).

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Reasonably-priced Wines Showdown
The rule: wines must retail for S$40 or below (all taxes paid, before discounts); can be from any countries, varieties, styles; and can be bought from any retailer/e-tailers in Singapore (i.e. accessible to the average person).
Scoring system: each taster to give each wine a score out of 20 (max of: 3 for appearance, 7 for nose, 10 for taste/finish), and final score for each wine will be aggregated at the end.

rea-priced wines line-up
The contenders lining up…

The wines (with my blind tasting notes):
Wine #1 – (white) Gumpara 2008 Old Vine Semillon (Barossa Valley, AUS)
Stockist: Barrique Connections, $48 (flouted rule!!)
– brilliant gold in colour
– fragrant nose of lemons, lime, and light notes of tropical fruits
– acid++, depth of fruit, characteristics of a lightly aged white; good texture
– a nicely balanced wine with a med-length finish
Wine #2 – (red) Bodegas Pago de Larrainzar 2008 ‘Raso’ (Navarra, ESP)
Stockist: Vinos Exclusivos, $38
– dark red in colour, with purple-ish hues
– red fruits galore on the nose, cherry cordial concentrate, sour cherries after a while
– on palate, red fruits now dominated by dark fruits; smooth unobtrusive tannins
– medium bodied with good acid support; some lean-ness, still good structure
– quite enjoyable wine with med-length finish
Wine #3 – (red) Tulloch 2011 ‘Pokolbin Dry Red’ Shiraz (Hunter Valley, AUS)
Stockist: Benchmark Wines, $35
– dark purple/red, with purple hues
– nose of dark fruits, licorice, some menthol/eucalypt notes
– dark fruits (plums, prunes) on palate, with a med-full body; some BBQ pineapples
– some complexity with smooth tannins, and good depth of flavour
– another good wine with med-length finish
Wine#4 – (red) Gnarly Head 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (California, USA)
Stockist: Fairprice supermarket, $30
– dark red, with brick red hues
– dark & red fruits on the nose, distinctly like cordial concentrate
– intense stewed dark fruits on palate, some tannins, lacking in acid to support
– lack of complexity makes this a one-dimensional wine; short-ish finish
rea-priced wines scores
Tallying up the scores…

The verdict (individual scores & final aggregates):
Gumpara 2008 Old Vine Semillon : 17, 13, 14, 16, 15, 15 – avg: 15/20 (Y)
Bodegas Pago de Larrainzar 2008 ‘Raso’ : 16, 19, 17, 17, 14, 16 – avg: 16.5/20 (Y)
Tulloch 2011 ‘Pokolbin Dry Red’ Shiraz : 16.5, 17, 14, 17.5, 15, 16.5 – avg: 16/20 (Y)
Gnarly Head 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon : 17, 14, 14, 14, 10, 13 – avg: 13.5/20 (N)
Note: the (Y) or (N) at the end indicates if we’re willing to buy the wine again, at the price declared.
The winner of this showdown is Raso de Larrainzar 2008!
We also had a bonus wine for tasting – bonus because the invitee was not aware of the price rule, and this wine was way beyond the range. But, we tasted it nevertheless, like the good wine-lovers we are!
(red) Rodolphe Demougeout 2009 Pommard ‘les Vignots’ (Cotes de Beaune, FRA)
– med-to-deep red with light hues
– nose: red & dark fruits, violets, spice, minerals
– palate: dark berries, dried herbs, light spice, stainless steel(?!)
– slightly lean, but good structure of silky tannins & acid support
– an enjoyable wine with med-length finish
I was chuffed to guess this was a Pommard! 🙂

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It was a very limited exercise, due to 2 absentees, which would have provided 2 more samples in the category. But, the consensus is that one can definitely find very enjoyable wines in Singapore for S$40 or less.
And, to make it more probable to find good quality reasonably-priced wines, it’s important to know how to buy wines. Check out our article on buying wines in Singapore:
Until our next vino session….
[Photos courtesy of Jess, the female half of @SingaPoured]

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