PENFOLDS CALIFORNIA - Are they dreaming?
Andrew Caillard MW
by Markus del Monego MW

John Duval, Wine Producer (Australia)  had a tasting of  20 Wines  from  1 Producers 

John Duval Integro 2017 / Deep, dark plum and blackcurrant, bay leaf and clove. Alive with a vibrant array of intense blue fruit and blackcurrants supported by an elegant framework of poised and precise tannins. Deceptive depth and power all tightly packed and wound up ready to unfurl over many years, finishing long and pure.

The 2017 vintage year was defined by above average preceding winter and spring rains which restored sub soil moisture levels and replenished dams on the vineyard site. Generally milder summer conditions and cooler than average temperatures through the ripening period delayed harvest of the Cabernet until 17th April.

Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from a single vineyard site to the east of the township of Springton. The vineyard itself is one of the oldest vineyards in Australia, with the earliest plantings going back to 1858. Best estimates put the earliest planting date of the Cabernet vines at this vineyard in the 1890’s, making these some of the oldest Cabernet vines still on their own roots anywhere in the word. The site was once part of an ancient sea bed, the thin loam soils sit above a substrate of red clay containing rose quartz and black mica schist fragments. The vines produce very low yields of intensely flavoured berries.

The Shiraz component was a blend of exceptional old vineyards from the Barossa Valley. The Cabernet (90%) and Shiraz (10%) components were fermented separately for 8 days on skins in small open top stainless steel fermenters with twice daily pump overs to extract colour, flavour and tannin. The Cabernet was aged in a mix of new (50%) and 3rd use (50%) French oak hogsheads for 18 months. The wine was then blended with the Shiraz component and bottle aged for 2 years before release.

7h 52min ago

Christy Canterbury MW, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  12 Wines  from  8 Producers 

Peay 2012 Pinot Noir Pomarium Sonoma Coast / Nick Peay said, “Our style is somewhere between Burgundy and California. The major difference is that we’re not on limestone. The second big factor is that it’s cold here in July and August, but it’s warm in Burgundy.” (Frankly, Burgundy’s warmth and chill factors vacillate a lot, even in mid- to late-summer.) As such, Peay doesn’t use whole cluster; the “jalapeño” of stems isn’t a character he, his brother and his sister-in-law like. This pale and crisp but dense and muscular wine delivers black plum skin, blackberries, licorice and forest floor.

9h 37min ago

Thomas Girgensohn, Wine Blogger (Australia)  had a tasting of  16 Wines  from  9 Producers 

The top Elderton wine has always been the Command Shiraz. I could compare the 2016 and 2017 editions. The 2016 from the low yielding home block (1t per acre) is matured mostly in new oak lightly toasted puncheons, 2/3 American. Attractive blue fruit dominates the palate. The wine has good energy, and the acidity is well balanced (94 points). By comparison, the 2017 is lighter and fresher, but has enough fruit weight and attractive chocolate notes (94 points).

1d 14h ago

Higgo Jacobs / Chairman for the South African Sommelier Association, Sommelier (South Africa)  had a tasting of  19 Wines  from  1 Producers 

Meerlust Rubicon 2017 / Pure Cabernet expression, with leafy spice interest from Cab F and Merlot. Super balance and purity here, with volume that unfolds with time in the glass. Very promising for future Rubicon. 95/100

3d 9h ago

Richard Juhlin , Wine Writer (Sweden)  had a tasting of  20 Wines  from  16 Producers 

Salon Oenothèque 1961 / 99 points / If I was close to crying in disappointment over the 66' on the Tidelius tasting, the tears really came in the next flight when this bottle disgorged at the same time and with exactly the same low dosage was so lovely that the emotions overflowed. In fact, this wonderfully youthful champagne is the bottle that most reminded me of the world's best wine 1928 Pol Roger Grauves. Here was the same unlikely contrast between youthfulness and nicely mature notes. The scent is so unreal with its euphoric pheromone-like perfume uplifted by linden, geranium, lily of the valley, acacia, ginger, fresh tarragon, mint, lime peel and Sorrento lemon. Glass-clear brilliance and laser-sharp sharpness and precision. Caressing with faint undertones of vanilla, brioche and roasting. Pure flint mineral finesse and swirling little pearl necklace bubbles that dance ballet in the palate. What is missing in relation to 28' Grauves is a well thickened oiliness that may come in twenty years or so. Imagine that a 51-year-old can personify snowmelt, spring winter and the rebirth of life.

4d 10h ago

Allen Meadows, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  23 Wines  from  5 Producers 

Domaine Ramonet Montrachet 2012 / This already is dazzlingly complex yet the density of the nose is such that it?s seems all but guaranteed that much, much more is on the way. Interestingly the nose is not dissimilar from that of the Champs Canet though it?s much less petrol-inflected and with a bit more spice elements in play. There is superb concentration to the elegant, pure and equally complex flavors that deliver simply unbelievable length but do so effortlessly, in fact so much so that it?s genuinely mind-boggling that so much flavor authority can be delivered without almost any weight or heaviness. I was quite honestly stunned when I tasted this and I?m no stranger to young Montrachet but this is as potentially good as I have seen from the Ramonet brothers in a long time and I do not say that lightly; in fact you have to go back to the 1992 to find a young Ramonet Montrachet quite this promising. I should note that while this is certainly more than simply impressive today my score, as always, takes into account the quality that I believe this wine will ultimately deliver with 12 to 15 years of age under its belt. If you can find it, don?t miss it! 99/2024+

5d 10h ago

Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  had a tasting of  20 Wines  from  15 Producers 

2011 Quintorelli Giusseppe Amarone della Valpolicella Classico – A lighter more elegant Amarone that is beautifully composed, well balanced with a lingering finish. The magic of this wine is the lightness which belies its intensity and concentration. Long finish with layers of floral notes that surfaces at the end.

6d 2min ago

Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  had a Blind tasting of  5 Wines  from  5 Producers 

What is better in these pandemic times than tasting some fine wines blind. This tasting is a real mixed bag but presenting pleasant surprises. 

7d 9h ago

Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  4 Wines  from  1 Producers 

2018 Penfolds Bin 704 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley / Medium deep colour. Intense blackcurrant dark chocolate box cedar aromas with roasted chestnut, dukkha notes. Well-concentrated blackcurrant elderberry dark chocolate cedar flavours, fine grainy touch granular textures, underlying roasted chestnut/ vanilla oak notes, finishes chocolaty firm and long. Lovely balanced and supple-textured wine with superb fruit definition and elemental structure. Will need some years to unfold and hum. References Bin 707 and 407 and sits somewhere between in shape and volume. Distinctly Penfolds in style with Napa Valley’s hallmark tannin richness. Alc 14.5% Drink 2024 – 2035+ 97 points

8d 9h ago

Neal Martin, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  had a tasting of  16 Wines  from  10 Producers 

Domaine Dugat-Py Chambertin Grand Cru 2019/ 
The 2019 Chambertin Grand Cru is the usual solitary barrel this year, incorporating 80–90% whole-bunch fruit. It does have difficulty following the stellar Mazis-Chambertin, coming across a little straightlaced by comparison, though attractive pressed flower and marine scents emerge with aeration. The palate is very well balanced with bold, firm tannins. This is where the wine steps up a gear, offering intense red and black fruit laced with white pepper and clove, and delivering a crescendo that brings to mind the thunderous piano chord that finishes the Beatles' "A Day in the Life." Very persistent and grandiose, this deserves several years in bottle. 95-97p

8d 23h ago

Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  24 Wines  from  22 Producers 

Gaja Sori Tildin 2017 / Coming from a warmer, south-facing site, the 2016 Barbaresco Sori Tildin is a more concentrated, vibrant wine compared to the straight Barbaresco and has vivid notes of bright cherry fruits, rose petals, road tar, violets and even a hint of orange blossom. Incredible on the palate, with medium to full body, an incredible, seamless texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a monster finish. The tannins here are unquestionably on another level and are perfectly ripe, and this just about off-the-charts 2016 has a Grand Cru Red Burgundy-like texture, elegance, and stature. This bottle didn't hit prime time until the second day, so either give bottles a healthy decant or, even better, 5-7 years in a cold cellar.

10d 44min ago

Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  had a tasting of  15 Wines  from  2 Producers 

Salon 1997 / 100 points / A very recent magnum. A wine of such extraordinary quality that even the most fizzophobe amongst us could not fail to be converted. Structure, richness, power, and yet a champagne that dances. Ethereal, elegant,
delicate, and lingering. 

In magnum, this still has a decade or two ahead of it. Fresh and full of
both complexity and finesse. White flowers, peaches, glacé lemon, cinnamon,walnuts, and hazelnuts. Creamy texture, impeccable balance. Wonderful. 

Nineteen ninety-seven was not widely declared but there were some fine champagnes, none better than this. In magnum, I looked hard for a reason not to give it 100. I could not find one. It is drinking above the reputation of the vintage. 100. 

Checking notes, I was surprised at how many times I had seen this vintage of Salon. There were occasions from bottles when, as glorious as it was, it was showing more maturity than some, with more mushroom and truffle notes. Scores ranged, but none lower than 96. Unless you have it in magnum, this is a vintage you can very much enjoy now. 

10d 4h ago




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