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News

 

Penfolds unleashes the 2020 Collection

The 2020 Penfolds Collection release sees the Penfolds team of winemakers, headed by Peter Gago, further refining the red wine style.

Never has oak been so subtly applied in Penfolds top-end reds. Never have tannins been so smoothly sculpted and neatly tailored. The wines express their fruit characteristics with a clearer voice, and balance is so sure-footed that all of these wines can be enjoyed already – well, almost all. A new-release Grange always needs more time.

The 2016 Grange is very much in style, a formidable wine of enormous concentration and presence.

The Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz is as delicious as I have ever seen it upon release, its fruit seemingly riper and more succulent than usual. Ripeness also peaks in Bin 138 Barossa Shiraz Grenache Mataro, such that it’s verging on jammy. But drinkers will love it.

Bin 169 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon (2018; AUD $360) makes a re-appearance and is as delicious and lovely young as you could desire, while retaining backbone and age-worthiness.

Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon (2018; up to AUD $650 from AUD $500 in 2017) is a statuesque wine that is stylistically closer to Napa Valley than Bordeaux. Again, I could enjoy it now, but it would be crazy to open it now if you’re spending that kind of money. As with Grange, it makes no sense to drink them too young. You’d fail to enjoy these wines at their full potential.

RWT Barossa Shiraz, now bearing the Bin number 798 (2018; AUD $200) is again one of the stars of the line-up: a profound wine loaded with espresso coffee, chocolate, mocha and black fruit flavours, a wine of breathtaking concentration and power.

As I did last year, faced with the 2017 vintage, I found myself asking: “Why would you pay nearly five times the price for Grange when this gives more enjoyment now and for the immediate future?”

After sampling these two wines, Grange and RWT, several times over several days (under Coravin), I did not change that opinion.

Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz (2018; AUD $100) is another sumptuous wine that shows more dominant cabernet than usual, and again considerate oak handling allows the fruit free expression. Long-term Bin 389 buyers complain about the price going out of their reach in recent years, but the fact remains that the wine is outstanding today, and fully justifies the ask.

St Henri (2017; AUD $135) is, as usual, one of the most charming wines in the range and the bottle somehow always empties the quickest. Very ripe blackberry fruit, tar and graphite, concentrated, a wine of great complexity and completeness.

Grange (2016; AUD $950) is very much in style, a formidable wine of enormous concentration and presence, and certainly the one wine that is not easy to drink and enjoy now, but it undoubtedly has a great future. I thought it was at least as good as the much-feted 2015. Will those tasters who rated the 2015 a perfect 100 points rate this 101?!

Space doesn’t permit a discussion of every wine, but one wine I’d like to highlight this year is Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling (2020; AUD $40), the cheapest wine in the Collection and one of the best value buys. It’s a smashing wine, and about as typical of its region as an Eden Valley riesling could ever be. I loved it – and I haven’t always loved this wine.

Finally, the Penfolds ‘g4’. This extraordinary wine is a blend of four Grange vintages: 2016, 2008, 2004 and 2002. Only 2,500 bottles were produced and the price is – wait for it – AUD $3,500. It’s not officially part of the Penfolds Collection but is being released at the same time. Three years ago, the first of this line was debuted, the ‘g3’, composed of three Grange vintages. It was sublime, as is this one. It’s a pity only the very wealthy will ever get to taste it.

The Real Review

 

Penfolds releases 2017 collection

The Penfolds Collection wines for 2017 have been released and with them, the 2013 vintage of the flagship, Grange.

Of the 17 wines I tasted, 10 are reds from the outstanding 2015 vintage. They are certainly a superb range of wines. They comprise Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz, Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz, Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz, Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bin 2 Shiraz Mataro, Bin 138 Shiraz Grenache Mataro, RWT Bin 798 Barossa Shiraz and Magill Estate Shiraz.

I thought they were all right on form, but especially the Magill Estate (I can’t recall a better Magill Estate than this) and Bin 128 Coonawarra (utterly gorgeous: I can’t recall a more immediately seductive vintage of this wine). And finally, RWT and Bin 707 are both mind-bendingly good, as we’ve come to expect in recent vintages. They are powerhouses, which to my mind are increasingly throwing down the gauntlet to Grange.

That said, Grange is always going to be Grange, with its unbeatable track record for great ageing ability. The 2013 is not as great a Grange as the stunning 2012, but is only a step behind it: an excellent Grange, without quite the detail and charm, the gorgeous texture and balance of the ’12. But very much a Grange and possessing the customary concentration, structure, power and cellarworthiness.

Unhappily, it is still the only Penfolds wine that is only available under natural cork. All the others are available under screw-cap, and the top-level reds come with the option of cork or screw-cap.

The tasting notes for these as well as the whites, and the 2016 Bin 23 Pinot Noir and 2014 St Henri Shiraz, are on the website now. The whites are – 2017 Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling, 2016 Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay, 2016 Reserve Bin A Chardonnay and 2015 Yattarna Chardonnay.

The riesling and pinot noir struck me as being especially good value this year – as is that delicious Bin 128.

In other Penfolds news, GraysOnline is offering a complete set of Penfolds Grange. There are 61 bottles, from 1951 to 2012 vintages inclusive. Bids will be accepted in this rare event between October 10 and October 17.

GraysOnline fine wine manager Greg Fitzsimmons expects a hammer price between AUD $230,000 and AUD $250,000.

 

 

Penfolds Remembers Max Schubert  

Two new wines aim to celebrate Max Schubert, but do they hit the mark?

Max Schubert still working in his office at Penfolds in 1983.

© Treasury | Max Schubert still working in his office at Penfolds in 1983.

 

Max Schubert was Australia's most important winemaker ever. So Treasury Wine Estates has decided to honor him with a pair of environmentally unfriendly, generic red wines.

Schubert, who the Sydney Morning Herald declared one of the 100 most important Australians of the 20th Century, thus joins Charles "Carlo" Rossi and Charles Shaw on the lower reaches of giant wine stores' shelves. Maybe they'll have much to talk about.

The idea, a secretly wrapped wine label, has some basis. Schubert created Penfolds Grange, still Australia's most iconic wine. He did so after being sent to Europe in 1949 to learn how to make better fortified wines, which is what Australians drank then. He used grapes from some of Barossa Valley's best old Shiraz vineyards for the first release, a 1952. But people didn't buy the wines so, in 1957, Penfolds ordered him to stop making it. For three years Schubert carried on secretly without new oak barrels.

 

In 1960, Penfolds' board changed its mind, and Schubert could make the wine officially again. The Grange became the flagship not just of Penfolds, but the whole Australian fine wine industry.

In 1962, Schubert made a non-Grange Shiraz-Cabernet blend called Bin 60A, which may have been the single best wine ever made in Australia. In 2008, wine critic James Halliday wrote about it: "An utterly superb wine, a glorious freak of nature and man... The palate is virtually endless, with a peacock's tail stolen from the greatest of Burgundies... This is possibly the greatest red wine tasted in our times in Australia."

How would you honor such a man? The idea of making a wine in secret is appealing, and Treasury still has access to some amazing vineyards. I'll never forget tasting a delicious wine I hadn't heard of, the 2004 Penfolds Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon, at a Napa Valley luncheon. I saw the unassuming name and thought, I want to buy some of that, so I asked: "Where can I get a bottle?" It turned out to be a limited release wine Penfolds hasn't made since, and it costs at least $600 – if you can find it. Maybe Treasury could have made another Block 42 release and called that "Max's."

 

Instead, they made this stuff.

First, the packaging. There's a Christmas-red plastic wrap around the bottle to hide the customary Penfolds logo underneath. It seems like a waste of money: you peel it off and it's gone. It's not a peel-off label you can keep to remind you of the wine; it's just an awkwardly shaped bit of plastic wrapping too small to reuse. It doesn't even flatten. You tear it off and throw it away. And they shipped this all the way from Australia. The bottle's not particularly lightweight either. Well, our country just left the Paris climate treaty, so, fine, ship us the overpackaged refuse from your teeming shores.

Inside, here's how Schubert is being honored. The 2015 Penfolds Max's South Australia Shiraz Cabernet (14.5 percent alcohol) is red and tastes red. It's not bad if you like generic red blends. It has a little bit more added acid than some, but it tastes pretty much like anything else that comes out of an enormous freight tanker: competent. You can buy competence for less than $15 now, making this a slightly pricey tribute.

Though I nearly fell asleep tasting that wine, I was pleasantly surprised that the 2015 Penfolds Max's South Australia Cabernet Sauvignon (14.5 percent alcohol) actually smells like Cabernet, with some fresh herb notes. The added acidity stands out a bit but will serve the wine well with food. It's not bad for Cab in the just-under-$20 price range, which can be awful. The fruit's ripe and it smells like Cab.

I just wonder if this is how Max, who died in 1994, would want to be remembered. He was named Man of the Year by Decanter in 1988. He's a Member of the Order of Australia. There's an electoral district named after him in Barossa Valley.

And now he has this wine! Max didn't even work for Treasury, which didn't own Penfolds then. Maybe his descendants should sue. I hope they're getting paid.

 

 

 

PENFOLDS BIN 707 CABERNET SAUVIGNON IMPERIALS - INSPIRED BY BOEING

 

For the first time in Penfolds history and to celebrate Boeing's 100th anniversary, ten limited edition Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon Imperials have been created, each individually enclosed in a handmade presentation case.

 

Inspired by its original namesake, the Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon collaboration celebrates this distinctive and powerful fine wine and Penfolds long connection to the Boeing 707 aircraft.

To commemorate the commercial Imperial debut of this very rare wine, a dual vintage has been released: five 2012 vintage imperials and five 2013 vintage imperials – one to commemorate each decade in Boeing’s history. Showcased within the presentation box is a Boeing 707 ‘horn button’ a rare collectable item. 

Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon Imperials offer a rare opportunity to own a piece of aviation history and an Imperial offering of benchmark Australian Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

 

THE PENFOLDS RELEASE 2015 COLLECTION 

The Penfolds Collection evolves this year with the new vintage release of the winery’s family of fine wines, officially available from Thursday 15th October. Noteworthy wine milestones and anniversaries together with vintage nuances are evident and while the winemakers led by Chief Winemaker Peter Gago continue to act as custodians of the past, they continue to deliver their own distinctive interpretation of the wines. 

The 2015 Collection spans five vintages across 20 individual wines of appeal and provenance, all proudly displaying the Penfolds ‘House Style’ established more than 171 years ago.

 

 

Key highlights include: 

• 2011 Grange is the 61st consecutive release, this is only the sixth Grange since the experimental 1951 vintage to be 100% Shiraz.

• 2013 Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz celebrates its 55th consecutive release. 

• 2013 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon for the first time made predominantly from Adelaide Hills fruit. 

• 2014 Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay celebrates its 10th consecutive release.

Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago reflects, “this year’s Collection again reminds our winemaking team of the magic and unknowns of wine. There’s still so much that we don’t know, a continuum of surprise is occasionally explained by science, history or experience. Our 2013 reds have significantly transformed in bottle – grown, complexed, fattened… call it what you will. These wines make us smile and remind us of why we do, what we do.”

 

In addition to the release, for the first time this year, Penfolds will also unveil a selection of wines in stylishly crafted gift boxes and for collector’s who acquire Grange they can now personalise their gift box with a bespoke plaque denoting a name and personal message.

Earlier this year Penfolds was named 2015 International White Winemaker by the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in recognition of Penfolds whites delivering drinkability and durability. Senior White Winemaker Kym Schroeter, who has over a quarter of a century of Penfolds winemaking experience, asserts, “overall I believe this year’s white release is ‘right up there’ in terms of quality and ageability. Certainly wines for the cellar!” 

These whites span three vintages, 2013 - 2015. The Penfolds Collection 2015 offers wines of great narrative, largesse, aging potential and cultural significance.

 

 

PENFOLDS NAMED AUSTRALIAN WINE PRODUCER OF THE YEAR AT INTERNATIONAL WINE AND SPIRIT COMPETITION 2014

 

 

 

Penfolds IWSC Award

Penfolds has been named Australian Wine Producer of the Year by the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) at an awards dinner held in London on October 12th. In addition to this prestigious honour Penfolds also received the Trophy for best Worldwide Fortified Wine, awarded to Penfolds Grandfather Rare Tawny.

Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago said: “It’s a proud moment for the Penfolds winemaking team to be recognised by the IWSC, particularly given the number of high quality wines entered from across Australia and the world. We’re honoured to be recognised in this competition particularly in our 170th year.”

 

The collection of 2014 IWSC medals for Penfolds included:

  • NV Penfolds Grandfather Rare Tawny – Trophy and Gold
  • 2012 Penfolds RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz – Gold Outstanding
  • 2012 Penfolds Reserve Bin A Chardonnay – Gold
  • 2012 Penfolds Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz – Gold
  • 2012 Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz – Silver Outstanding
  • 2014 Penfolds Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling – Silver Outstanding
  • 2013 Penfolds Cellar Reserve Chardonnay – Silver Outstanding
  •  

 

It’s the second major international wine competition award in 2014 for Penfolds. Earlier this year the winery collected the Len Evans Trophy for consistency over a five year period at the International Wine Challenge. These accolades also come after the winery received Wine Enthusiast (US) magazine’s New World Winery of the Year award in January and more recently Peter Gago was named 2014 Gourmet Traveller Wine (AUS) magazine’s Winemaker of the Year, and recipient of the Len Evans Award for Leadership by the title.

The International Wine and Spirit Competition was founded in 1969 and is the premier competition of its kind in the world. All entries are blind tasted in groups divided by variety, region and vintage as necessary. It remains the only international wine competition that puts all wines through chemical analysis as well as judging by a team of senior tasters.

 

 

 

 

                           

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History

Australia's winemaking history of less than two hundred years is brief by European measures, though, like Europe, punctuated by periods of extreme success and difficult times. From the earliest winemaking days Penfolds has figured prominently and few would argue the importance of Penfolds influence on Australia's winemaking psyche. Without the influence of Penfolds the modern Australian wine industry would look very different indeed. Sitting comfortably outside of fad and fashion, Penfolds has taken Australian wine to the world on a grand stage and forged a reputation for quality that is without peer.

Penfolds has a history and heritage that profoundly reflects Australia’s journey from colonial settlement to the modern Era. Established in 1844, just eight years after the foundation of South Australia, Penfolds has played a pivotal role in the evolution of winemaking in Australia - and across the world. Penfolds collection of benchmark wines were established in a spirit of innovation and the constant and endless pursuit of quality, evidenced from the secret bottlings of Grange in 1951 and the unbroken line of vintages of what is now Australia’s most iconic wine.

Historic blends, significant milestones and heritage vineyards have been honoured by a lineage of custodians whose courage and imagination, precision and humility have ensured Penfolds remains true to its original values while remaining relevant for current and future generations.

Penfolds reputation for making wines of provenance and cellaring potential might suggest a mantle of tradition and formality is the preferred attire of a company with so much history to defend. But to label Penfolds as simply an established and conventional winemaker, would be to confuse tradition with consideration and to overlook the innovative spirit that has driven Penfolds since its foundation, and continues to find expression in modern times. 

If there is anything traditional about Penfolds, it is the practice of constantly reviewing the wines it already does well and continuously evolving and refining styles as vineyards mature and access to ever older and more varied vineyard sites improves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vineyards

The magic of Penfolds begins in the vineyard. 

“We have some of the most experienced and dedicated viticulturalists and grape growers in the world. We count on them for the very best and we always receive it,” says Steve Lienert, Penfolds Senior Red Winemaker.

Penfolds vineyards are located primarily in South Australia on prime land throughout the state’s most esteemed viticultural regions.  Throughout its history, Penfolds has owned and leased vineyards in addition to sourcing grapes from independent growers. This strategy reflects the tradition of multi-vineyard and multi-regional sourcing first introduced in the 1860s by Mary Penfold, and allows for a consistency of style and quality across vintages, of which Penfolds is renowned for. Sustainability, consistency in quality and fruit sourcing are the key elements of Penfolds viticulture today. 

Our key viticultural regions include Adelaide, the Barossa Valley, the Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Limestone Coast, and McLaren Vale.  Although South Australia provides almost the entire vintage crop, cool climate regions such as Tumbarumba in New South Wales, Henty in southern Victoria and Tasmania, are significant sources for Penfolds white wines. In totality, grapes are sourced from more than 220 vineyards and grape growers across Australia.

 

Penfolds Magill Estate Vineyard was originally established in 1844 by Dr Christopher and Mary Penfold. It is a remnant of the original Grange Vineyards, regarded as one of the choicest sites in early colonial South Australia. The area is 5.24 hectares (12 acres). It features gentle, west-facing slopes ranging between 130–180m (430–600 feet), situated at the base of the Adelaide Hills.

 

The Kalimna Vineyard was established in the mid-1880s by George Swan Fowler and acquired by Penfolds in 1945. It bears undulating slopes and flats with elevations to 340 metres (1100 feet). The site comprises the historic 1880s Block 42, thought to be the oldest continually producing Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in the world and home to the 2004 Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignonwine used in the Limited Edition Ampoule. The Kalimna Vineyard also includes Block 3 Shiraz (1948), Block 4 Shiraz (1949), Block 14 Shiraz (1948), Block 41 Cabernet Sauvignon (1955), and Block 25 Mataro (1964).

 

 

The Barossa is 70 km north of Adelaide and is comprised of two distinct subregions: the cool-to-warm Eden Valley, with schistic soils at 450 metres, and the warm Barossa Valley with its complex array of rich brown-red soils and alluvial sands at 270 metres. The overall region is dry, with rainfall predominating in winter. Cool afternoon breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent moderate temperatures during summer.

The Barossa Valley soils are ancient, up to 200 million years old. The soils vary throughout the sub-regions ranging from red-brown earth over heavy clay at Koonunga Hill to duplex sandy loams over clay at Kalimna and red-brown soils over limestone in Gomersal.

The Barossa was settled by Silesians (from east Germany) and English immigrants during the late 1830s. Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor General, named the region after a battle site, Barossa, near Jerez in Spain, where British and French forces clashed in 1811, during the Peninsular War. Penfolds largest winery is close to the township of Nuriootpa. The Barossa Valley is home to many of Penfolds most celebrated company and grower vineyards.

 

Coonawarra. Penfolds first acquired Sharam’s Block from Redman’s in 1960. It now comprises 100 hectares (247 acres) of prime vineyards. Our 1962 Bin 60A Cabernet Sauvignon, 1964 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1966 Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz and 1967 Bin 7 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon Kalimna Shiraz began an important Penfolds tradition in Coonawarra. Old Penfolds blocks include the revered Block 20 Cabernet Sauvignon and Block 14 Shiraz.

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Winemaking

Grange

It took 10 years from the time the first experimental Grange was made before the wine gained general acceptance and the prejudices were overcome.

 

In 1949 a young Australian wine maker from Penfolds, Max Schubert, was sent to Jerez, Spain to learn the art of making sherry. At the time the voyage between continents was made without haste by ocean liners. On his way back home, as the ship stopped in the harbor of Bordeaux, Max decided to take advantage of the opportunity and take a short holiday in the most famous wine area of France. With the help of his recommendations and eagerness the young man got a chance to acquaint with the local wine production through the mighty Cruse wine family. Christian Cruse took Max under his wings and presented him with the secrets of wine production by means of the splendid vintage 1949.

 

Max Schubert returned to Australia and Penfolds favorably impressed and determined to produce an Australian red wine that would last for decades and would in quality be comparable to the famous Bordeaux wines.The task was not easy since the classic Bordeaux was in France produced by mixing Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. In Australia those refined grapes did not exist, so Max had to settle for the local Shiraz which was usually used only in the production of the regional, fortified port wine. There were also no French oak casks at hand, but having managed to purchase some American ones Max Schubert decided to use them. In them he matured the first, experimental 1951 vintage of Grange for 18 months before bottling.

 

In 1959 came the time to introduce that first vintage of Grange into the market. To honor the occasion Penfolds arranged a tasting where authoritative local wine connoisseurs had the opportunity to taste all five first vintages (1951-1956). The event ended in disaster; no one liked the wine nor was willing to pay for it. The criticism was mordant and one of the best known and appreciated wine experts present came to congratulate Max sarcastically: “Schubert, I congratulate you. This is very good, dry port that nobody in his right mind will not buy, let alone drink."

 

Although public opinion did not differ much from that singular one, Max did not lose his courage and arranged several tastings with Grange around the country. Though the results were somewhat better, they were still quite depressing. The Penfolds management decided to shut down the rather costly production of Grange the next year. Luckily one of the owners still saw some possibilities with Grange and gave Max permission to continue the production in small scale, and in secret from the others.

 

After many years of silence in 1962 Penfolds took part in the grand wine show in Sydney with the 1955 Grange and won the gold medal. From that moment started the rewriting of Australian wine history.

Grange has won over 120 gold medals in wine shows, a fact that has made it the most awarded in the whole wine world, and in 1995 for example Wine Spectator chose it as the best wine of the world. A few years later in the same publication Grange 1955 was picked as one of the best wines of all time. Parker has stated that “Penfolds Grange takes opulence and decadence to the limits, and for that reason it has replaced Bordeaux´s Pétrus as the world´s most exotic and concentrated wine", so the triumphal march has but continued.

 

Rare Grange 

 

The early experimental Granges were largely given away meaning in principle the beneficiaries have made some outstanding returns! Even the early commercialised vintages – sold into the market for a few dollars represent good investments today. It is unlikely – however – that any buyer or recipient really looked at the investment value of Grange during the 1950s and 1960s. These early supporters enjoyed Grange because it was a really interesting wine. It was not until the 1980s that Grange really made its name as a investment type wine.

 

The rarest Granges are 1956, 1957 and 1958 – because they were made without authorisation and produced in miniscule quantities. The most valuable Granges are 1951 (the first experimental vintage) and 1952. Interestingly the 1951 was kept back as museum stock for years. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1980s that collectors were able to secure bottles. This is one of the reasons that the labels and general appearance of the bottles are often in better condition than other vintages during the 1950s. The value of the 1951 is intrinsically linked to its historic significance – it is the most important wine ever to be made in Australia as it set the direction of contemporary Australian wine making.

 

The market for rare Grange is not as liquid as vintage Grange and therefore exposed to both volatility and malaise. It’s a highly specialized area of the secondary market. A complete collection of Grange – in pristine condition and signed by Max Schubert – the creator of Grange – once sold for just under $250,000. However most sets have sold between $140,000 and 180,000 in the last seven years. At Langton’s Penfolds Auction held in August 2007 – two sets sold for a combined total of $308,000. 

 

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Inside information

THE AMPOULE 

The Penfolds Ampoule Project is a collaboration of designer-maker Hendrik Forster, furniture craftsman Andrew Bartlett, glass artist Nick Mount and scientific glassblower Ray Leake. At its core is the Kalimna Vineyard’s celebrated 2004 Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon. Peter Gago explained the concept: ‘The Ampoule Project is a provocative statement about the art and science of wine. 

 

When it was first brought to the world’s attention in 2012 it became a media sensation. The limited-release Ampoule – only twelve were crafted – is the ultimate wine curiosity, an experience combining Penfolds heritage and South Australian ingenuity and identity.  

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73 different wines with 460 vintages

Winemaking since 1844

  • Peter Gago

    Winemaker
    My five top desert-island bottles:1988 Salon, 1943 Krug , 1961 Jaboulet La Chapelle , 1945 Chateau Latour ,1959 DRC Richebourg.
  • Max Schubert

    Former Winemaker
    We must not be afraid to put into effect the strength of our own convictions, continue to use our imagination in winemaking generally, and be prepared to experiment in order to gain something extra, different and unique in the world of wine.

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Château Mouton Rothschild 2016 / Gorgeous, subtle, layered Mouton with delicate and detailed flavors that linger on the palate for a long time. The density of the tannins combine with wonderful freshness and layers of flavors that range from dark berries, savory spices to cedar and earth. A glorious Mouton that has stature and concentration without any heaviness. The blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Cab Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The latter two varieties were co-fermented.


99 points

17d 14h ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  12 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Penfolds Bin 144 Yattarna 2018 / Launched in 1998 with the 1995 vintage, Yattarna is the result of one of the most comprehensive, focused and highly publicised wine development projects ever conducted in Australia. The aspiration and independence of mind across generations of Penfolds winemakers inspired the ambition to create a white wine that would set the standard for ultra-fine Australian Chardonnay, a sortof 'White Grange'. They aim to source and select only the very best Chardonnay fruit from cool-climate regions, in this case Tasmania, Tumbarumba, Adelaide Hills. The name Yattarna is drawn from local indigenous language, meaning ‘little by little, gradually’. Acidity 7.3 g/l, pH 3.12. Aged for eight months in French oak barriques (60% new). All three regions enjoyed a relatively wet winter and spring, setting the vines up with healthy soil moisture profiles for the ensuing growing season. Tasmania experienced clear and generally warm conditions from January onwards, with no extreme heat spells leading into harvest. The temperature breached 35 °C only once in January, resulting in optimal conditions for ripening. Tumbarumba had plentiful rainfall right up to December, when a dry spell set in. In February, temperatures were generally cool allowing for slow, consistent ripening. The Adelaide Hills fruit set was slightly above average. The region experienced a warm finish to the growing season, but well-developed canopies shielded the fruit from adversity and ensured the berries ripened evenly. Harvest was an orderly affair across the three regions. 



Fine, complex, really rather burgundian nose and great crystalline fruit and grip without austerity. The acidity level is really quite high compared with many other Chardonnays. Pretty smart. You would be very happy with this if labelled Puligny-Montrachet actually. Good stuff and it should have a long life but could be broached already.

1m 10d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  8 wines 

The Napa Red lineup from 1991 to 2018 showed once again the greatness of Napa reds. They are so enjoyable at the very early stage like Blankiet Rive Droite 2018 (97p) is still a baby but so charming and elegantly volaptuous. Heitz Martha's Vineyard 2013 is a teenager who is just starting to bloom and Merryvale's Profile from the great vintage 1991 (94p) pleases with its gracefully aged opulent style. 

1m 28d ago

 Thomas Girgensohn, Wine Blogger (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  16 wines 

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).

2m 13d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  4 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  4 wines 

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

2m 23d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  7 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  185 wines 

BWW2021 competition finals were filled with superb lineup of the world's greatest wines and superb finds from various price categories. The finals that were run in various blind tasting sessions, revealed many surprises. Most commonly, the fact that all the wines were so enjoyable already at this young stage, although many of them will deliver so much more after ageing of 10-15 years. Congratulations for all the winners!

3m 23d ago

 Penfolds   has updated producer and wine information

3m 23d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  22 wines 

1964 Chateau Latour;Dark ruby, brick rim. B/C level fill, soaked cork. Liquorice, sweet tobacco, hay, some blackcurrants, gorgeous nose, some ripe tannins still, fresh acidity, quite intence, extremelly complex, almost at such a degree, that you can't decipher it all, perfect structure, truly impressive, and exceptionaly long finish. 96

4m 5d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  61 wines 

The third long and rewarding BWW2020 -tasting day is now behind. Here is my personal list over 90 points wines! Thank you again for all the other tasters - tasting 146 young fine wines from all over the world is always a hard work day - but because they are "the Best Wines of the World - it makes so much easier and more fun. 

5m 1d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  3 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  37 wines 

A long and interesting BWW2020 -tasting day one is behind. Here is my personal list over 90 points wines! Thank you for all the other tasters - tasting 120 young fine wines from all over the world is always a real and rare pleasure -it also felt like I was back on the school bench - and the teachers were the best wines in the world. What a day one!

5m 6d ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  18 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Penfolds g4 ($3,500, cork, 14.5%). A couple of years ago, Penfold's released a wine from their intermittent Special Bin series called ‘g3’. It was a non-vintage blend, in the tradition we have seen in the past from wineries such as Vega Sicilia with their ‘Único Reserva Especial’ and Chapoutier, as they once did with ‘le Pavillon’. It was a blend of varying, though undisclosed, percentages of the 2008, 2012 and 2014 Grange (obviously the older vintages were transferred from bottle). 1,200 bottles were made, at a release price of A$3,000 (which very quickly went up to A$5,000 on the secondary market).


Now we have ‘g4’. A blend of four of the greatest vintages of Grange from this century – 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2016. Again, the first three were transferred from bottle. 2,500 bottles have been released, with a price tag of A$3,500. Each bottles comes in its own beautifully presented wooden box. As good as the ‘g3’ was, for me, ‘g4’ is a significant step up in quality. Under cork it might be, but the corks are covered in wax. Always looks great but they are messy and difficult. Mind you, if that is the biggest criticism thrown at this wine then I suspect Penfold's won’t be too upset.


What was interesting was that this time, Gago was happy to acknowledge that this was the second in a ‘g’ trilogy, with ‘g5’ to come at an unspecified date in the future (supposedly sometime in 2021). Again, percentages are not released. One can assume that the 2016 forms the base. Peter would confirm that there were double-digit contributions from each of the other vintages. 


My thoughts on ‘g5’ are speculation only, but with 2018 such a spectacular vintage for Penfold's, hard to imagine that it will not form the basis of ‘g5’. As for other vintages, just a guess but Peter’s love of 2010 is well known and it has not featured as yet? The production will be marginally greater than for ‘g4’.


‘g4’ is a brilliant wine. Wonderfully complex, with the benefit of some age here. Chocolate, tobacco leaves, coffee grinds, roast meat notes, dry herbs and cigar box characters. Gorgeously silky tannins. More subtle than the 2016 Grange, it is fabulous to drink now, though surely has time ahead of it. I wavered between 99 and 100. The following day, I was no longer hesitant. 100 points. That astonishing extra level of finesse was now apparent. A truly superb wine

5m 21d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Penfolds  . In a tasting of  20 wines 

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.

5m 25d ago

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