With the fall and winter months upon us, Canadians welcome the cozy sipping season with iconic luxury brand, Penfolds.
Based in South Australia, Penfolds is one of the oldest wineries in the country (founded in 1844). Penfolds only sources the best fruits from the best regions, and they have the awards to back everything up. They were the only Australian winery to receive a perfect score from both Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate for the same vintage – Grange 2008. Grange 1955 was named one of the top 12 wines in the 20th century by Wine Spectator.
Australian Collection 2021
New to the Penfolds lineup is the Australian Collection 2021, a family of fine wines featuring white and red wine vintages. What’s particularly newsworthy about this collection is the sheer variety – multi-region and multi-vineyard blends, single-region wines and a single-vineyard wine. These are a testament to the best Australia has to offer on the wine front. More specifically, Penfolds vineyards are located across South Australia’s finest wine regions – Magill Estate, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Eden Valley, Tumbarumba, Tasmania and more.
Within the Australian Collection 2021, Penfolds flagship Grange ($999) celebrates its 70th anniversary (1951 experimental to 2021). The style and winemaking technique behind Grange has never changed. It’s adored for its aromatic complexity, intensely rich fruit and ripe tannins of shiraz. Uniquely Australian, Grange has proven aging potential.
“The numbers have it. In its 70th Anniversary Year, this is only the 7th Grange to proclaim 100% shiraz – 1951, 1952, 1963, 1999, 2000, 2011 and now 2017. A 10% Shiraz hit-rate,” says Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago.
Penfolds Grange 2017, $999. “The most powerful expression of Penfolds multi-vineyard, multi-district blending philosophy, Grange is arguably Australia’s most celebrated wine and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Crafted utilising fully-ripe, intensely-flavoured and structured shiraz grapes, the result is a unique Australian style that is now recognized as one of the most consistent of the world’s great wines.”
2019 Yattarna ($175)
Launched in 1998 with the 1995 vintage, Yattarna is the result of one of the most comprehensive, focused and highly publicized wine development projects ever conducted in Australia. A multi-district blend, sourcing the very best chardonnay fruit from cool-climate regions, eight months in French oak barriques (55% new, 45% 1 year old).
Penfolds Yattarna 2019, $175, “Nose: An immediate assertion of its cool-climate birthright – mineral, wet-stone flint and bath salts. Radiant fruits concord – notably grapefruit, Meyer lemon and Beurre Bosc pear aromas hold court. Palate: Confidently powerful and complex, yet still beguiling graced with florals.”
2019 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon ($650)
Intensely-flavoured fruit, completion of fermentation and maturation in new oak. This cabernet sauvignon best represents Penfolds’ “House Style” – multi-vineyard, multi-region fruit sourcing. Full-bodied and with proven cellaring potential.
2019 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, $650, “Nose: Immediately laden with black olive and rolled cigar-leaf cabernet appeasements. Then allowing the florals to soar – violet, drying and hanging lavender and baby’s breath (Gypsophila to be precise!). Accompanied by bursts of white sea spray (41% McLaren Vale?) and formic (hint of barrel ferment?), iodine/haemoglobin. Palate: With McLaren Vale, front palate plushness, and again, sea spray; Coonawarra, terra rossa red-dustiness, earth; and Barossa Valley, a solid core, and a drive that stridently lunges to the back-palate, enhanced by a regional donation of chocolate/cigar.”
2019 RWT Bin 798 Barossa Valley Shiraz ($200)
Made from Barossa Valley fruit primarily selected for its aromatic qualities and lush texture. The 2019 release is structurally confident with a defined backbone, Barossa weight and density, and supportive if not reticent oak. Matured for 18 months in French oak hogsheads (57% new, 43% 1 year old).
2019 RWT (Red Winemaking Trail) Bin 798 Barossa Valley Shiraz, $200. “Nose: A floral fragrance, Saturated fresh berried fruits à la glazed and atop Danish pastry avec custard; French oak innocently proclaimed via latent citrus/brine, caper/cedar and sandalwood markers, Cured meats embalmed in balsamic, anchovy paste and flowering thyme. Palate: Dark cherry and blackcurrant/pastille fruits affording viscosity and concentration, Quince noted … and a little more (fig/cheese + balsamic?), Vietnamese mint and anise indulge an admirable palate “cooling effect”/lift.”
2019 Magill Estate Shiraz ($150)
Sourced from the Magill vineyard on the edge of Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, fruit is crushed, fermented and matured on-site at the original Penfolds Magill Estate Winery, established in 1844. An elegant, medium-weight style with velvety texture and fine tannins. It is a sleek, contemporary wine, crafted the original way: hand-picked, vinified in open fermenters. Then it is basket pressed to complete fermentation in barrel.
2019 Magill Estate Shiraz, $150, “Nose: Tell-tale lavender florals and subtle wafts of unmistakable Penfolds élevage. Certainly convinces that what is poured is at the riper end of the Magill fruit spectrum – an energetic thrust of a soaked dark boiled fruit cake richness. Beneath this saturated propulsion – gravy notes (lamb) with thyme and Moroccan spices, and just a skerrick of distant oak. Palate: Raspberry coulis, seed of plum/dark cherry and anise, chocolate.”
2018 St Henri Shiraz ($135)
St Henri is rich and plush when young, gaining soft, earthy, mocha-like characters as it ages. It is matured in old, large oak vats that allow the wine to develop, imparting minimal, if any oak character.
2018 St Henri Shiraz, $135, “Nose: Clinically: The elution of flinty pencil and cordite; Appetisingly: Warmed black olive – mustardy spiced wild rocket, haloumi; Savoury: Scents of a Greek flat-leaf parsley salad, eggplant, capers; Exotically: Freshly sliced fig and cut-rhubarb laced with cinnamon, cola spice, Chinotto, dusted nuts. Palate: Fruits (white plum, fresh fig and quandong) and charcuterie savouries abound. Fresh vibrant acidity abetted by the cut-rhubarb noted aromatically above, and liquorice root. Toasted pumpkin seed flavours, tannin-dry yet not puckering.”
2019 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz ($100)
Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Baby Grange’, in part because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. Combines the structure of cabernet sauvignon with the richness of shiraz and exemplifies the judicious balance of fruit and oak.
2019 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, $100, “Nose: Ample self-standing fruits already beginning to yield to other vinous intents. Cola, grated chocolate and cappuccino dust bind with juniper, sage/rosemary spices. A flash of brown sugar and liquorice. Oak somewhat partially hidden, yet faint scents of cedar. Palate: Instantly fresh and fleshy. Some overt single-varietal cabernet and shiraz fruits still sit separate, time will unite. Expected liquorice, stewed plum and blackcurrant fruits, with dark chocolate and mocha lurking in the background. Savoury and salivating – mouth-watering, succulent acidity. This acidity interplays with integrated, evolved tannins – coating the mouth and adding length.”
2019 Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon ($110)
Launched with the 1990 vintage in 1993, Bin 407 was developed in response to the increasing availability of high-quality cabernet sauvignon fruit. Textbook cabernet sauvignon, the varietally expressive Bin 407 highlights the rewards of Penfolds multi-region, multi-vineyard blending, with a core of ripe fruit supported by sensitive use of oak.
2019 Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon, $110, “Nose: Instantly cabernet, exposed by fragrant violet, lavender, blue fruits and the faintest waft of red apple blossom. Palate: Medium-bodied, Fruit: Juicy redcurrant jelly, dark plum (and plum acidity), fresh rhubarb, Acidity: ‘Just right’ – a lively and lifted conveyance from initial lip-contact to sated ingestion, Tannins: Integrated, polished-graphitetannins, Oak: Seamlessly hidden/concealed oak. Melding well with fruit.”
2019 Bin 28 Shiraz ($50)
Bin 28 offers a showcase of warm-climate Australian shiraz – ripe, robust and generously flavoured. Named after the Barossa Valley Kalimna Vineyard purchased by Penfolds in 1945 and where the wine was originally sourced. Today, Bin 28 is a multi-region, multi-vineyard blend, with the Barossa Valley always well represented.
2019 Bin 28 Shiraz, $50, “Nose: Dark and brooding. Primary blackberry fruits and black olive tapenade notes segue to black jelly bean; soot. Palate: Bitter chocolate to the fore, pipe tobacco and a mass of dark-berried fruits throughout. Oak is there as well.”
2019 Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz ($60)
Bin 128 comprises fruit sourced from the unique Terra Rossa soils of Coonawarra, a region that exemplifies the perfume, transparency and seductive nature of cool-climate red table wines. Coonawarra has remained the primary source of shiraz fruit for Bin 128 since the inaugural release of the 1962 vintage.
2019 Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz, $60, “Nose: Mulberry, loganberry, blackberry fruits leap forward, front and centre, demi-glace and dried herb notes reluctantly teased out. Cedar-mahogany French polish from oak. Black boot polish, black liquorice and aniseed from fruit. Palate: Medium-bodied, Red fruits – cranberry, pomegranate, raspberry pips. Creamy, naturally balanced by an interplay of acidity and extract. Back-palate succulence, yet on the actual finish – a tactile cool ‘lift’.”
2019 Bin 138 Barossa Valley Shiraz Grenache Mataro ($60)
Bin 138 draws its inspiration from the wines of the Southern Rhône. That’s a place where shiraz, grenache and mataro (mourvèdre) are blended in varying proportions to create full bodied wines possessing rich and heady perfume. Each year fruit for Bin 138 is sourced from Barossa Valley vines (some more than 100 years old). Then it’s matured in seasoned French and American oak hogshead.
2019 Bin 138 Barossa Valley Shiraz Grenache Mataro, $60, “Nose: Fragrant, welcoming. Warm, sweet spices – cardamom and a touch of paprika propelled above; omnipresent dried and glacéed fruits (cherry and strawberry pip). Charmingly reminds of a just-baked clafoutis (with black cherry), dusted with icing sugar. Palate: A medium-bodied wine, nevertheless still quite rich and opulent. Certainly an interplay of varieties, creating an interlocked fruit weave/gauze (pomegranate, strawberry).”
2020 Bin 311 Chardonnay ($50)
A mix of three great Chardonnay regional sources – fulfilling all palate flavour and structural expectations. Elegant, subtle and charming. A wonderful union, an enlightened blend. Fruit sourcing from Tasmania, Piccadilly and Henty.
2020 Bin 311 Chardonnay, $50, “Nose: Fleshy white peach, lemon verbena, a pithy citrus lift and a spray of spring blossom. A mascarpone creaminess and scents of emulsified toasted cashew and almond nougat. Aromatically relaxed – character and style. Complex. Palate: Very fine, enchantingly endowed with an elegant, ethereal lightness. Yet the fruits are ‘intense’ – white peach and nectarine.”
2021 Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling ($40)
Sourced from Eden Valley; a region that has gained worldwide recognition for producing definitive world-class Riesling. The high altitude and cool-climate induces Riesling with great finesse and elegance with a capacity for long term cellaring.
2021 Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling, $40, “Nose: citrus derivatives – lemon sherbet; later notes of Tahitian lime and lemon verbena. Then there’s scents of citrus bath salts/fresh linen and lemongrass. Also freshness and vitality of another retronasal engagement – freshly-cut flowers, freshly-cut fennel, freshly-sliced cucumber, sea spray. Palate: No shortage of flavour, yet as noted in the commentary above, it’s the fineness and purity of this youthful riesling that immediately impacts upon that first sip.”