Penfolds (Barossa Valley)
❁ Penfolds (Barossa Valley) www.penfolds.com.au
Treasury Wine Estates Tanunda Road, Nurioopta SA 5355
Tel: 08 8568 9290 Fax: 08 8568 9493
The leading Australian brand since the renaissance of Australian wine in the early 1950s, Penfolds remains high in consumers’ estimation despite recent upheavals. Grange, Australia’s most consistently great wine over 5 decades, is the pinnacle of production. Like all established investment wines, Grange has a crazy price tag but prices of all the top wines here reflect demand as much as production costs or intrinsic quality. Some top Penfolds reds are produced from a wide range of vineyard sources, which can certainly optimise complexity and aid consistency, although on the downside it might be argued there is less individuality. Grange is primarily Barossa and McLaren Vale Shiraz aged in American oak but typically contains around 5% Cabernet; while not the most refined expression of Shiraz, it is very powerful and complete, and fabulously complex with age. The RWT is 100% Barossa Shiraz aged in French oak; it has good drive and intensity but is oaky too. Intense Magill Estate is vineyard-specific but can be almost overripe and slightly coarse. St Henri, which includes around 5% Cabernet, is aged in large used oak barrels. The top Cabernet is Bin 707, which includes Coonawarra, Padthaway and Barossa fruit and, like Grange, is aged in American oak; there’s terrific flesh and blackberry fruit depth in an uncompromising structure. Bin 407 is based primarily on Coonawarra and Padthaway fruit and aged in both French and American oak. Of the other Bin-labelled reds, the Barossa-sourced Bin 138 Old Vine Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvèdre and long established Bin 389 stand out, 2009 saw the release of the inaugural Bin 23 Pinot Noir, a solid effort (although there are better buys out there). White wines have only taken on real significance here in the last decade. Flagship Chardonnay Yattarna has started to fly following a dramatic reduction in the percentage of new oak, reflecting its 100% cool climate origin (predominantly Tasmanian fruit, the balance from Adelaide Hills and Henty). The distinctly Australian style hinges around vivid fruit of lovely purity. A series of Bin-numbered Chardonnays has also been very impressive, especially the showy, oakier and funkier Reserve Bin A. For more affordable reds and whites, the refined Thomas Hyland range delivers good bang for buck. The Koonunga Hill brand covers some of the same varietals and dual-variety blends. It must take considerable skill to maintain these ranges but consistency can make for somewhat uninteresting wines; new release Seventy Six Shiraz Cabernet and Autumn Riesling successfully inject some lifeblood into the Koonunga Hill range.
To find out more about Penfolds and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Regional Guide here..
Or indeed you can check out the Main Guide that is 2250 pages, reviews over 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines here …