Interactive Tasting

Introducing the highly anticipated 2017 Penfolds collection, now available at Vintage Cellars. Explore the range, delve into tasting notes from our expert tasting panel and uncover exclusive commentary from Peter Gago, Penfolds’ Chief Winemaker.

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Grange 2013

Peak Drinking: 2020 - 2060

Maturation: 20 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads

Region: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Magill Estate

Colour: Opaque black core, dark red rim

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4 %
Cabernet
96 %
Shiraz
0 %
Mataro
Six decades after the release of OUR favourite Grange, the 60 year-old 1953 Grange, this 2013 flexes, prances, twitches, ... pressure is on! What’s the measure of this four and a half year old?
Peter Gago Penfolds

Nose: An aromatic assault / surge / eruption of soy, hoisin, balsamic reduction ... coiled around a core of kirsch and fresh raspberry. This propulsion is crammed with tell-tale barrel ferment, V.A. and formic Grange markers – all in balance, all respectful of fruit and oak. And yet, so ‘classy’ – a brightness, a sheen, a gloss, a raciness – belying both age and upbringing (élevage).

Palate: Formidable
No gaps, a densely-packed structural continuum. Not huge, not massive, yet taut, muscular, feisty. A black palimpsest - black fruits, black liquorice, black pudding, black fig, black cardamom.... Granitic chewy tannins linger and coat; oak all but fully concealed, submerged beneath a tannin/oak/acid/ avour tsunami. Fruits? Where to start in this entanglement? Time please.

Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2015

Peak Drinking: Now - 2037

Maturation: 12 months in 50+ y.o. large oak vats

Region: Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Robe, Padthaway

Colour: Deep dense magenta

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53 %
Cabernet
47 %
Shiraz
0 %
Mataro
A great example of a vintage release that isn’t cabernet, that isn’t shiraz ... that probably can’t be second-guessed as a cabernet/shiraz blend. Mission accomplished - Bin 389.
Peter Gago Penfolds

Nose: The very first impression? Instantly Penfolds. Some barrel-ferment nuances perhaps? A formic lift, V.A., regressive oak? Maybe all listed are guilty partners! Higher notes reveal custard tart and brûlée, courting meaty pan-scrapings/juices. Yet beneath, a darker edge – black pudding, sweetbread, asphalt. Moreover, not just an ‘offal’ offering – an aromatic veil of satsuma plum, fig and quince paste aromatics liberally sprinkled above.

Palate: Enticing, inviting. A taste continuum of assorted flavours and textures. A spoil of fruits meshed with a grain-like paste – chaff/oats/barley/wheat germ.... At once chewy and succulent, heightened by a mouth-watering acidity and overt 2015 ‘elongated’ tannins. Oak barely perceivable. An interesting ‘package’ whereupon nothing stands out! A ‘balanced completeness’!

St Henri Shiraz​ 2014

Peak Drinking: Now - 2044

Maturation: 12 months in 50+ y.o. large oak vats

Region: Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, Southern Fleurieu, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale

Colour: Deep garnet

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4 %
Cabernet
96 %
Shiraz
0 %
Mataro
Another vintage that classically reaffirms St Henri DNA – it is not a Bin, nor RWT nor Grange-like. A unique shiraz proposition that harks back to the late-1800’s. Quality that doesn’t date.
Peter Gago Penfolds

Nose: Lifted, racy. Rhône-ish at first, South Australian upon sitting. Bountiful aromatics ascend – initially redcurrant, cranberry, Christmas cake mix, and then the liberation of citrus (lime peel), fennel and olive. Middle Eastern spices also present – sweet, not savoury (incl. cinnamon, nutmeg). And, not unexpected, something not present - oak!

Palate: Svelte. Nevertheless, propels assertive tannins that build – sheeted/layered in configuration. To please all tastes - the sweet – zabaglione, custard, raw chocolate (cocoa); and the savoury – (bone) marrow, star anise. Lingers, and certainly leaves a most appealing ‘residual’ impression for quite some time after ingestion.

Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz​​​​ 2015

Peak Drinking: Now - 2030

Maturation: 12 months in French oak hogsheads (30% new, 30% 1-y.o., 40% 2-y.o.)

Region: Coonawarra

Colour: Deep mauve, purple at rim

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0 %
Cabernet
100 %
Shiraz
0 %
Mataro
Tannin impact is minimal – a fine & seamless Coonawarra package.
Different and yet still carrying a definitive Penfolds stamp.
Ready, already. Please save some for later! We will.
Peter Gago Penfolds

Nose: A carnivoric aromatic indulgence - raw red meat (tartare); air-dried/salt-cured Italian meats, carpaccio. Spices infused, á la - pepper steak, Worcestershire garnish ... with fruits not overtly prominent. In its youth, steel-cut oats – fresh, not packaged? Yes, definitely oatmeal. And subtle oak.

Palate: Sage and bay leaf coupled with Indian spices (oak-derived) and dark-berried fruits. Type of oak? Tell-tale French. Velvety/viscous rather than manifesting the typical regional grip/attaque ... shielded by an abundance of even, clay-like, grainy and slippery tannins. Substantial! Coonawarra.

Kalmina® Bin 28 Shiraz 2015

Peak Drinking: Now - 2032

Maturation: 12 months in seasoned American oak hogsheads

Region: McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Robe

Colour: Dark deep red

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0 %
Cabernet
100 %
Shiraz
0 %
Mataro
No rough edges, nothing pokes out. But surely this is what Penfolds Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz is meant to be? Yes, the stylistic template of 1959 remains intact.
Peter Gago Penfolds

Nose: Exotic. A debut of camphor, lanolin, cold lamb, parsnip/vegetable stock. Courted by an ascent of vanilla sponge / teacake and rocky-road marshmallow. Followed by wafts of coffee ground spices and biscuity/wafery hazelnut.

Palate: Vibrant, fresh and lively. Long, elongated tannins – sleek, slick and slender! Dark black-cherry fruit flavours, generous and more-ish! (And just why can’t we say Cherry Ripe!) Succulent; neither alcohol nor oak intrude. Unobtrusive acidity will ensure cellarability, should it (hopefully) be pursued.

RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015

Peak Drinking: 2019 - 2035

Maturation: 16 months in French oak hogsheads (83% new, 17% 1-y.o.)

Region: Barossa Valley

Colour: A threatened crimson rim encroached upon by a deep, dark core

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0 %
Cabernet
100 %
Shiraz
0 %
Mataro
Be warned - don’t mistake darkness for bigness. Remains fine-structured and yet plied with ripe tannins and laden with fruit. In a word, balanced.
Peter Gago Penfolds

Nose: Freshly sliced panforte – date, fig, with dried and fresh blue fruits that become more apparent upon sitting. Immediately recognisable cedary French oak - synergised by the liberation of sweet Moroccan spices and a propulsion of dried roasted almond. Conceded – can’t ‘smell’ acidity, so maybe such a perception is created via scents of rhubarb and cranberry?

Palate: This year more ostensibly textural than other red wines in The Penfolds Collection. Yet still super-saturated with red and blue-berried fruits and liquorices (both red and black). Proudly extolling a formidable Barossa structure – layered/laminated, rather than thick/blocky ... (aka filo-pastry or) ‘ filo-lated’?! Tannins – fine/emery/sleek/polished – all there to convey, not to confront. Lingers, ever so pleasantly. Once again spoilt by the generosity on the palate of what the Barossa does best.

Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Peak Drinking: Now - 2028

Maturation:12 months in French oak hogsheads (25% new) and American oak hogsheads (10% new, 18% 1-y.o., 36% 2-y.o , 11% 3-y.o.)

Region: Wrattonbully, Coonawarra, Padthaway, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley

Colour: Bright crimson red

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100 %
Cabernet
0 %
Shiraz
0 %
Mataro
A high water-line ... aka, it sits ‘high’ on palate. Does that mean sensorily ‘upwardly mobile’?!
Peter Gago Penfolds

Nose: Yes, definitely cabernet sauvignon, yet with an Asian demeanour.... How can this be? Well, to begin – aromas not dissimilar to Thai/Vietnamese coriander, betel-leaf. And then - chive, lime, grapefruit dressing and Asian spices; green tea; Thai beef salad spices, nuttiness. Redemptive cabernet markers - cassis and violet aromas ... authenticating a South Australian birthplace! Upon sitting – almost a powdery sprinkling of ‘soot/coal dust’. And, consistent to this theme – dusty oak!

Palate: Familial kirsch and tomato puree cabernet flavours underpinned by a pan-jus meatiness, cola. Beneath – a vinous slurry... sharpening-stone replete with oil, graphite/ironstone?! Sleek, elongated tannins (not grippy) align with judicious oak to convey flavours completely and effortlessly across palate.

Bin 138 Barossa Valley Shiraz Mataro Grenache 2015

Peak Drinking: Now - 2023

Maturation: 12 months in seasoned French (66%) & American oak hogsheads (34%)

Region: Barossa Valley

Colour: Deep crimson

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16 %
Grenache
64 %
Shiraz
20 %
Mataro
Spoils of the Barossa, spoilt by the Barossa! Yet again. Older vineyards, getting older...
Peter Gago Penfolds

Nose: A varietal aromatic chromatogram dissemination: Mataro - manifested via impressions of charcuterie and grilled/charred/smokey meats. Grenache - a whiff of florals (albeit less than usual for Bin 138?), blackberry pastille, fruit drops. Shiraz - moist ham hock and a spray of cedar and spice. Integrated, traditional ... or as overheard: “a good, old-fashioned Barossa Valley ‘Dry Red’ style”.

Palate: Unashamedly ‘dry-reddish’. And why not? A ferric, rust earthiness coupled with an assortment of fruits – dates, fresh gs and prosciutto/melon. Rounded, with minimal oak impact - as expected. Texture? Within the context of tannins/acidity/extract - ‘slippery’ rather than blocky, grippy.

Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2015

Peak Drinking: 2018 - 2030

Maturation: 16 months in French oak (18% new, 18% 1-y.o.) and American oak hogsheads and puncheons (25% new, 39% 1-y.o.)

Region: Marananga, Barossa Valley

Colour: Deep, bright magenta; black core

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0 %
Cabernet
100 %
Shiraz
0 %
Mataro
2015 ... Barossa, Marananga, Penfolds - Bin 150. No longer anonymous. Still rare.
Peter Gago Penfolds

Nose: Firstly, a burst of curry and Indian spices ... and caraway, cardamom, celeriac. Then: The sweet - rich, coffee-grind, mocha, chocolate-cake, a brioche egginess; fresh sweet oak. The savoury - roasted fat, crackling, rendered beef jus. The subliminal - almost a virtual dust cloud of sprinkled ‘icing sugar’ hovering above..

Palate: Lifted, fresh. Avec acuity, focus. Unabashed regional flavours of blackberry/raspberry/juniper coalesce with those of a more-than-likely choco/oak derivation. A formic/V.A. ‘pulse’ combines with powdery tannins... massaged by lively acidity. A potent structural/ textural statement indeed! At time of tasting/writing, the blend’s French oak maturation contribution appears more obvious than that from America. Waiting...