Penfolds Collection 2018

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Vintage Cellars
October 17, 2018
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The Place to Discover Penfolds


Penfolds 2018 Collection

Grange 2014

Peak Drinking: 2020 – 2045
Maturation: 20 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads
Region: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Wrattonbully, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, Magill Estate
Colour: Deep plush garnet throughout – from core to rim
Grange 2014
Nose: An indulged aromatic meander:
• First in the kitchen – umami expressed primarily via wafts of shiitake mushroom stock, hoisin and XO sauce … enhancing scents of dry-aged beef and game meats.
• Then outside – olive-leaf, cardamom, sage and thyme … “a stroll through a South Australian olive grove” … saltbush, acacia, dried and dusty bracken.
• To the cellar – fresh and familial lifted formic and barrel-ferment nuances. Followed by a return to reality. Quite simply, an unmistakable youthful ‘Grange’ nose. Awakened primary fruits and stylish oak interlocked and indistinguishable. As expected.

Palate: Savoury, not fruity. Tastes/flavours remind of slow cooked beef ragout, chicken liver game terrine. Red liquorice also apparent. Integrated oak – spicy, almost ‘non-American’ oak … but it is. As it always is. A core of 100% new Quercus alba. Poised yet powerful. A balanced, tightly-knit and woven structural ‘tapestry’. Not to be constrained by dimension or frame. Tannins with attitude! Nonetheless respectful. Type? Slatey tannins … alluvial, silty (certainly not muddy!). Long and lingering – tactile impressions indistinguishably and slowly fuse/merge into an aftertaste memory. Until the next sip!

A Grange to create new friends – this 2014 offering a subtly different structural mosaic; different tone and timbre.


St Henri Shiraz 2015

Peak Drinking: 2020 – 2045
Maturation: 12 months in 50+ y.o. large oak vats
Region: McLaren Vale, Robe, The Peninsulas, Barossa Valley, Wrattonbully, Adelaide Hills, Mt Benson
Colour: Deep magenta, foreboding core
St Henri 2015
Nose: Instantly recognisable. First impression – Penfolds. Second – St Henri. Wafts ascend akin to roasted meats – seared crust of venison, game meats. Then a sprinkling of crushed kola nut, star anise, black liquorice, quince paste. A further swirl or two unleashes more familial St Henri markers of dark chocolate ganache and a biscotti nuttiness.

Palate: Complete, no gaps – spills across the palate avec a coating of fine (emery paper) polished tannins – inducing a ‘St Henri silkiness’. An assertive wedge of fruit – dark berried – boysenberry, loganberry, and blackberry – á la ‘Fruits of the Forest’. Yet, there’s much more – certainly not only appealing fruit, friendly tannins and balance. Add: luminosity, buoyancy, vibrancy, harmony … quite the package!

Needs some time in bottle to unfurl, complex … ever so youthful, yet dangerously accessible. Patience.


Reserve Bin A Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2017

Peak Drinking: Now – 2028
Maturation: Eight months in French oak (40% new)
Region: Adelaide Hills
Colour: Vibrant light straw with lime green hues
Reserve A Chardonnay
Nose: Archetypical Adelaide Hills – ostensibly white stone fruits peach and nectarine. Sensitive batonnage of yeast lees has coaxed out a complexing nuttiness – assorted cashew, almond and Brazil nut with an ever so slight trace of nutmeg. Latent wafts of sulphide/struck match (almost) bring closure … until a beguiling mortar and pestle, (brine) ground oyster shell scent tip toes across the finish line.

Palate: Unravels in the glass to reveal an enthralling and multi-dimensional package – line, depth, weight …!
A ‘big’ wine, certainly not shy in character! Big? Voluminous, yet controlled – restraint/precision wrestling with energy/tension. No losers. Hints of citrus and nashi pear with the reported 40% of new oak totally absorbed, barely noticeable. Checked? Yes, 40% new!

Impressively well-integrated and complex!


Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2016

Peak Drinking: 2020 – 2046
Maturation: 12 months in American oak hogsheads (37% new)
Region: Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Wrattonbully
Colour: Bright garnet
Bin 389
Nose: An immediate ascent of scent – no need to wait or to vigorously swirl this wine to tease out ‘what lies beneath’! Dark berry fruits consistent to both varietal persuasions, (cabernet and shiraz), overtly courted by elements of ponzu, soy, sesame and dried shiitake mushroom. Senses are easily conveyed to a forest after rain – wet bracken, liberated mulch, damp soils. Naturally (new and used) oak plays a (minor) role in this fanciful aromatic romp.

Palate: Flavours and textures akin to marbled Kobe beef and an earthy accompaniment of black liquorice root and anise. Structurally bold with little protruding – integrated, fine … and has comfortably already “settled into place”. ‘Appetising’ acidity – a non-intrusive and refreshing granita-like bite/attaque. Assam tea maltiness and tannins merge with impressions of wet slate, pencil lead/graphite … no doubt somehow linked to earlier partial barrel fermentation and oak maturation. Needs time, as per most Bin 389’s at release. Perhaps a little longer for this vintage? Our recommendation – your choice.


Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Peak Drinking: 2020 – 2032
Maturation: 12 months in French oak (25% new) and American oak hogshead (9% new)
Region: Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Wrattonbully, Padthaway
Colour: Deep and prominent – solid red
Bin 407
Nose: Where to start? So immediately true to variety. Punchy, not shy.
Beneath: Subtle forest floor earthiness, laced with liquorice, fennel and anise with a sceric of non-aggressive fresh spearmint.
Above: Sugar pastille wafts – somewhat reminiscent of the fruit bon bons of youth …more prescriptively/realistically – blackcurrant jelly bean.
In between: Summer pudding fruit generosity – suggestive of a cherry clafoutis? Or maybe a fleshy red cherry trifle, avec sponge cake? Yes please.
Absorbed: Stylish/coiffured oak … want to say classy, but might sound pretentious? Next time.

Palate: Bountiful red cabernet fruits complexed by cut tobacco (pouch) and darkened spices. Seamless, with a tightness/tension between acidity and tannins. These tannins are ripe and friendly – currently perceived as fruit, not oak tannins. Oak – quite possibly partially contributing to the sweetness apparent on palate? Flavour and length. Lingers.


Kalimna® Bin 28 Shiraz 2016

Peak Drinking: 2022 – 2034
Maturation: 12 months in seasoned American oak hogshead
Region: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Upper Adelaide, Wrattonbully
Colour: Vibrant, dense plum red, red edges
Kalimna Bin 28
Nose: A black Kalamata olive tapenade as a first impression, beneath an overlay of camphor and tobacco.
How to say this politely? Boot polish, bitumen, cola, granite … darkened style/varietal base notes. Yet blackberry conserve and sour cherry fill the (fruity) treble register. Scents of cut straw/steel cut oats fill any aromatic chord gaps.

Palate: Framboise des bois (raspberry) with pips/vinegar – coulis or apothecary? Meat? Closest association noted – raw/rare venison. Not to deny the welcomed presence of chocolate torte and mocha flavours. A “cloaked” continuum of tannins that linger and reverberate with the discipline of a vinous pendulum. Finishes intact with a flourish of dusty graphite (input of oak?) and balanced acidity.


Bin 311 Chardonnay 2017

Peak Drinking: Now – 2025
Maturation: Eight months in French oak (25% new)
Region: Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Tumbarumba
Colour: Light straw
Bin 311 Chardonnay
Nose: Fresh and inviting – complexed by yeast lees-derived nougat and ground pistachio/almond/roasted chestnut. Scents of deconstructed crème brûlée ‘(flamed top and custardy middle), enhanced by ripe white nectarine and peach fruits. A liberal sprinkle of crushed rock/pebble dust (quartz, limestone?) certainly adds interest.

Palate: A very lively palate of freshly sliced cucumber and lime citrus flavours hovering over a soft and succulent acid underpinning. A tight phenolic grip induces wonderful length and drive to the finish. A cool climate regional trio – three different chardonnay expressions of texture/acidity/tightness/purity coalesce, propelling combined fruits/flavours. A ‘new Bin 311’ is revealed. Nice.


Bin 8 Shiraz Cabernet

Peak Drinking: Now - 2027
Maturation: 10 months in French and American oak hogsheads
Region: Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully
Colour: Lustrous garnet
Bin 8
Nose: Delightfully lifted aromatics with exotic Chinese five spice, savoury road meat, herbal dried rosemary. Bright bramble fruits add depth and complexity.

Palate: Dark cherry and forest cake fruit. Appetising moreish acidity with textbook firm graphite Cabernet tannins supporting the opulent shiraz. A mocha generosity from oak supports the palate.


RWT Bin 798 Barossa Valley Shiraz 2016

Peak Drinking: 2020 – 2040
Maturation: 12 months in French oak hogsheads (72% new)
Region: Barossa Valley
Colour: Deep magenta, purple on rim
RWT Barossa Shiraz 2016
Nose: Alluring, invoking. Sweet, aromatic, spicy (cardamom, cinnamon, lavender) … can aromas of butter chicken be mentioned in this context, in a tasting note?! Ascent of tangelo/blood orange spikes – propelling a chinotto/citrus lift. Dusty white chocolate, cocoa butter, and Italian temptations – panna cotta, zabaglione … and what can only be an illusion of tiramisu! Oak – bound to be lurking there somewhere! Camouflaged? Decant more aggressively to reveal?

Palate: Conceded. It is: glossy, flamboyant, ostentatious. Is not: over-ripe, alcoholic, extracted. Thereby hits the stylistic Barossa/shiraz bulls-eye … with a little help from fastidiously selected French oak. This oak tightens/focuses/encapsulates. Simultaneously structurally tackled by embracing, ripe tannins. This fruit is then surely shrouded, submissive? Never. Archetypal blueberry bavarois and blackberry fruits brazenly strut across the palate. Dense, bountiful, and was there mention of lengthhhhhhhh …?!