Penfolds: Peerless Australians

Penfolds: Peerless Australians

I am a fairly recent convert to the delights of Penfolds. The revelation was instigated with a bottle of the Sangiovese Cellar Reserve 2008 that was given to me as a present. I am normally a little sceptical about wines from Italian grape varieties grown outside of their homeland, but this wine converted me within moments of the first sip. This is not a copy of Montalcino, nor Chianti, but a wine with entirely its own character: the sour cherry notes of Sangiovese and the burly, flamoboyant character of the Barossa Valley.This led me to investigate their vast range of wines further.

Their flagship wine, Grange, needs no introduction from me, but digging a little deeper into their range I found some wines, that were absolute must buys. First of all, said mentioned Sangiovese, but almost as exciting is their newish, retro-designed Koonunga Hil Seventy Six, named in honour of the vintage from which the wine of this great vineyard was first released. However, it’s not just the packaging: this has an augmentation in quality over the regular Koonunga Hill. The nose and palate are like fireworks: no subtlety here, but the concentration and polish is quite remarkable for its price. I thoroughly recommend this wine to you. Having very recently tasted a 2010 version of this I can vouch, also, for its ageability.

Elsewhere, the other standout wines for me, are the Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz and Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz which is one of the few single-vineyard wines that they make. However, to get a taste of how high these wines can go in quality, take a look at St Henri Shiraz, which for me is the closest in style to Grange for its flamboyance and aromatic lift.

Richard Ballantyne MW

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  1. Penfolds 2016 Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling
    Penfolds' KH Riesling is sourced from the Eden Valley, one Australia's premum sites for this variety. Cool and fresh... Learn More
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