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Thursday 8 August 2019

All you need to know about the new Penfolds releases

They cover five vintages, range in price from $40-$900 and will be available for purchase from today.

Meet the Penfolds Collection Release, a group of wines headed by the much-awaited release of the Penfolds 2015 Grange.

A few weeks back most of Australia's leading wine writers were offered the chance to taste the new releases; on condition we kept to an August 8 global embargo for our tasting notes. 

Only now am I allowed to reveal the new Grange will cost $900 a bottle - and that the 2016 St Henri is the standout buy. 

The wines all have quite a history behind them. Founder Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold first planted grapes at Magill in South Australia in 1844 and the wines have always showcased multi-regional blending, multi-varietal blending and multi-vineyard. 

Grange dates back to 1951and the collection features a line-up of familiar names including Yattarna, St Henri and Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz. 

Chief winemaker Peter Gago said: “All Penfolds winemakers employ a personal responsibility and great pride in the wines they make. As a team the group is committed to making wines that are complex, with a definitive and distinctive Penfolds character. Each displays an individual style, a style that is the result of years skillful blending and access to the best possible fruit, oak and time….”

 As part of  Penfolds' 175th year celebrations, Gago also acknowledged those dedicated beyond the immediate wine-making team who are inextricably involved in the Penfolds story. "Without their contribution and care, these beautiful wines would not be so profound. For instance, independent growers have been supplying Penfolds with grapes for over a century, with some relationship with growers extending several generations."

These are my six standouts from the wines released today: 

Penfolds 2015 Grange: It may now only be a wine for special occasions or collectors but Grange remains a benchmark. This vintage has chocolate and mocha characters front and centre, along with white pepper and Christmas cake notes and beautifully integrated French oak. A beautifully constructed blend of fruit from the Barossa, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Magill. $900. 
98 points.   
                                                                                                                                                                  Penfolds 2016 St Henri:  This is the one bottle in the collection that every wine lover should make sure to grab a taste of. Soft but intense, this multi-regional blend is 95% shiraz and 5% cabernet and is matured in 50-year-old large oak vats. This is a wine that attracted huge interest among buyers in the US, so lovers of its seamless fruit-driven and spicy style should move quickly. Brilliant! $135. 
98 points

Penfolds 2017 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz: 
Seriously delicious; the classic blend of Australia's two favourite red wine grapes in all their glory. You'll find long dark, inky fruit notes and well integrated American oak in a wine of beauty, even in its youth. A blend of fruit from McLaren Vale, the Barossa, Padthaway and Wrattonbully. Complex but accessible. $100. 97.5 points. 

Penfolds 2017 Magill Estate Shiraz: Rich and rounded but with lovely balance, this is the complete package for lovers of bigger style Australian reds. With 100% shiraz from the Magill vineyard in suburban Adelaide, this has spent 17 months in French and American oak and is a wine of poise and style with mineral notes and bright acidity. Just lovely. $150. 97 points.                                       

Penfolds 2017 Yattarna Chardonnay: Fragrant and elegant, this is a perfect example of high-quality cool-climate chardonnay, utilising fruit from Tasmania, Tumbarumba and the Adelaide Hills. Svelte like a supermodel this sees French oak playing a support role to glossy fruit that boasts terrific length. One of the finest Yattarna releases. $175. 96 points. 

Penfolds 2019 Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling: Floral with a soft, rounded palate and a little less obvious acid, this is old-fashioned but lovely with apricot and citrus aromas leading on to a fuller palate where you'll find citrus, hints of Asian spices and some tropical fruit notes. Made from 100% Eden Valley fruit, unoaked as always, this one for immediate enjoyment and very much the product of a warmer year. $40. 95 points.  

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