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Thursday 21 July 2022

New Penfolds Grange hits $1000 a bottle mark

The soon-to-be released 2018 Penfolds Grange has hit the $1000 mark for a bottle for the first time - and fortunately the wine is a ripper.

I've dubbed it the Bruce Springsteen of wines; and scored it 99 points. Intense and stylish, it is rock 'n' roll in a glass.

Powerful but nuanced, it is more Thunder Road than Born in the USA, if you get my drift.    

"A well-dressed Grange...classy rock star! Or ‘a modern, classic Grange...sleek and finessed, with a punch!’ You choose," says Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago.

More notes and background when the wine- and its stablemates - get released. Of course, the price makes it a wine only for those with bulging wallets. 

The new Grange will hit the market on August 4 - and for once had to share the limelight at the annual Penfolds Collection tasting with the news that the annual Collection release will comprise three country of origin portfolios: Australian, Californian and the inaugural French release.

Gago says the wines all showcase the Penfolds ‘House Style’ in a global context.

Penfolds' ambition to make wine outside of Australia started decades ago and the portfolio now includes winemaking using fruit from across Australia (from South Australia to Tasmania), Champagne, the Napa Valley, Paso Robles in California and now Bordeaux in France.

Penfolds II is a partnership with French winemaking House Dourthe; a collaboration between Gago and Dourthe chief winemaker Frédéric Bonnaffous, that features a blend of grapes from Bordeaux (71%) and South Australia (29%).

The name “Penfolds II” represents two winemakers coming together.

Made from the 2019 vintage using cabernet, shiraz and merlot, the final wine was blended and bottled in South Australia by Penfolds winemakers. A weird concept that pushes the envelope.  

“This is the start of our French winemaking journey," says Gago. "Our main objective? To remain true to the winemaking ethos of both wineries, to deliver the best blend possible, to ideally make Bordeaux and South Australia proud.

"This wine is not about bigness or boldness or assertion. It is blended to convey an ethereal lightness, subtlety on the palate - sensitively binding two hemispheres, Old World and New.”

Also to be released in August is the 2019 Penfolds FWT 585, a French trial bin wine made of Bordeaux cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot.

The wine was made at Cambon la Pelouse Winery with Penfolds senior winemaker Emma Wood the guiding light.

Following the inaugural release of Penfolds Californian wines in 2021, the next generation will be part of the 2022 Collection. This year’s release features the 2019 Bin 149 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bin 704 Cabernet Sauvignon and Bin 600 Cabernet Shiraz.

Penfolds managing director Tom King said: “Penfolds is building a global ambition not just on paper but with our feet in vineyards across two hemispheres.

"We are focused on making Penfolds wines from the best winemaking regions globally. We started this journey with our partnership with Champagne (Thienot), then brought to life a 20-year endeavour with the California wine release, and now, we proudly introduce a partnership with leading a Bordeaux winery and reveal our own 2019 Trial Bin wine in France.”

This year’s Collection will be celebrated with a series of events globally, titled ‘Venture Beyond by Penfolds’.

The Penfolds Collection 2022 includes the following French wines: 2019 Penfolds II Cabernet Shiraz Merlot. $500; 2019 FWT 585 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot $120.00.

The Australian line-up is: 2018 Grange $1000.00, 2020 Yattarna Chardonnay $175.00, 2020 RWT Bin 798 Barossa Valley Shiraz $200.00, 2019 Bin 169 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon $300.00, 2020 Magill Estate Shiraz $150.00, 2019 St Henri Shiraz $135.00, 2021 Reserve Bin A Adelaide Hills Chardonnay $125.00, 2020 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz $100.00, 2020 Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon $120.00, 2020 Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz $100.00, 2020 Bin 28 Shiraz $50.00, 2020 Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz $60.00, 2020 Bin 138 Barossa Valley Shiraz Grenache Mataro $60.00, 2021 Bin 23 Pinot Noir $50.00, 2021 Bin 311 Chardonnay $50.00, 2022 Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling $40.00.

The Californian range is: 2019 Bin 149 Cabernet Sauvignon $225.00, 2019 Bin 704 Cabernet Sauvignon $120.00, 2019 Bin 600 Cabernet Shiraz $90.00.

A whole lot more o talk about on August 4. 

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