The 2021 Penfolds Collection Awaits…
On sale August 5th
2021 Bin 51
11%, stainless steel ferment. A brilliant year; Kym Schroeter believes this is the best Eden Valley riesling vintage since 2002, or 2005.
Lime, coriander, early season nashi pear and ginger root on the nose. This has Thai basil and green apple to boot. On the palate the acidity is fine and lacy, interwoven into the fruit from woe to go. The phenolics are chalky and super fine, creating shape and line through the middle palate and into the long finish. Lovely, saline, fresh…. Nice tension between acid/fruit and phenolics.
2020 Bin 311
Tasmania, Piccadilly, Henty. 8 months in French oak barriques (41% new).
Salted and grilled white peach, red apple skins and toasted cashews and brine. The palate is taut and minerally; the fruit is voluminous but controlled, with plenty of chalky phenolics to shape the wine. The previous release was touted as one of the greatest in the history of this wine. This is more restrained and finer than the 19, and for it, I believe slightly superior. A very smart chardonnay with line and length.
2020 Reserve Bin A
Adelaide Hills, 8 months in French oak barriques (86% new, 14% 1YO).
Conditions were warm, there was fires, COVID… 2020 was a tough one. Powerful, complex, and still very restrained at this stage. The layers need the length of flavour to start to reveal themselves; this shows a layered amalgam of savoury stone fruit, hints of summer fig, white peach, early season nectarine, and riding a saline wave of acid on a platform of phenolics. Curry leaf reveals itself both aromatically and on the palate, which leads to flavours of Greek yoghurt and dried market spice. An interesting iteration of this wine… an intellectual release I’d say. It grips you and demands time and attention…
Tasmania, Tumbarumba, Adelaide Hills. 8 months in French oak barriques (55% new).
Mineral, slinky, powerful, saline… this is pretty fricken phenom. All the grilled peach, curry leaf, brine, coriander root, ginger, poached pear, red apple skin and a feast of crushed, toasted, shaved nuts. This is an astounding release, and as compared to its forebearer, this shows restraint and form…. It’s a little more austere, a little more structured, and a little less immediately welcoming, but I like it for that. Yew.
2020 Bin 23
Pinot noir. Tasmania, Henty, Adelaide Hills. 7 months in French oak barriques (24% new). 20% wholebunch.
Very very pretty aromatics, rosewater, strawberry, green olive, summer raspberry, a hint of kirsch, some orange peel and a lick of liquorice/aniseed/fennel flower. The palate is silky and pretty, the length of flavour pulls the characters from the nose over the tongue and through into the finish. Juicy, bouncy, almost silky and a hint of stem. Like it. More ‘pinot’ than ‘Penfolds’, which is interesting coming from a house with such a strong red style.
2019 Bin 138
70% shiraz, 17% grenache, 13% Mataro. Matured in a combination of American (20%) and French (80%) oak hogsheads. Barossa Valley.
Dry and warm year. Savoury, structured and shapely. This is a seriously broody iteration of the 138, showing the dark side of Barossa Valley. This is an exciting and surprisingly impactful wine, with layers of flavour, nuance and intensity. What more to say? It is long, dense, dark and muscular. Impressive.
2019 Bin 128
Coonawarra Shiraz. 12 months in French oak hogsheads (24% new).
Creamy, soft, plush and somehow full. This carries all the mineral/graphite elegance of the region, but it also has an SA cuddliness about it. Classic, with hints of shaved nutmeg, aniseed and liquorice. Very pretty.
2019 Bin 28
Shiraz. McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully. 12 months in seasoned American oak hogsheads.
The oak sits astride the fruit here; this is dark, dense, broody and hugely full bodied… I feel bigger and more muscular than in years past, the oak leaving a trail of spice and warmth in its wake. Aromatically it is fresher and brighter and lighter than it is on the palate… but then again, the palate does have a particular warmth and approachability about it too. Very impressive, very big. The tannins in check but the almost sinewy muscles busting out.
2019 Bin 150
Marananga shiraz. 12 months in American oak (32% new, 29% 1YO) and French oak (9% new, 30% 1YO).
In 2019, from May – April, Marananga was 45% below average rainfall. I mean, if you need a signpost/posterboy for the warm, red dirt area that is Marananga, look no further. This has plush yet intense fruit, dusty, firm tannins that are both muscular and reminiscent of the clang of a blacksmiths yard, and line… there is liquorice, aniseed and raspberry, interwoven with blackberry, strawberry and red licorice. This is beautiful. Truly. An absolute beauty.
2019 Bin 407
Padthaway, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley. 12 months in French oak (27% new) and American oak hogsheads (8% new).
Very big, dense, ripe fruit and tannins, this is almost old school these days… and I am not sure if it is better for it. Liquorice, cassis and blackberry, really long length of flavour the great determiner of quality, at the end of the day. Very stocky today, will perhaps thin down in time?
2019 Bin 389
53% cabernet sauvignon, 47% shiraz. Padthaway, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Barossa Valley. 12 months in American oak hogsheads (25% new).
Matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. Structure from the cabernet and the richness of the shiraz. The quintessential Australian blend. Bay leaf, sage, cassis, blackberry. This is tannic, dense and full on… but it shows a potential for graceful ageing that stands above all that it has to offer on the fruit front. Very full on today, but this is a cracker. Buy it put it down… this is fierce. But it is also brilliant. A commanding release.
2018 St Henri
Shiraz from Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Port Lincoln, Robe, Padthaway, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills. Matured for 12 months in 50yo vats.
Elegant, classy, modern, plump… yes yes and yes. I always love this wine, and this perfectly al dente vintage is the perfect lens through which to view this glorious wine. Restraint, length of flavour and spice. Red liquorice, David Austin roses (there’s a tautness here… rose prick), Sarawak pepper, Szechuan, pomegranate… I could go on… suffice to say. This is a sexy little number…. Gorgeous.
2019 Magill Estate
Shiraz, 18 months in French oak (26% new) and American oak (6% new).
Supple, slinky, intense, concentrated, pretty, restrained… jeez this is lovely. So lovely. It has body and line that carries long into the finish, but the face of things is perpetuated by a seductiveness that just makes it so, damn, beautiful. Not a beast. Beguiling. Dark cocoa, liquorice, raspberry, blackberry, kirsch and Szechuan.
2019 RWT Bin 798
Shiraz, Barossa Valley. 18 months in French oak hogsheads (57% new).
Very closed aromatically, the note in the book says, “Arising unabashed: a floral fragrance (marigold?)”. I love the sentiment here. However, the nose presents mainly resinous oak and black fruit. The palate follows suit, this is a completely different style of shiraz to say the Bin 150, or the St Henri/Magill wines. This is big, round, soft, voluminous and concentrated. There are no edges, rounded tannic form and a lingering length of flavour. Quite a beast. Almost idiosyncratic. Powerful, concentrated. Verging on OTT.
2019 Bin 707
Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Barossa valley, Padthaway. 18 months in American oak hogsheads (100% new).
There is no doubt at all that the fruit has the power to withstand the barrage of oak, however one does wonder whether this has been slightly overdone. The enduring memory on the palate has been written by OAK. I can understand why one would buy and cellar this, but it lacks a certain amount of restraint for my palate. Its inherent ‘cabernosity’ is obscured by the oak at this stage. Length of flavour exceptional. Billowing.
100% shiraz this year – previously this occurred in 1951, 1952, 1963, 1999, 2000, 2011, 2017. Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale. 18 months in American oak hogsheads (100% new).
This 2021 release marks the 70th anniversary of Grange. Dense, dark, supple and quite beautiful this year. The oak is a major player, of course, but the bounty of red fruits on the palates sings in a louder voice than that of the dark, resinous and frankly charry baritone oak. It is hard not to make comparisons between this and a universe of stars… such is the kaleidoscopic thrust and pull of the galaxy of flavours on the palate. Forest berries, butcher’s meats, exotic market spices, peppercorns from the bush, all of it swirling within a midnight vortex of tannin and shape. Extraordinarily beautiful, perhaps more beguiling than the 2016 simply by virtue of its unexpected delicacy on the palate. I love this release. What a beauty.
2018 802-A Superblend
“The first time anywhere on Planet Earth these wines have been tried.” – Peter Gago
68% cabernet sauvignon, 32% shiraz.
Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Robe, Clare Valley. 22 months in American oak hogsheads (100% new). 1400 cases (9LE).
Savoury and not as intense or concentrated as the big bois in the rest of the collection this year. Kind of supple actually…. The tannins are wild and bordering on woolly… loose knit, seductive etc.
Available August 5th in two size formats, 750ml and 1.5L (RRP $2,250). In November 2021, 802.A will be available alongside a limited-edition decanter.
2018 802-B Superblend
55% cabernet sauvignon, 45% shiraz.
Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Robe, Clare. 19 months in French oak (54% new, 46% 1YO). 5000 cases (9LE).
The tannins here are tighter, and finer, and it is a far more exciting wine. Elegant and taut, this is very long, lingering and quite titillating. Impressive.
Available August 2022.
These will both be ongoing projects, priced underneath Grange.
View from my tasting table, out over the rolling landscape. Look familiar? We are sitting in the newly renovated (and extended) McLeod’s Daughters homestead.
On the bus on the way out to the homestead.
And here they are – the 2021 Australia Collection.