Sophie McLean handpicked the top 12 wines from The Penfolds Collection
Dubbed ‘the best Grange yet’ this wine just keeps on giving. Unmistakable in its rich and sweet dark-fruit laced flavours that pack a punch, this also shows off a vegemite yeastiness, green-olives and sea-spray on the nose. Tannins touch the roof of your mouth with a lifted elegance but it’s the unabashedly ripe stewed fruit that gives this wine its iconic, powerful kick. Give it a little more time in the cellar and she’ll really show you what she’s made of. A length that is never-ending. This wine is simply WOW. It’s made with 96% Shiraz, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon coming from the Barossa and Claire Valleys, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and the Penfolds iconic Magill Estate.
£444.60 Hedonism Wines
Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
My favourite overall wine of the evening by far. This wine is only made in the best years. There is no 2011, and Peter Gago himself has told the 2010 to ‘watch out’. This wine has a beautiful nose of classic cabernet aromas, some liquorice and deep dark cherries and cassis. Some of the fruit that goes into this wine comes from 130 year old vines – those blessed with solid fruit-producing experience, and also ‘Block 42’ one of Penfold’s most famous vineyard sites. Through the glass shines gorgeous deep purple hues that reveal sweet soy and affogato coffee dipped in 100% new American oak. It is full bodied, mouth filling and complex in flavour and structure with high saliva-inducing acidity that will make you want to reach for more and more…and more. Blackcurrants abound, lush fruits and chocolate leap in layers from the glass to coat your mouth. It is beautifully ripe with a gorgeous spice and really just incredible – especially given its youth.
RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012
This RWT is a personal favourite Penfolds style of mine. This wine is fast and furious that in Gago’s terminology he calls “A Formula One. Dynamic – sleek powerful, not yet pretty. Demands cellaring” and “reminiscent of the 1998 RWT at release.” This comes from a single area – the Barossa Valley and is made aged in French oak. RWT means ‘Red Winemaking Trial’ after its first experimental production in 1995. Opulent and fleshy, it has firm grippy tannins and a soft, smooth, well-rounded flavour, full of spice and delicious fruit. From a cooler year that lends itself to elegance. Beautiful.
£124.60 Hedonism Wines
Magill Estate Shiraz 2012
Bramble fruits abound in this embodiment of Magill Estate fruit. It shows high acidity, red and black fruits and is medium bodied with elegant, restrained, fine, still tight tannins that show the wine as still very young but with some great potential for ageing. Velvety and bright, there’s wild raspberry, stewed rhubarb and red nectarine that finishes with evidence of the oak and accompanying cloves, cardamom spice and brown sugar.
£103.17 Hedonism Wines
Reserve Bin A Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2013
“Niche found!” Says Peter. This pretty pale coloured white wine has a toasty, smoky cool and collected nose with nice weight, texture and mouthfeel. It is dry and definitely not over-oaked, quite linear with a fresh acidity. The official notes says there is a lemon sherbet zestiness to this on the palate which I agree with, as well as white peach, cashew nuts and gun smoke – the strike of a match perhaps. Lovely.
Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2012
Known as the ‘baby Grange’ this bin has also become something of a collector’s item in recent years. It is matured in the same oak as the Grange from the previous vintage. It is smooth, ripe, medium bodied replete with cabernet fruits, a little marzipan and with a slightly savoury finish.
£50 fraziers wine
Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2012
“A Bin still unknown to many… acquire before the word gets out.” This is soft and supple with nice fruit and balance of flavours. It is quite young with cracked black pepper on the end. Marananga is in the middle of the Barossa, hotter than the other areas and one of a few single region wines. It was first made in 2008 to enhance the portfolio and they’ve made one every year since. Although bottled with a screw cap now, it will be returning to cork from the next vintage. Blue fruits, violets and ‘terrine’ is evident with fine, grippy tannins and minimal oak.
£38.46 Lay and Wheeler
Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Lighter than most, this has medium grippy tannins with more fruit. From five different regions in the Barossa, this is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, with green olive, a leafy pine-y nose and buckets of cassis. As the official notes go, it is ‘Solid, generous’ with a ‘sweet middle-palate and softened, integrated tannins.’
Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz 2012
“The Complete Package”. One of Penfolds entry level wines this has a little chocolate on the nose, lacing the rest of the red fruits that grab your nasal attention. The palate has soft supportive tannins, almost ‘mousse-like’. Berries, and spice. This is very pleasant and will keep for years.
£22.50 Berry Brothers and Rudd
Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling 2014
I have a soft spot for Eden Valley Rieslings – a cool climate dry style of wine made from high altitude grapes. They were my weekly treat on single days off when working vintage in Australia in 2013. This one is no less satisfying. Very fresh on the palate it has an attack of citrus, with vibrant, zesty lime curd and sorbet that mould into a long finish. Very good.
£23.50 Berry Brothers and Rudd
For more information visit penfolds.com
Sophie McLean has three loves in life, wine, travel and writing. On Eat Travel Live she combines all three. You can read more of her work here: champagneonthebrain.com and find out what she’s recently been sipping here whatsophiesipped.tumblr.com