Penfolds was founded by a young English doctor who migrated to one of his country's most distant colonies over a century and a half ago. Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold was born in 1811, the youngest of 11 children. He studied medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, graduating in 1838.
In 1844 Dr Penfold and his wife Mary purchased the Mackgill estate, “comprising 500 acres of the choicest land.” By all accounts it was Mary Penfold who was responsible for the management and early winemaking responsibilities of the fledgling wine estate. Initially the wines - made from grenache – were prescribed as tonic wines for anaemic patients and the famous Penfolds slogan ‘1844 to evermore’ harks back to its origins as a prescribed tonic.
Making The Best Possible Wine
At Penfolds, the role of the winemaker is to make the best possible wine within the constraints of each vintage. Penfolds’ house style emerged from a fortified-wine producing culture and evolved as a winemaking philosophy – a way of making wine – which has had a profound effect on the entire Australian wine industry.
The concept of multi-regional and vineyard blending, a feature of the Penfolds house style, is an amplification of the ‘all-round wine’. Without the constraints of a single vineyard, winemakers could choose the best possible fruit with the outstanding characteristics of each vineyard.
While American oak has played a central role in the development of Penfolds red wines, French oak has been increasingly used in the evolution of new wines – particularly RWT and Yattarna. Maturation in oak, which follows fermentation, is also key to the Penfolds house style.
The Penfolds approach to winemaking has percolated through the entire Australian wine industry over the last 50 years. The techniques employed in research and development of Penfolds wines are remarkable and many of the discoveries and innovations have had a lasting impact on winemaking thinking.
2008 GRANGE - $850
An Australian icon - Grange is considered one of the world's finest red wines.
Grange is arguably Australia’s most celebrated wine and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Grange boasts an unbroken line of vintages from the experimental 1951 and clearly demonstrates the synergy between Shiraz and the soils and climates of South Australia. Penfolds Grange utilises fully-ripe, intensely-flavoured and textured Shiraz grapes. The result is a unique Australian style that is now recognised as one of the most consistent of the world’s great wines. The Grange style is the original and most powerful expression of Penfolds multi-vineyard, multi-district, blending philosophy
GRAPE VARIETY - 98% Shiraz, 2% Cabernet.
MATURATION - Matured for 19 months in new American oak hogsheads.
WINE ANALYSIS - Alc/Vol: 14.5%, Acidity: 7.0g/L, pH: 3.48.
LAST TASTED - January 2013.
PEAK DRINKING - 2016 – 2056.
FOOD MATCH -Plum pudding pork rack, swede, quandong and desert raisin.
Grange is arguably Australia's most famous wine and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Grange boasts an unbroken line of vintages from the experimental 1951 and clearly demonstrates the synergy between Shiraz and the soils and climates of South Australia.
Penfolds Grange displays fully ripe, intensely flavoured and textured Shiraz grapes. The result is a unique Australian style that is now recognised as one of the most consistent of the world's great wines. The Grange style is the original and most powerful expression of Penfolds multi-vineyard, multi-district blending philosophy.
From humble beginnings in the 1950s, Grange has maintained its place as Australia's most prestigious red wine over five decades. Today, it is a wine of international renown, with each vintage eagerly awaited by collectors both in Australia and overseas.
Penfolds Grange is a wine of extraordinary dimension and power. Richly textured, intensely concentrated and packed with fruit sweetness, these wines, regardless of vintage, require medium to long-term cellaring. They develop into immensely complex, beguiling wines that seduce the senses.
An Australian icon, Grange represents a tradition in winemaking that is totally uncompromising. Grange has bypassed the fads and trends of modern winemaking in the sense that it has maintained an integrity of style and remained true to its origins in the mind of Max Schubert. Penfolds Grange is the quality standard against which all other Australian red wines are judged. To share a mature Grange, 15 to 20 years old, in fine condition, is one of the great wine experiences.
100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Deep purple-black in color, the 2008 Grange puts forward a very complex nose packed with aromas of mulberries, layers of baking spices, cloves and cinnamon with nuances of minced meat, anise, potpourri and whiffs of dried mint and chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, taut and very spicy in the mouth, it shows touches of sandalwood and Chinese five spice complementing the layers of dark fruit flavors. It is framed by firm, grainy tannins and a refreshing acid line before finishing very long with aniseed and lingering blackberry preserves notes. This is clearly a wonderfully opulent and a magic vintage for this label. Drink it from 2018 to 2035+. (2/ 2013)
100 points Wine Spectator
An utterly majestic Shiraz, sleek and seamless, brimming with ripeness on a framework that allows for grace and expressiveness in equal measure. The intensity of fresh blueberry and plum fruit holds attention until the nuances kick in, offering glints of exotic spice, coffee, cocoa, bay leaf and mint. Shows tremendous presence without a lot of weight, the tannins present but not even close to getting in the way. A great wine now, with plenty of room to grow. Drink now through 2040 (6/ 2013)
98 points James Halliday
The wine contains 98/2% shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, and spent 19 months in new American oak hogsheads in which it finished its fermentation. Densely coloured, it has an ultra-complex bouquet, with black fruits/anise/licorice, easily dealing with the oak; a remarkable wine in every way. The balance, texture and structure are faultless, so much so that the wine achieves elegance now, many years before you would expect that quality to be commented on. (2/ 2013)
98 points Wine Enthusiast
**Cellar Selection** This has all the size and weight you’ve come to expect from Australia’s most famous wine. Huge fruit and huge oak combine in a full-bodied, richly textured package that delivers waves of toasted coconut, vanilla and intense dark berries yet remains embryonic more than five years after the harvest. That said, the texture isn’t quite as tight or as fine as some other vintages—expect this to be early maturing by Grange standards, and best from 2020–2040. (2/ 2014)
96 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(made from 98% shiraz and 2% cabernet sauvignon, from fruit grown in vineyards in the Barossa Valley, the Magill Estate Vineyard and the Clare Valley; raised in 100% new American oak): Inky purple. Intensely perfumed, expressive aromas of dark berry preserves, bitter chocolate, fruitcake and smoked meat, with a spicy topnote. Sweet, palate-staining blackberry, vanilla and dark chocolate flavors are sharpened and lifted by juicy acidity and show superb delineation and back-end power. Supple tannins come on late and give grip to a sweet, impressively persistent finish with grace notes of floral pastille and allspice. While this wine will no doubt age with ease, I find it almost shockingly approachable now. (7/ 2013)
Jancis Robinson - 19+/20 points.
98% Shiraz, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 19 months in new American hogsheads. 89% Barossa Valley, 9% Clare Valley, 2% Magill Estate. Really does have something different about the nose -- plums, redcurrants, beautiful supple tannins, so elegant yet powerful. Long finish with a potency to the structure that deserves long maturation. Not juicy, not fruit-cakey. Fabulous purity. Very special. (6/ 2013)
Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 - $75
Penfolds Bin 407 is crafted from grapes sourced from South Australia's best growing regions. This wine shows the classic Cabernet Sauvignon varietal characteristics of blackcurrant and choc-mint supported by subtly integrated oak and savory tannins. We invite you to explore the Penfolds range and discover a success story more than 165 years old.
"Deep ruby. Red- and blackcurrant aromas are complemented by notes of cocoa powder, pipe tobacco, vanilla and cracked pepper. Lush but lively, offering intense dark fruit flavors and suggestions of cola and mocha. Dusty tannins build with air and add grip to the long, penetrating finish. This wine should age slowly."
91 Points International Wine Cellar
"While packed with luscious black cherry fruit, this wine takes its time to reveal the clean lines of its structure. The tannins take on earthy detail with air, the fruit highlighting freshness. Decant it for thick-cut lamb chops."
91 Points Wine & Spirits
Penfolds Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz 2010 - $35
Classic Australian Shiraz brimming with plummy berried fruits, spices and ripe tannins. Benchmark Australian Shiraz!
"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2010 Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz presents lovely, expressive blueberry, black raspberry and black cherries notes highlighted by violets, toast, cinnamon stick and touch of mulberries. Full-bodied and rich, the concentrated fruit is framed by medium levels of rounded tannins, crisp acid and a long, classically-styled finish. Approachable now, it will drink to 2020+."
92 Points The Wine Advocate
"The balance in this wine impressed the panel: It's a shiraz with fine posture and tannic grace, the oak finessing a texture that's plump and luscious, the flavors emphasizing Christmas spices and fragrant red fruit. The wine's restraint sets it up to go the distance in the cellar. "
92 Points Wine & Spirits
"Firm in texture, with mildly gritty tannins around focused tobacco, basalt and black olive–accented blackberry flavors, persisting onto the translucent finish."
90 Points Wine Spectator
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet-Shiraz 2011 - $74
Dense deep red color. Complex and true to House Style… that of the 53 year-old stylistic template of Bin 389. No formula! Brimming with mocha/coffee ground aromatics, heightened by tar/bitumen "black" notes. Appealing char and creamy, vanillin oak detected ever-so-subtly in the background. Naturally, a flurry of fruits, spice and varietal markers abound. The palate, in a couple of words, voluminous and powerful. A sensory stratification of layers of taste – separated via time-of-detection and unravelling of flavors. At first, Christmas pudding with roasted nuts, then rare lamb and black olives, then sarsaparilla spice. Tannins awashed, oak absorbed, fruit awakened.
Penfolds `Bin 9` Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 - $24
A new Bin, a new Cabernet for Penfolds
Decades of investment in new vineyards across the best wine regions of South Australia afforded the Penfolds winemaking team the opportunity to craft a new wine, designated Bin 9. The first vintage was made at the Penfolds Nuriootpa winery in 2012. Adherent to Penfolds multi-regional philosophy, Bin 9 is sourced from vineyards across South Australia with a significant portion sourced from the ancient soils of McLaren Vale. Grapes were carefully selected on merit to suit this contemporary expression of Cabernet Sauvignon. Bin 9 can be enjoyed in the full flush of youth or cellared for the medium-term.
A hallmark of the Bin wines is their ability to gain something extra with the passage of time. Further bottle maturation of this Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon will yield layers of complexity that are for now hiding behind brooding youthful fruit and subtle oak.
Colour Good depth with a dark core and crimson edges
Aroma Dark fruits including blackcurrant. Savoury green olive and roasted red peppers. Tomato leaf and oregano. Mixed spice, cedar and rosewood notes derived from oak.
Palate Tightly structured and focused. Roasted meats, cured meats and spicy chorizo. Grainy and savoury tannin profile. Structured by classy French and American oak. Decanting will bring out more expressive notes.
Cellaring Now – 2025
Food Matching Rack of lamb with honeyed carrots and sesame seeds, Quail roasted with red grapes, Wood fired pizza.
2012 Penfolds "Bin 8" Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz - $26
92 points James Suckling
A newer wine that is composed of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon and 43% Shiraz, sourced from the Barossa Valley, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Langhorne Creek. The nose is quiet striking, there's a nicely crafted oak element layered into the mix, the Shiraz comes across flambouyant and chocolatey, the Cabernet adds leafy notes. There’s a little dark olive and plenty of dark fruit flavours on the palate, great depth and well-judged ripeness. This is succulent and rich, quite silky and even, showing plums and spice, deep red and purple fruit flavours, some gentle mocha oak and smooth, approachable layered tannins.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 90+
A blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon and 43% Shiraz, the deep garnet-purple colored 2012 Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz is a little closed on the nose, with pure blackcurrant and blackberry notes coming through along with some baking spices in the background. Medium-bodied with classic flavors, it is quite expressive in the mouth, with low to medium levels of grainy tannins carrying it through the long finish.
Penfolds Eden Valley Bin 51 Reserve Riesling 2009 - $21
Created as part of the evolving Penfolds white wine development program, Penfolds Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling captures the essence of the Eden Valley Riesling style. The region's high altitude and cool climate produces Riesling with great complexity and capacity for long term cellaring. South Australia is gaining worldwide recognition for producing definitive Australian Riesling, with the Eden Valley at the very head of the field. The wines show typically focussed apple and lime aromas, with a mineral edge and marked natural acidity contributing significantly to the palate texture and flavor. The development of Penfolds Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling marks a new chapter in a long history of Penfolds involvement in fine winemaking from this variety.
"Has a gently floral bouquet, then a fine and elegant palate ranging through lime, apple and pear, with perfectly balanced acidity providing length and a gloriously fresh aftertaste."
96 PointsAustralian Wine Companion
"Fragrant and fresh, this riesling focuses on a narrow set of flavors, its lime-driven acidity and tart peach making a mouthwatering combination with oysters."
91 PointsWine & Spirits