As a self-proclaimed “wine geek,” I am always searching for something new. One of the best parts of selling wine, is introducing a new selection most people have never heard of, like a tiny new estate or a grape varietal recently rediscovered. Sometimes, I admit, I forget some of the great wineries that made this business what it is today and Penfolds is certainly one of these estates. They produce a huge quantity of wine, in all price ranges. Their wines are routinely on “Top 100” or “Best Buys” lists and they even produce one of the most collectable wines in the world, Penfolds Grange.
Penfolds is celebrating their 177th anniversary this year! Of course they have gone through tremendous changes over their history, but they have continued their success right along. They began in 1844 when Dr. Christopher and Mary Penfold purchased 500 acres and planted the vines they took with them on their voyage to Australia at the Magill Estate in the suburbs of Adelaide. They began making brandies and fortified wines which were extremely popular during that time. Dr. Penfold's reputation as a doctor grew and his wife took over running the estate, which was very rare in the mid 1800's. Christopher passed away in 1870 and Mary ran the estate by herself until 1884 when her daughter Georgina took over. At this time, Penfolds was producing one-third of all the wine from South Australia!
Mary Penfold set a platform for success that continues today. She said it was vital for Penfolds success to always experiment with new methods in the cellar. It is because of innovation we have the wines being featured today. Back in 1959, Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz was the first wine named after the storage area in the cellar where it was ageing. The Penfolds "Bin Wines" were their best-selling wines for years. The Kalimna Vineyard was purchased in 1945 and for years the wine was sourced just from this vineyard. Today, it comes from various vineyards to maintain consistent quality but always mainly from the Barossa Valley. This wine continues to get rave reviews for a wine in the $30.00 price range and this year’s release was #41 in the Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines for 2020!
Bin 311 Chardonnay is a much newer offering. Winemaker Peter Gago searches cooler climate sites in South Australia for juice with citrus aromas and a mineral driven core. Generally, there is some barrel fermentation and a small amount of new oak to add a bit of creaminess. This is a complex Chardonnay at a reasonable price. The wine is basically a "2nd wine" of Penfolds Yattarna, an amazing white wine that they took years to develop so they had a benchmark Chardonnay to offer on the level as Grange. As wonderful as Yattarna is, at about $150 a bottle, it is a little pricey for most of us. We could only reserve seven six packs of this wine; if you are interested, please call or email to reserve and we will get the wine to you. It is not in stock at all locations.
Penfolds continues to make great wines in all price points and these are two stellar examples. As noted earlier, there is not much 2018 Bin 311 Chardonnay available, however the 2019 is being released soon, if we run out of the 2018 we will honor the sale price on the 2019 when it arrives. There are already great reviews out on the new vintage.
93 Points Wine Spectator & #41 on Top 100 Wines of 2020
"Shows terrific concentration, with dense and chewy tannins providing an appealing backdrop to the blueberry, dried cherry, date and candied ginger flavors. Tobacco, tomato leaf and espresso notes linger on the finish.”
94 Points JamesSuckling.com
“A strong vintage for warmer-climate shiraz and this wine is certainly reaping the benefits. The nose has such eclectic fruit aromas that run a full spectrum, from the lighter spiced red-fruit aromas to red plums, through blue fruit to darker blackberries and plums. The palate has impressively layered flavors that run the same broad spectrum as seen on the nose and the tannins are so well groomed and run very, very long. Holds fruit flavor deep. Will age very well for 15-plus years. Drink or hold” - James Suckling
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