You may recall my blog on the Penfolds 2016 Collection preview tasting last month at The Langham Hotel in Sydney.
With other tastings to follow for media and audiences around the globe, we were sworn to secrecy via a global media embargo until today, October 6.
Headlined by an outstanding 2012 Penfolds Grange, arguably one of the best ever, the new wines will be available globally from Thursday, October 20.
Chief winemaker Peter Gago (below) describes the new releases, which cover five different vintages from 2012 to 2016, as "a family of fine wines, each with a distinct character."
Gago says the wines within the collection are a testament to the Penfolds ‘house style’ and winemaking philosophy that the company has upheld since 1844.
And while the new Grange has a recommended retail price of $850 a bottle to reflect its quality, there are also new releases that can be purchased for $30-35 - giving just about everyone a chance to enjoy a bottle or two.
While some eminent tasters will no doubt be handing out 99s and 100s like confetti, here, for what it is worth, are some of my standouts and scores from the tasting I attended.
2012 Grange $850.00
One of the best Granges, this offers a complex panoply of richness and flavour. It is a wine of light and shade, dark fruit intensity, a beautifully balanced artwork from a classic even-year Grange vintage. This is 98% shiraz and 2% cabernet sauvignon and a blend of Barossa and McLaren Vale fruit. It spent 18 months in 100% new American hogsheads, which merely added palate interest. Oak certainly does not intrude on the kaleidoscope of flavour. Fleshy and soft with notes from olives to blackcurrants, it is more than the sum of its parts.Outstanding and one for both wine lovers and investors. 98/100.
There are 19 wines in the release overall and here are some of my other favourites at a range of price points.
2014 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon $500.00
A perfumed, stylishly and grippy classic cabernet that is drinking well even in its youth but has immense cellaring potential. It has lovely balance, seasoned savoury and umami notes along with fabulous dark fruit that just screams "quality". It is 81% Barossa fruit (the rest comes from Padthaway and Port Lincoln) and has matured in 100% new American hogsheads for 17 months. It would be a great choice for those for whom Grange has just become a little too expensive. 97/100.
2013 St Henri Shiraz $100.00
While it might seem absurd to call a $100 wine a bargain, this is of such quality that it is an absolute steal. It has the tough task of following an outstanding 2012 St Henri but shines with its lifted, fruit-driven palate. Made from 50+-year-old vines and matured in older oak, this voluptuous stunner blended from fruit from six different regions should be your red of choice for Christmas should your budget stretch that far. 97/100.
2014 RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz $200.00
Dark and inky with black chocolate, black olive and intense black fruit character, along with dark cherry and smoked meat notes, this is a smooth number that has seen French oak and is one for those who like to cellar their wines for two decades or more. 96/100.
2014 Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz $45.00
A wonderfully captivating nose leads on to a palate of magnificent intensity with dark, inky fruit and bold, obvious oak. A beautiful red named after a Barossa vineyard but now a multi-regional blend. This offers serious value. 95/100.
2014 Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz $45
Very smooth, a complete package at a very affordable price - and with excellent structure to boot. A wine with excellent potential for longevity. 94/100.
2014 Yattarna $150.00
A superb chardonnay that is a blend of fruit from Tasmania (73%) and the Adelaide Hills. It has impressive cool-climate vibrancy and acid, with French oak providing structure and backbone. Stone fruit and citrus notes are in perfect harmony with some cashew notes adding interest. Brilliant right now. 96/100.
2016 Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling $30.00
This is a real surprise packet that offers fabulous value. A floral, fragrant nose leads the charge with enticing lemon and grapefruit notes, along with intense minerality. Immediate enjoyment guaranteed. 93/100.