2011 Penfolds Grange "luxury & icon" wine release
Andrew Caillard MW
The annual 2011 Penfolds Grange "luxury & icon" wine release is one of the greatest vintage releases in recent memory with a swag of profound wines.
Notwithstanding the improvements in knowledge, skill and technology over more than half a century the 2006 Grange remains impressively true and faithful to the original ambitions of its creator Max Schubert. It possesses a beautiful and evocative authenticity; a warm earthy Australianness full of generosity, verve, and spirit. Yet it has extraordinary percussion, muscle and lasting power. This is the voice of a great Grange!
The release of the 2008 Bin 707, 2008 RWT and 2008 Magill Estate further enhances the reputation of this brilliant Penfolds vintage. The wines are a testament to vineyard management and an enduring winemaking philosophy where empathy to vintage conditions, meticulous attention to detail and rigorous selection are part and parcel of the Penfolds style. Magill Estate is a standout wine within a standout trinity of 2008 reds. It fully expresses the character and charm of an historic single vineyard.
2007 St Henri is a really lovely wine, but inevitably it is outclassed by the more powerful and seductive 2008s. Nonetheless it is true to its origins and worth seeking out.
2009 Bin 09A Chardonnay is a modern classic. This wine style has become a beacon of quality within Australian winemaking circles. It has a lovely flinty freshness and linear build, but it has tremendous energy and persistence. The fruit, acidity and texture are so deliciously foiled, it behoves you to drink soon rather than allow it to go the full distance; even though it has the precision and substance to age for a while.
The 2008 Yattarna is really a lovely evocative wine, with classical proportions. It has superb fruit complexity and creaminess. Although for some people this wine is too expensive, it does represent some of the best in fruit selection and winemaking philosophy from anywhere in the world. With only 500 cases made, it will be relatively hard to find.
2006 Penfolds Bin 95 Grange
This is classic, inimitable, perfect Grange. With its deep saturated colour, intensely fresh dark berry/ mocha/ paneforte/ roasted chestnut aromas, rich velvety palimpsest of flavours and wonderful vinosity, it evokes Max Schubert's "buoyant and ethereal" vision splendid. This is not just any wine. This is great lasting legend-making Grange; a beautifully aromatic and voluminous wine with superb fruit complexity, balance of weight, substance and texture. Seductive, elemental and expressive, it will further develop and improve beautifully over the forthcoming decades. This is a forty or fifty year wine at least. 100 points
2008 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
A gorgeously perfumed, generously proportioned wine with a strong Coonawarra accent! Deep colour, fresh blackcurrant/ mulberry/ espresso/ sage aromas with underlying vanilla/ nutmeg oak. The palate is rich, substantial and velvety with smooth blackcurrant/ mocha flavours, integrated spicy new oak and plentiful/supple tannins. It finishes long and fruit sweet with a long tannin plume. This is an exceptional Bin 707 with lovely freshness, clarity and density of fruit. This is very much a classic Penfolds vintage with the drive, opulence and overall balance for long term aging. 96 points
2008 Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz
This is a truly expressive and individual single vineyard wine that brilliantly articulates the class of the original "Grange Vineyard" near Adelaide. With its inviting deep colour, elderberry/ chinotto/ paneforte/ espresso/ "roasted" aromas, it evokes a unique earthy freshness. The palate is beautifully concentrated with plenty of extract and vigour, deeply set espresso/ blackberry/ paneforte flavours, finely grained/ gravelly tannins and underlying toasty/ cinnamon oak. It finishes firm, long and savoury. This is arguably the finest vintage since it was first introduced and yet again affirms the strength of the 2008 Penfolds vintage. 96 points
2008 Penfolds RWT Shiraz
A lovely Barossa Shiraz that possesses strong regional character, power, and elegance. The wine is intensely aromatic with blackberry/ elderberry/ praline aromas and roasted chestnut notes. The palate is rich, smooth and compact with generous blackberry/ dark chocolate/ liquorice flavours, plentiful savoury tannins and vanilla/ toasted oak notes. It finishes chalky firm, long and minerally. Although enjoyable to drink now, with its buoyant fruit sweetness and abundant flavours, the 2008 RWT Shiraz has all the hallmarks for medium to long term aging; a reflection of meticulous selection and a strongly focussed winemaking philosophy. 95 points
2007 Penfolds St Henri
This is a delicious early to medium drinking St Henri with all the style and finesse expected of this "wine institution". It is medium deep in colour with expressive blackberry/ raspberry/espresso/ dark chocolate aromas and herb garden/ liquorice nuances. The palate medium concentrated and vibrant with black fruit/ roasted coffee flavours, spicy and supple/ chocolaty dry tannins. It finishes firm, deliciously bitter-sweet and with lovely flavour length. 2007 St Henri is one of the top wines of the vintage. Its drinking really beautifully now or it can be cellared for a while. 92 points
2009 Penfolds Reserve Bin 90A Chardonnay
Move over Puligny! This brilliantly seductive and tightly focussed wine, derived from the "cool climate" Adelaide Hills, possesses all the hallmarks of great contemporary Australian chardonnay. It has a beautiful limpid translucent colour, gorgeous grapefruit/ camomile/ flint-stone aromas, fresh persistent grapefruit/ white peach/ flinty flavours, superb volume and mouth-watering/ piercing acidity. It finishes long and minerally. 2009 Bin 90A is a delicious wine with superb freshness and vinosity. It is very much a landmark contemporary style. Drink it now or cellar it for a few years. 97 points
2008 Penfolds Bin 144 Yattarna Chardonnay
The highly perfumed and textural 2008 Yattarna is primarily sourced from the Derwent Valley in Tasmania. Although it's auction performance has been erratic since the speculative bidding wars of the late 1990s, it has largely achieved the original quality aspirations of its creators. This beautifully pitched and deliciously creamy wine offers “Minerality, texture, layering and longevity,” wonderful fruit complexity and vinosity; intense pearskin/ white peach/ grilled nut/ matchstick aromas, white peach/ grilled nut/ flinty flavours, superb richness, al-dente texture and searingly fine acidity. It finishes long and minerally. 97 points
Andrew Caillard MW
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