The heritage-listed 5.24 hectare “monopole” Penfolds Magill Estate is one of the few single vineyards in the world located within city boundaries. Its legacy as the “Grange Vineyard”, ensures its place in Australian wine history. This “soft of nature, yet structured and substantial” wine is distinctly different to the mainstream Penfolds style, showing intense floral, blackberry, aniseed aromas, smooth richness and a "long spine without being overtly firm." Magill Estate Shiraz is batch-vinified in open wax-lined concrete tanks. After completion of fermentation, the wine is matured in a combination of new French and seasoned French and American oak for between 12-15 months.
Ned Goodwin MW and Langton’s Head of Domestic Buying Ramon Gunasekara discuss the newly released reds, including Bin 28 Kalimna, Bin 150 & Magill Estate, from the Penfolds Collection 2020.
Deep, bright red/purple colour. The bouquet is disarmingly attractive with blueberry, blackberry and raspberry nuances, background vanilla and chocolate, the palate soft and supple, rounded and silky-smooth, with fruit sweetness and fine-grained tannins in perfect balance. A stunning wine, elegantly-framed and deliciously drinkable now, although it will undoubtedly age well. Full-bodied but far from being a blockbuster. Hard to resist now.
96 points, Huon Hooke (October 2018)
I have so much history with this wine that I’ve now blocked it on Facebook. I jest; the point is that I bring a deal to the table before I’ve lifted the first glass. It’s single vineyard and special and unique in the Penfolds line but more than anything it’s a festival of oak. It wears a t-shirt with the words HISTORY IS YESTERDAY’S NEWS emblazoned on the front. Actually no it doesn’t. It’s more like BE SOMEONE ELSE. This 2016 though is bold, brilliantly red/black fruited (a gobful of red licorice, inter alia), sloshed with creamy, resiny, vanillin oak and quite desperately impressive, despite itself, and despite me. I thought I had it covered and in a clinch it threw an uppercut that I never saw coming. Lights out. It’s one of the best Magill Estate’s I’ve seen.
95+ points, Campbell Mattinson (October 2018)
The 2016 Shiraz Magill Estate aged in 100% new oak (70% French and 30% American), which has left its cedary, vanilla mark on the wine, but in a balanced, harmonious way. It's a full-bodied wine, with big berry fruit and lavish oak, yet those components are wonderfully judged, coming together in a fine, elegant wine that showcases the brand's home estate in the Adelaide suburbs. With only 15 cases for the United States, it will be tough to track down.
96 points, Joe Czerwinski (October 2018)
Medium deep colour. Intense elderberry, plum, black olive aromas with some savoury oak liquorice, minty notes. Generous and supple with deep set dark plum, black olive, chinotto flavours, fine gritty/ sinewy textures and mocha, roasted walnut cedar-like oak. Finishes muscular firm with plenty of flavour length and minerally notes. Still elemental but unmistakably Penfolds. Give it time. 93+ points – 14.5% Alcohol – Drink 2025-2040
93+ points, Andrew Caillard MW (October 2018)
A mild season has heightened the spicy character and juicy red fruit personality of Magill, while 13 months in 100% French and American oak have imparted a dominant, toasty oak presence in both flavour and structure. Such prominent oak seems out of place in the modern Penfolds style. While its juicy fruit is appealing from the outset, such levels of new oak cry out for time to soften and integrate. It will come together in time. Drink 2026- 2031.
92 points, Tyson Stelzer (October 2018)
A somewhat quiet and introverted Magill with more muscle and less obvious flesh than I was hoping for at this age. Wine Lord Peter Gago points out that these wines are all evolving fast and in six months’ time this will be a very different beast but I don’t expect as much change in Magill as in many of the others. Monotonal and rather unresponsive this is a difficult wine to converse with and so my score is also somewhat muted.
17.5+ points, Matthew Jukes (October 2018)
Penfolds is probably the most extraordinary of the world’s wine brands with an enviable reputation for quality at every price level. The original Penfold was an English doctor who, in 1844, planted grapes at Magill, now a suburb of Adelaide. However, it was not until the late 1940s that Penfolds began to forge a reputation for red wine.
The Penfolds house style emerged from a fortified wine producing culture and evolved as a winemaking philosophy which has had a profound effect on the entire Australian wine industry. Many of the techniques initially adopted to make Penfolds Grange would become part of the wider Penfolds winemaking culture. The number of techniques employed in the research and development of Penfolds wines is astonishing. Max Schubert and his team pioneered: major advances in yeast technology and paper chromatography; the understanding and use of pH in controlling bacterial spoilage; the use of headed down/submerged cap fermentation and the technique of rack and return; cold fermentation practices; the use of American oak as a maturation vessel and perhaps most critically, partial barrel fermentation. Nowadays, the use of American oak and barrel fermentation for instance is considered traditional Barossa winemaking practice!
Today, Penfolds house style embraces the concept of multi-regional blending, optimum fruit quality, the use of fine-grained American or French oak, barrel fermentation and maturation. Overall, the Penfolds style is about highly-defined fruit aromas, fruit sweetness, ripe tannins, richness, power and concentration. The number of iconic wines that have emerged from the Penfolds stable over the years is remarkable. Bin 389 a Cabernet Shiraz blend released in 1960 is now considered the quintessential Australian wine blend. Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz and Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz released in 1962 pre-empted the contemporary enthusiasm for regional definition by about 25 years. Improved vineyard management, site selection and winemaking brought about subsequent releases of Bin 707 and Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Penfolds Wine Making Philosophy is the accumulation of more than half-a-century of knowledge and winemaking practice initiated by Max Schubert and subsequently refined by Don Ditter, John Duval and Peter Gago. Their collective commitment to multi-regional and vineyard blending contributed to a consistency of style and quality that has cemented Penfolds reputation as the foremost producer of premium age-worthy red wines in Australia.