Yattarna, (Bin 144), which derives from an indigenous word meaning ‘little by little; gradually’ captures the Penfolds culture and winemaking philosophy. Over the years the wine has undergone a distinct evolution in style. Yattarna is now a refined, precise cool-climate wine with apple/white peach notes and ‘minerality, texture, layering and longevity’ key characteristics. Whole-bunch pressing, barrel-fermentation including use of wild yeasts, malolactic fermentation and lees-stirring (battonage) are important elements. Fine-boned and restrained Yattarna is a convincing example of Australia’s Chardonnay revolution.
Pale gold. Sensational nectarine, white peach, orange glace, lemon peel aromas with lifted gun flint, sea spray notes. Beautifully concentrated and minerally with complex nectarine, white peach, apricot, grilled almond flavours, fine supple/ silky textures, lovely mid-palate viscosity and underlying pure mineral acidity. A lovely rainwater freshness with superb integration of elements. Seal; screwcap Drink Now – 2030 12.5% alc
98 points (July 2021)
Just when you thought you’d reached the top, another ridge-line appears. This is a fundamentally stunning chardonnay. It‘s hard to know where to start save to say that it’s flinty and complex and dry and extraordinarily long. Essence of modern, complex, compelling chardonnay. Stonefruit, raged with stone, raged with flint, raged with smoke and pear and salt. The end result takes poise and stares power into its soul.
97 points, The Wine Front (July 2021)
Bright, gleaming light-yellow colour, the bouquet initially quite strong on smoky-reductive matchstick touches, and toasty oak strongly apparent on nose and palate but not overdone. The wine is focused, taut, intense and discreetly rich across the tongue, the aftertaste very long and emphatic, savoury dryness carrying long and leaving an appetising more-ishness that endures. Intense and high-potential. (Tasmania, Tumbarumba, Adelaide Hills. 8 months in French oak, 55% new, 45% 1-year-old)
96 points, The Real Review (June 2021)
57/32/11% Tasmania/Tumbarumba/Adelaide Hills fruit. Matured 8 months in 55% new French oak barriques. The tension, endurance and sheer molecular detail of Yattarna propels it to the pinnacle of Australia’s pointy chardonnay pyramid, and 2019 follows confidently in the hallowed footsteps of the sublime 2018. This is a vintage that demands a great deal of time to unfurl. Tight, compact, focused and immensely determined, it leads out in its virile youth with the finest struck flint and gunpowder. A pinpoint singularity of white-fruit precision focuses a laser line of pure white acidity that projects from its core through a finish of astounding line, length and promise. Powder-fine, crystalline minerality surges long and strong. Another epic Yattarna. Vintage on vintage, has Yattarna now ascended to become Penfolds' greatest wine of all?
98 points, Wine Companion (July 2021)
Lovely crème brûlée and lemon meringue notes mark the nose of the 2019 Yattarna Chardonnay, joining hints of white peaches and Anjou pears. A medium to full-bodied effort, it's rich and concentrated but hangs together really well, built around a silky, layered texture, a core of lemony acids and a long, long finish. The final blend includes fruit from Tasmania (57%), Tumburumba (32%) and the Adelaide Hills (11%) and was aged eight months in 55% new French oak, mainly D&J.
97 points, Wine Advocate (July 2021)
The introduction of a flinty spark to the nose shows that Yattarna has moved again in style, now standing proudly like a more rarefied, polished version of the impressive Reserve Bin A model. It allows the pristine fruit to speak in nuanced tones, its airy dance of lemon, mandarin and grapefruit notes swooping into a darker, sterner mid-palate, where delicate oak frames pristine white nectarine and adds just enough savoury bite.
97 points, David Sly, Decanter (June 2021)
Full screwcapped bottle a hefty 1,555 g. Funny that this, the 25th vintage, has the same appellation as Australia's cheapest blends! Fruit from Tasmania, Tumbarumba and Adelaide Hills. Matured for eight months in French oak barriques (55% new, 45% one year old).
Pale greenish straw. Really savoury and attention-grabbing with a little struck-match reduction. Streets ahead of the 20A 2020 – but then 2020 was an extremely difficult vintage. Attractive refreshing ripe passion fruit on the mid palate and an agreeable chalky texture on the finish. Pleasure in spades already.
17.5+ points, JancisRobinson.com (July 2021)
Penfold’s superstar white and one of this country’s finest Chardonnays. 2019 is a blend of fruit from Tasmania, Tumbarumba and the Adelaide Hills. Eight months in French oak barriques, 55% new, 45% one year old. This is a Yattarna for the ages. Stunning. A lovely light green/gold in colour. The nose is tight but fresh and balanced. There is oak here, but so well integrated. Spices, lemon zest, cashews, the bark of a lemon tree and wet stones. Key to this wine at all stages is the immaculate balance and focus. The wine has drive, tautness, precision and great length, all carried by underlying acidity. Such precision and balance; elegance yet power. With time in the glass, a hint more of the cinnamon-y oak emerged, as did some notes of lime. This year’s clear winner in the Penfold’s Chardonnay stakes. Outstanding. The balance remained, no matter how long the wine stayed in the glass. A long, slow gentle fade, but the intensity continues right through this length. Surely a good ten to fifteen years lie ahead for this wine.
97 points, Wine Pilot
Sourced from three regions in three states: Tasmania, Tumbarumba and the Adelaide Hills, crafted into a fully complex style with an alluring chardonnay nose, a sense of apple and pear compote and squeezes of yellow citrus with a background of delicate oak and fallen autumn leaves. You might just want to stay there for a while to take it all in, but the drinking enhances all that has come before: layers and layers, flinty minerals, cedar, grapefruit with sprinkled sweet spices, delicately matrixed oak, fruit, savories and mouthwatering acidity. A wine with great power and commanding class.
98 points, Wine Pilot
South Australia is the driest state on the world’s driest continent. Covering almost 1 million (984 377km) square kilomteres, it represents 12.8% of the Australian land mass. Sweeping plains are intersected by a spine of relatively low lying ranges, the Mount Lofty/Flinders Ranges which extend through the heart of the State. Over 50% of the state is elevated at under 150 metres. The Great Artesian basin covers almost one-third of the State. The major river is the River Murray which lethargically makes its way into the Southern Ocean. This water mass has a moderating effect on climate, particularly in the southern regions of South Australia where most vines are planted.
Summers are generally hot and dry with relatively mild nights. Winters are cool. Rainfall occurs mostly during late autumn/winter (May, June, July, August). Drought and salinity are major concerns.
The principle wine regions in South Australia are; the Adelaide Hills, Barossa (comprising the Barossa and Eden Valleys), Clare Valley, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Coonawarra and the Riverland. Vineyard expansion has also extended to Wrattonbully, Mount Benson, Bordertown, Robe, Southern Fleurieu and the Flinders Ranges.
It is a tradition for many wine companies to make multi-district blends from South Australian fruit – the idea of house style taking precedence over regional definition. Penfolds pioneered this concept. The vagaries of vintage variation can be evened out by fruit selection, ensuring quality at a high level. However there is debate that this concept comes at the expense of the ‘soul’ of the wine. Penfolds Grange is probably the most famous multi-district blend and is an excellent counter-argument.Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's
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.