Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay was launched in 1998 with the 1995 vintage. Prior to that it was the mostly highly anticipated/highly publicised wine yet to exist. It was whispered (and shouted in some corners) that ‘White Grange’ would do for Chardonnay what its red brother had done for Shiraz. Thankfully it has done something different and become a wine apart.
In this pack, you’ll receive: 1 * PENFOLDS Yattarna Chardonnay, South Australia 2016 11 * PENFOLDS Bin 311 Chardonnay, Multi Region Blend 2019
Letting Penfolds chardonnay wizard Kym Schroeter off his leash with Bin 311 sourcing (until a few years back it was almost always purely Tumbarumba) has elevated this cuvée to effectively become a baby Yattarna in both recipe and aspiration (and I wrote this before I read Peter Gago’s suggestion of the same) – an astute move in the grand hierarchy of Penfolds classification and declassification (it did, after all, set the precedent for multi-regional blending in South Australian red wines). The result in 2019 is nothing short of stunning; an intricate and eloquent weaving together of the tension of white citrus, the understated generosity of white peach and fig, the complexity of understated, classy cashew nut French oak and Schroeter’s signature struck flint reduction. If you adore Yattarna and Bin A (as I do), this is your everyday substitute – cut from the same mould, just toned down in concentration, tension, texture, complexity, persistence and endurance – and in this day and age, that’s not altogether a bad thing. It pips the great 2014 as the best Bin 311 yet.
95 points (July 2020)
This is a blend of three regions, Tasmania, Tumbarumba and Adelaide Hills. It’s Tasmania that really powers this wine in 2019. Opens on a chalky and stony edge with intense, vibrant white-peach and citrus aromas. The palate has a resolved, complete and smooth-honed texture. Flavors of ripe peaches, honey and citrus sit amid fresh, crisp acidity and a long, attractively pithy grapefruit and peach finish. Drink over the next five years.
94 points, JamesSuckling.com (July 2020)
From Tasmania, Henty, Adelaide Hills and Tumbarumba, matured for 8 months in French barriques (35% new). Opens with a subtle play of Granny Smith apple, grapefruit, barrel ferment and acidity, none blurring the crystal line of purity. A distinctive style, remarkable for its consistency.
95 points, Wine Companion (August 2018)
Pale colour. Fragrant grapefruit, nectarine, white peach grilled nut aromas and superb flinty, mineral complexity. Wonderful palate with lovely grapefruit, nectarine, stone fruits, fine loose-knit chalky/ al-dente textures, underlying savoury oak nuances and long fresh pure quartz-like acidity. Electrically-charged, powerfully expressive and sophisticated wine with a superb balance of fruit, oak and freshness. Demands a few years of cellaring to build further complexity. Pure Australian élan. 97 points – 13.5% - Drink 2020 – 2040.
97 points, Andrew Caillard MW (October 2018)
This is a beautifully distinguished Yattarna that seamlessly marries its three regions to harmonious effect. It leads out with understated grace, effortlessly rising with exacting line and outstanding persistence. Lemon, white peach and fig are masterfully united with understated French oak, with exacting fruit and acid marriage, ever confident yet never dominating. This is no blockbuster Yattarna, rather an eloquent and refined blend, and it’s all the finer for it. Drink 2019-2026.
96 points, Tyson Stelzer (October 2018)
The grandest wines are often the most surly, and this release is. It will come around in its own good time. It’s a tight, powerful, brooding wine; gravity is its middle name. All the screws have been tightened and re-tightened; you get the feeling the winemaking team kept torque wrenches handy. The days will come and go; this wine will stride on. Grapefruit and toast, flint and fig. A show of spice. Majestic.
96 points, Campbell Mattinson (October 2018)
Light to medium straw-yellow colour, with a pronounced nutty, slightly toasted nut bouquet, showing more oak than the Reserve Bin 17. The palate is rich and concentrated, velvet-smooth and fleshy with great depth and extract. Tremendously long carry. A brilliantly balanced, powerful wine, which is just starting out on its career and will undoubtedly reward cellaring and show much more character and complexity in a few years. Great potential. Drink 2019-2033.
96 points, Huon Hooke, October 2018.
Gently toasted almond and subtle pencil shavings give some indication of the 35% new French oak that was used to age the 2016 Chardonnay Yattarna. Ripe peach, pear and melon fruit fills out the medium to full-bodied palate, then really grows in intensity and focus on the long finish. This is the most complete Yattarna I've ever tasted, blending richness and acidity in a seamless fashion. It's a blend of fruit from Tasmania (51%), Henty (23%), Adelaide Hills (14%) and Tumbarumba (12%). Drink 2019-2030.
96 points, Joe Czerwinski (October 2018)
A restrained nose with chamomile, white pepper, lemon zest and lime juice all here. This has an edge of wet chalk and oyster shell, too. Very cryptic and tightly held for now. The palate is wrapped in honeycomb, revealing a core of white-peach, green-melon and yellow-grapefruit flavors. Smooth, rolling and flowing texture. Rich and long. Tasmania, Henty, Adelaide Hills and Tumbarumba fruit sourcing.
96 points, JamesSuckling.com (November 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.