Monday, October 04, 2010

Penfolds Tasting Seminar

Penfolds tasting seminar, hosted by Liner & Elsen Wine Merchants in NW Portland, and presented by Penfolds' Assistant Winemaker Steve Lienert and Technical Winemaker Andrew Wright. A great slideshow presentation of Penfolds history, and current winemaking areas, techniques, and the wines themselves. We tasted through 10 red wines from various vintages, including 2 vintages of Grange. A great event, and only $20!

The Bin Wines
The 'budget' end of Penfolds red wine lineup at this tasting, these Bin wines are typically around $20, and named for the concrete "bins" the bottles were stored in while aging. Some of the Bin series (Bin 389, Bin 707, etc) are quite expensive, however, and rival Grange in quality and prestige.

  • 2006 Penfolds Bin 138 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Wine #1. Nice nose of blackberry and chocolate. Sweet & spicy fruit with a bitter, dark chocolate finish. (88 pts.)

  • 2006 Penfolds Shiraz Bin 128 - Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Coonawarra
    Wine #2. Black fruit and spices on the nose. Elegant but with ample tannins. Some mint along with the black cherry fruit, and finishing with some spicy cherry. (90 pts.)

  • 1996 Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28 Kalimna - Australia, South Australia
    Wine #3. Plummy nose, with big red fruit and lots of pepper. Sweet plum fruit and vanilla, with surprising tannins for a '96. (91 pts.)

  • 2004 Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28 Kalimna - Australia, South Australia
    Wine #4. Not much on the nose...very tight, with just a touch of fruit. Lots of tannin, sweet blackberry fruit, oak and vanilla. A bit disjointed to me... (89 pts.)

  • 2006 Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28 Kalimna - Australia, South Australia
    Wine #5. Big peppery nose with blackberry and currant. Surprisingly less tannin than the '04. Much sweeter, with a long finish smoky finish. (92 pts.)

St. Henri
The St. Henri wine goes back to the 1950's with Penfolds, and even older vintages before it was purchased by Penfolds. A true Australian relic, known as the 'alter-ego of Grange'.
  • 2006 Penfolds Shiraz St. Henri - Australia, South Australia
    Wine #6. Completely different than any of the other wines so far. Elegant nose of black fruit and cassis. Much more refined flavors than Bin 28 and none of the big pepper. Sour cherry flavors ending with some dark chocolate. Somewhat Bordeaux-like (!) in it's complexity. (92 pts.)

RWT - Red Winemaking Trials
Started as an experiment in 1995, and first launched in 2000 with the 1997 vintage. Working from a single region within Barossa Valley, and matured only in French oak, RWT is more muscular and assertive than Grange.
  • 2004 Penfolds Shiraz RWT - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Wine #7. From magnum. Wow...Spices and sweet black fruits. This is what I like in Shiraz! Still quite tannic and drying, but very smooth and silky too. Blackberry pie comes close, with the sweet fruit and vanilla. Happy I have a bottle in the cellar, but I won't be touching it for at least 5 years. (94 pts.)

  • 2007 Penfolds Shiraz RWT - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Wine #8. Couldn't be more different from the '04. Huge peppery nose, with some alcohol as well. Very tannic and a lot of pepper on the palate. Huge blackberry fruit, and some black licorice. A bit too over the top at this point. Needs a good 5-8 years in my opinion. (90 pts.)

Grange
The iconic Australian wine. And rightly so! Just an amazing line of Shiraz.
  • 2002 Penfolds Grange - Australia, South Australia
    Wine #9. From magnum. 98.5% Shiraz, 1.5% Cab in the blend. Huge nose of black fruit pepper and vanilla. Such an immense wine, and so damn good! Fruit for days...blackberry, sweet with oaky vanilla. Still just a baby, especially from magnum. (98 pts.)

  • 2005 Penfolds Grange - Australia, South Australia
    Wine #10. 96% Shiraz, 4% Cab. Another huge wine! Lots of plum fruit, seemingly from a hotter vintage? 100% new American oak for 18 months. Black pepper, big plum fruit and A LOT of tannins! Vanilla on the finish, but fairly hidden by the chalky tannins. At this stage, I much prefer the 2002. (93 pts.)

Tasting notes posted from CellarTracker