On Wednesday 3rd July in the luxurious surrounds of the Cliff Townhouse in Dublin, Justin Knock MW, brand ambassador for Penfolds wines, held an exclusive tasting of the luxury and icon wines from Australia’s most prestigious and premium wine producer for both the wine trade and press.
Justin began with two excellent whites – the Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling 2012 which was subtle yet varietally pure and Bin 311 Henty Chardonnay 2011, which was noted for its delicate and balanced use of oak – before moving on to the reds for which Penfolds are most noted.
Penfolds’s own take on the Rhone staple blend of Syrah/Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre/Mataró came in the form of the Bin 138 GSM 2011, which provided a point of difference and curiosity before moving on to more familiar Australian territory: Shiraz.
The intense and concentrated Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2010 preceded the more fruity Bin 150 Marananaga Shiraz 2010, which provided an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast styles. Then it was on to the first Cabernet of the day, the Bin 407, which ticked all the boxes of good Cab with blackcurrant and cedar dominating, before moving he moved on to the distinctly Australian blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon in the Bin 389 which was a hedonistic mélange of ripe fruit and body.
Then it was on to Penfolds much sought-after and exclusive ‘icon wines’. First off, the assembled press and trade had the unique opportunity to try their three ultra premium Shirazes in succession – St Henri 2010, deep and soft on the nose with some kirsch, white pepper and raisins; RWT 2010 with its surprisingly Cabernet-like characteristics; and the fragrant and floral Magill Estate 2010 with a fantastic mineral streak not often found in Shirazes.
The room was then introduced to Penfold’s flagship Cabernet, the Bin 707 2010. Judging by the silence, punctuated only by gasps of delight, the icon wines went down a treat. Somewhat reserved for now, a pure core of fruit was evident under layers of cedar and oak, the acidity and tannin a little heightened which will resolve itself after some time in the bottle. A sure-fire winner in a few years time and most certainly for decades after.
Finally, it was on to the most iconic of them all: the Grange 2008. The word ‘iconic is often thrown about with abandon, but in this case it’s very much relevant: this vintage of Australia’s most commended wine has recently achieved a “double century” of two perfect 100 scores in both Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator, the eleventh wine ever to do so and the only New World wine to gain the accolade. Massive, intense, complex yet balanced and surely only to get better with time, the Grange was an incredible and electric wine that had the audience enthralled.
The Grange rounded off what was an immense and breathtaking tasting through the best that Penfolds had to offer on an occasion not to be repeated again for some time.