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penfolds

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Penfolds

www.penfolds.com

78 Penfolds Rd, Magill, 5072

Cellar Door: Mon-Fri (10-5), weekends (11-5)

Ph: (08) 8568 9290

 

Penfolds wines from Adelaide Hills region

Penfolds wines from Coonawarra region

Penfolds wines from Eden Valley region

Penfolds wines from Tumburumba region

 

Penfolds magill
The original home of Penfolds has been swallowed by Adelaide's eastern suburbs but there is still a small functioning vineyard along with the administrative and restaurant complex. The wine-making has moved to Nurioopta (photo genxywines).

Penfolds is Australia’s most famous red wine producer, responsible for the legendary Grange Hermitage, and an enormous range of brands and labels.

For a time Penfolds was also Australia’s largest wine group, running well known brands such as Lindemans, Kaiser Stuhl, Wynns, Seaview and Tollana.

However, even Penfolds has been swallowed up by the Fosters-Southcorp conglomerate. It is hard to assign Penfolds a region/zone as it has its early roots in the Adelaide CBD, shifted much of its operation to the Barossa Valley and then set up operations in many premium wine regions, and now has its corporate headquarters on Melbourne’s Southbank. Fosters has recently announced that it was winding back much of Penfold’s Barossa operations.

In the end I settled for its historic birthplace at Magill, with the historic Grange cottage and a 20 acres of vines still in place. Penfolds was founded in the mid 1840s by Dr. Christopher Rawson Penfold, and his wife Mary.

After arriving from England they immediately settled at Magill and began constructing the stone cottage called the Grange.

The Penfolds planted vine cuttings from France, that had their ends dipped in sealing wax to preserve the sap on the long sea voyage. The doctor wanted to use the wine to treat patients with anaemia (a somewhat discredited cure).

Dr. Penfold later became the first mayor of Burnside, and died in 1870. His daughter, Georgina Ann, married the Irish-born Thomas Francis Hyland, and both focused on building the family business. By the 1880s Penfolds had expanded so much that it was responsible for nearly a quarter of South Australia’s 1.4 million litres of wine stock.

After Federation made trade easier the Penfold Hyland family set up a branch office in Pitt St., Sydney, and then started buying vineyards in the Hunter Valley and Griffith. With urban growth in Adelaide restricting the Magill site they also expanded the South Australian operations into the Barossa Valley, Eden Valley and the McLaren Vale.

The huge Barossa Valley operation at Nurioopta was responsible for producing the famous Grange Hermitage (Shiraz). The wine was created by Max Schubert after a trip to Bordeaux, and proved that with modern wine-making techniques that Australia could make world class cellaring reds – combining harmonious oak with rich fruit depth.

The grapes originally came from the Magill vineyard, but now come from a mixture of grapes from McLaren Vale, Barossa and Coonawarra, to maintain consistency between vintages. A small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon is now commonly added.

Penfolds makes a vast range of modern, lighter (and cheaper) reds, and is now focusing on lifting the quality of its whites. Peter Gago is the current chief winemaker.

PenfoldsGrange
Dr. Penfold's 1840s Grange cottage is still at the Magill site (photo: genxywines)
Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($100)

Drink: 2026+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2014, multi-region blend, no Cabernet this time, this wine will be very hard to get as various famous reviewers have rated this as a 100 point or 99 point wine so stores are selling the whole stock as soon as the wine is released, I’m not jumping on this bandwagon but this is certainly an exceptionally supple and seamless expression St. Henri, highly aromatic with a focussed medium-full bodied core of blueberry jube, liqueur black cherry and redcurrants with liquorice and mint notes, there’s some bay leaf and black olive savoury contrasts in there as well, integrated medium char vanilla/mocha/almond French oak, outstanding persistence (*****)

Penfolds Grange 2009

Purchased: Not ($700+)

Drink: 2025+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2014, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from the Barossa, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Magill Estate, 10 months in new American oak hogsheads, still very tight but it is clear that this is less powerful and more open than the classic vintages such as 2008, perfumed and generous full bodied palate showing plums, mulberry and blackberry essence with cola, tar and liquorice notes, some asian spice notes, sheets of pliant, chalky tannins, vibrant orange peeled acidity, complex malt-mocha-dark chocolate oak (*****)

Penfolds St.Henri Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2024+

(GXY) Tasting: Apr 2013, 3% Cabernet input, multi-regional blend, there’s more cool region Robe and Adelaide Hills input to adjust to the warm vintage,  focussed and  medium-full bodied cranberry, blueberry and blackberry pastille with sea weed, anise and bay leaf complexity, balanced milk chocolate/malt/cinnamon oak, a spine of fine, chalky tannins, well balanced with very good persistence although needs time to unfold (*****)

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Not ($77)

Drink: 2023+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2012, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon input, sourced from Barossa, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills, presumably most of the fruit was picked before the 15 day heatwave in March, unlike the 2007 there no input of the Robe fruit which brought a seaweed/iodine aspect, this one shows plush and concentrated boysenberry, blueberry, blackberry and anise with slaty minerality and bay leaf savouriness, restrained milk chocolate/malt/cinnamon seasoned French vat expression, finishes with a firmish but well constructed core of fine, chalky tannins (*****)

Penfolds Grange 2007

Purchased: Not ($479)

Drink: 2025+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2012, sourced from Barossa, McLaren Vale and Magill Estate, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon input, the drought conditions across the state led to severe frosts at flowering and extreme heat during vintage so this was never going to be a classic, however, careful fruit selection has ensured that it still has plenty of brambly Grange character and tightness, deep set blueberry, prune and blackberry pastille with complex cola, liquorice, leather, bay leaf and moroccan spice notes, vibrant acidity, the American oak brings rich roast coffee/bitter chocolate/malt aspects alongside the firm, grainy tea-like tannins (****1/2)

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Purchased: Not ($55)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2012, this time the multi-region blend comes from McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Robe, Mt.Benson, Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley, deep set and essency blackcurrant and blueberry with flashes of mulberry, violet and leather, the medium-full bodied mid-palate also shows some earthy rhubarb and spearmint counterpoints but there is more than enough fully ripe juice in here, has the usual persistent undercarriage of chewy, dusty tannins, the French and US oak brings sandalwood and cinnamon to the finish (****1/2)

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Not ($65)

Drink: 2022+

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2012, the ‘baby Grange’ from this vintage is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Shiraz assembled from Padthaway, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Robe, powerful and glycerolly showing glazed black cherry and blueberry with liquorice, pepper and soy notes, medium-full bodied palate has some rhubarb earthiness and seems better integrated than the 2008, firm and chewy tannic structure, the US oak brings cinnamon/mocha support to match the intensity of the wine (****)

Penfolds Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2018+

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2012, multi-regional blend of Padthaway, Barossa, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale and Robe fruit, ripe blackberry and raspberry with fruitcake and liquorice notes, medium-full bodied with ample sweet mocha/chocolate/vanilla from the 12 months in American oak hogsheads, some chewy tannins but softer and more open knit than the others in the Bin releases (***1/2)

Penfolds St. Henri 2007

Purchased: Not ($90)

Drink: 2021+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2011, this is drawn from six South Australian regions, most notably some outstanding fruit from the emerging Robe region on the south-east coast, long and silky core of black cherry, blueberry and blackberry fruit with pepper, mint, anise, seaweed and violet notes, the medium-full bodied palate becomes more savoury with black olive nuances, underpinned with slatey minerality, the French oak brings mocha/vanilla, cinnamon and clove to the finish, persistent powdery tannins (*****)

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne ($45)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, multi-region blend sourced from the Coonawarra and the adjacent regions (Wrattonbully, Robe, Padthaway) that missed the worst of the 15 day extreme heatwave that hit the regions closer to Adelaide in March 2008, silky and deep set core of blackcurrant and dark plum fruit with lavender and dried herb nuances, long undercarriage of dusty tannins, the oak treatment (22% new French oak, 13% new US oak with 65% seasoned US oak) brings a touch of sandalwood and cinnamon (****1/2)

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, multi-region blend of 52% Cabernet and 48% Shiraz sourced from Barossa, Coonawarra, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale, aromatic and powerful showing smoky and leathery blackcurrant, mulberry and plumcake with liquorice notes, good length and spicy mocha oak, the problem is that the palate seems disjointed possibly due to fruit picked pre and post the heatwave, not convinced it will come together with time (***1/2)

Penfolds St. Henri 2006

Purchased: Not ($80)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2010, multi-regional (Barossa, McLaren Vale and Robe) with an 11% Cabernet Sauvignon input, quite perfumed, bright entry but gets more austere and savoury, black cherry and liqueured plum with black olive, cassis, tobacco and musky spice nuances, backbone of grainy tannins and well judged French oak, well balanced although densely packed at the moment and will need plenty of time to show its best (*****)

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2007

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2010, multi-regional, quipped the ‘baby’ Grange partly because some components of the wines are aged in the same barrels used by the previous year’s Grange, intense blackberry and plumcake with liquorice, dried fig, mint and savoury meat nuances, powdery tannins with roast coffee and spicy vanilla oak, a bit over cooked and forward compared to the best vintages but enough of the Penfolds quality shines through (****)

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2010, blended mainly from Coonawarra, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale fruit, deep set and varietal if rather ripe blackcurrant, plum and mulberry with lavender, cinnamon and musk notes, earthy, medium-full bodied with a good line for the vintage and a backbone of chunky tannins, balanced, spicy French and American oak with a choc-mint finish (****)

Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2007

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2010, multi-regional across South Australia, rather forward, jammy and ripe blackberry and raspberry with fruitcake, olive and herbal notes, minerally with the restrained American oak bringing some chocolate and almond nuances, fairly soft and loose knit tannins compared to the premiums (***1/2)

Penfolds Grange 2004

Purchased: Not ($550)

Drink: 2025

(GXY) Tasting: May 2009, the most eagerly awaited Grange vintage this decade, sourced from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Magill, 4% Cabernet input, shows the expected denseness and concentration without the over-ripe brandied features of the 2003, perfumed blackberry, dark plum and blueberry with bay leaf, black olive, spice, liquorice and flat cola features, polished new savoury American oak brings dark chocolate, smoky cedar and malt notes, the lingering chalky tannins (*****)

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2005

Purchased: Not ($90)

Drink: 2025

(GXY) Tasting: May 2009, carefully assembled from vines from all over South Australia: the Barossa, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Robe, Wrattonbully, Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills, there is an unusually large 11% Cabernet input, perfumed blackcurrant, dark plum and black cherry with fruitcake, bay leaf and menthol notes, smooth with nutmeg and black pepper spices, persistent web of fine tannins, the 15 months in very old French oak brings just a whisper of vanilla and coffee (****1/2)

Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2006

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: May 2009, rather ripe multi-region blend showing blackberry, stewed plums and mulberry, juicy and mouth-filling with creamy new oak bringing cedar, chocolate and vanilla notes, fairly loose knit tannins (***1/2)

Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1990

Purchased: Not ($700+)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, sourced from the Barossa, Clare Valley and Coonawarra with a 5% Cabernet input, the vintage is widely regarded as one of the classics with a surprisingly low 13.5% alcohol, richly flavoured for an 18 year old with blackberry and dark plum with black pepper, dried herbs, liquorice and a hint of cola, caramel and quince, quite sleek and slinky with malt and mocha oak features now nicely integrated, smooth powdery tannins, nearing its peak now but will last for another twenty years (*****)

Penfolds Grange 2003

Purchased: Not ($500+)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, June 2008, sourced from the Barossa, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale and Magill with a 3% Cabernet input, this hot vintage will not be a classic but still shows plenty of the Grange character, super-dense and concentrated with blackberry, brandied dark plum and blueberry with tar, salty soy, fennel and anise notes, the rich savoury American oak brings dark chocolate and malt notes, lingering chalky tannins (****1/2)

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2004

Purchased: Not ($80)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, June 2008, sourced from the Barossa, Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills, there is a 4% Cabernet input, intensely spicy nose, rich and multi-layered showing ripe black cherry and slightly jammy plum with prune and liquorice notes, has a bit of a fruit cake aspect, despite this the palate is dry and tightly controlled through impeccable blending, smooth with a complex array of spices including lavender and nutmeg, fine and lingering tannins with tobacco and coffee inputs from the savoury French oak (****1/2)

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 1991

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, June 2008, sourced from McLaren Vale, Barossa, Coonawarra, Padthaway and the Clare Valley with 10% Cabernet input, widely regarded as one of the classic vintages, fragrant with smooth blackberry and red cherry with plenty of plum pudding sweetness and a touch of liquorice, mocha-cedar oak is full integrated with the velvety tannins of a seventeen year old, will last a few more years but there is no reason not to drink it now, bottoms up (****1/2)

Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Purchased: Not ($150)

Drink: 2024

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, contains some fruit from the legendary Barossa Kalimna Block 42, the worlds oldest surviving Cabernet vines, plus some from the Coonawarra and Padthaway, highly aromatic with lush blackberry and cassis with black forest cake, liquorice and violet features, seems full bodied but only 14.5% alcohol, powdery texture with no leafiness although there is some varietal mint, mocha-coffee chocolate American oak features are seamlessly integrated, long chalky tannins (****1/2)

Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 1990

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, mostly Coonawarra with some Barossa and McLaren Vale inputs, smooth and creamy mulberry and black forest cake with caramel and liquorice notes, medium-full bodied with coffee and mint notes to the spicy finish, rounded tannins that you would expect from an 18 year old but still has a bit more life in it (****1/2)

Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz 2005

Purchased: Not ($110)

Drink:2018

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, from the original Penfolds vineyard in Magill, big, old fashioned style showing ripe blackberry, cassis and redcurrant with a touch of prune and brandied plum from shrivelled fruit, meaty with leather and black olive notes, firm and chalky tannins, lingering finish with a bit of musk and citrus, creamy chocolate-vanilla, the slightly charry new French and American oak is a bit obvious at the moment but will undoubtedly be swallowed up by the time its ready to drink (****)

Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz 1998

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, from the original Penfolds vineyard in Magill, smooth and rounded blackberry, X-mas cake and brandied plum with leather, black pepper, smoked meat and cinnamon notes, chalky tannins still have some grip, creamy chocolate lingering finish with a bit of orange rind (****)

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: June 2007, medium bodied blackcurrant and redcurrant with plenty of mint and herbaceous and a touch of capsicum, pronounced tobacco leaf nuances and finishes with a savoury twist, charry coffee-vanilla cedar oak, decidedly greener then the hot 2003 vintage, grippy tannins will need medium term cellaring (***1/2)

Penfolds Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2006

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: June 2007, sourced from a variety of regions including the Adelaide Hills and Bordertown in the Limestone Coast, stonefruit, pear and lemon aromas with a hint of fig, palate is fairly smooth and creamy with cashew nuttiness, let down slightly by some excessive sourness later on (***)

Penfolds Rawsons Retreat Merlot 2006

Purchased: Not ($11)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: May 2007, simple with raspberry, blackberry and lightly spicy plum, smooth palate is tightly structured but lacking in genuine depth and varietal spice expression, creamy vanilla oak, silky tannins, a quaffing food wine that won’t overpower (**1/2)

Penfolds Magill Bluestone Ten Year Old Tawny Port 2005

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2006, luscious, sweet and creamy richness with caramel and hazelnut flavours, not as intense as some other South Australian ports (***1/2)

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Purchased: Not ($34)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2006, a mixture from Coonawarra, Barossa and McLaren Vale vineyards, nose shows blackcurrant with chocolate and mint notes and faint tobacco leaf, palate shows ripeness of the warm 2003 vintage without getting jammy, savoury finish with firm but not grippy tannic structure (***1/2)

Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2003

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2006, named after the Barossa Vineyard where it was first made at in 1962, it is now a mixture from Barossa, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek vineyards, plum and red cherry (Christmas cake) nose with hint of liquorice and cinnamon, medium bodied palate is a bit too much on the jammy-prune scale of ripeness, soft, ripe tannins (**1/2)

Penfolds Thomas Hyland Shiraz 2004

Purchased: Gift from Lisa

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting:Mar 2006, smooth blackberry, plum and blueberry fruits with subtle pepper and violet notes, well integrated cedar/vanilla oak and smooth tannins (***1/2)