Penfolds Collection, the real review

Already the Treasury Wine Estates marketing machine has been busy wooing and seducing wine writers with the glossy brochures, flash in store point of sale displays on top of wooden boxes and free sample bottles. There will be more publicity to come to0.

I was invited to the 2019 Penfolds Collection new releases and want to share you with my thoughts on the vintages and on the prices.

Bin 23 2018 Pinot Noir
Blog followers will know my palate leans heavily to Tasmanian and cool climate styles such as Central Otago Two Degrees pinot.
Colour on Bin 23 was light and bright. The nose was layered fragrant overtones of soft strawberry, ripe raspberry but over the top of this hints of prunes. On the palate cherries and strawberries. Quite juicy with hint of vanilla sweetness up front but overall finished very dry. 88/100. $42.00. Better value around. Avoid. Drink 2019 – 2023. 14.5%.

Bin 28 2017 Kalimna Shiraz
Blend of Barossa, McLaren Vale and Padthaway fruit. Deep dark ruby colour. The nose showed fruitcake, cassis and vanilla American oak. The palate has  generous blackberry fruit and peeper. But I found it very tannic and certainly finished extremely dry. 89/100. $42.00. Too expensive. They reckon drink 2020 – 2030. 14.5%.

Bin 150 2017 Marananga Shiraz 
Colour deep and dark. Nose spicy and dark cherries. Palate becomes a full-flavoured, concentrated full bodied powerful red, loved the  chocolate richness and acidity. Well balanced. 93/100. $94.00. Ummm up there on price and only for Penfold  aficionados. They say drink 2020 – 2032. Each way bet here and I would not look at it for 5 years. 14.5%.

Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
I was told that there is no Bin 707 released this year. It was made but relegated. Could it pop up somewhere in the future?
Bin 407 is a blend of Padthaway, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and Wrattonbully fruit. Wow what a job to blend this lot. Colour is deep in the primary spectrum. But I found the nose stalky and a little green with just slight hints of vanilla and blackberries. Although it was firm and chewy it finished very dry on the back and sour. The fruit has a lot of work to do.  89/100. $94.00. They say drink now  – 2030. I don’t think so and it needs a lot of time to come together. 14.5%

 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2017
A blend of fruit from McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway and Wrattonbully,   This ‘Baby Grange’ was matured for 12 months in  previous-vintage Grange casks. As you would expect a very deep red appearance. On the nose     liquorice with hints of mint and vanilla oak. A little tannic with dark complex fruit and finishes long in length. Beautifully balanced. 94/100. $94.00. Notice the last 3 wines are deceptively marketed just under $100.00! Drinking window 2021 – 2030. Probably right. 14.5%.

St Henri Shiraz 2016
Deep, dark colour. Nose almost closed but found liquorice and spice. Rich on the palate with lots of dark chocolate and new oak and finishes with power. Chewy too. This is a ripper but needs time to come together. Excellent long-term ageing potential if you live long enough. 96/100. $105.00. Value. Drink 2022 – 2040. 14.5%.

 RWT Bin 798 Barossa Valley Shiraz 2017
A deep, dark, brooding red in colour, Pronounced coffee and chocolate and soft pepper fills the nostrils. Wow what do we have here! This continues through to the palate mixed with black cherry, spice and herbs. This is all about Barossa. Its a fruit explosion. Brilliant. 97/100. $160.00. Ummm if only I could afford it! Drink 2024 – 2040. 14.5%.

Grange 2015
Fruit is from Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Magill. Dark rich red to the rim. Nose of liquorice. chocolate, and oak. On the palate it is tough to summerise though. Long combination of fruit and distinctive American oak. I reckon coconut, blackberry dominate amongst the pronounced tannins.  Where this will go is anyones guess but I note its being given 98 – 100 points all over the place. Who would know? Amazingly the brochure Penfold’s gave me said a drinking window of 2020 – 2050! This is way off the mark – at least 10 years to come together and I will be dead by 2050. $715.00. The Treasury marketing steamroller has worked its magic with the scribes. Personally give me 94/100. 14.5%.

In Summary.
This release is for Penfold drinkers with deep pockets who want to continue their cellar sequence. Only the RWT is the wine I would rush out to purchase and drink in my lifetime. In fact I could get five bottles of RWT for one bottle of Grange. Did you notice that all eight wines are 14.5%? And what about the prices? Your decision!

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