Penfolds Grange Tasting Notes & Vintage Ratings 1990-2010

“This wine is utterly amazing in every way. It is also the finest Grange aroma I have ever had the pleasure of inhaling and this includes all of the older vintages I have tasted, too. This is a complete wine. Nothing more is needed and nothing here could be let go without detracting from the whole. It is perfect. It is also the essence of two very important and powerful entities – the legend that is Grange and also the mind-blowing vintage that is 2010. This means that it has Grange’s majesty tempered by the restraint, intensity, beauty and composure of 2010. It is very dark, intensely so, and yet this class of malevolence has never been so alluring. This is the finest wine I have tasted this year, not least because it meticulously hunts down out every single taste bud in your system urgently before hypnotising it for evermore rather than blasting it, senselessly, with a shotgun. Heavenly, enchanting, forthright and mesmerising it is a wine you simply must taste. Drink from 2020-2050.” 20++/20 (AUD $800)

The Wine Spectator ranks Penfolds Grange 2010 a monster 98 points, and a collectible, in it’s recent January 2015 online edition. read the review.

Penfolds Grange 2010 (South Australia) – Rated 98 Points (Wine Spectator Insider – Harvey Steiman) – Price USD$850 / 371 cases Imported
“Focused, elegant, powerful and layered, exhibiting plum, currant, floral, spice and coffee flavors that come together seamlessly and persist on the long, complex finish. This has presence and deftness in equal measure, with well-integrated tannins. Best from 2018 through 2030.”

The World of Fine Wine Magazine names the Penfolds Grange 2001 ‘The One’ in recent vertical tasting!

The World Of Fine Wine Magazine extract from the article Penfolds Top Reds 1952-2006. Every five years, Australia’s most famous wine company holds an extraordinary series of tastings at which a few fortunate guests, sitting alongside most of the past and present winemakers, sample almost every wine it has ever produced: most recently, some 600 bottles spanning six decades.

Penfolds Grange 2001
“Black/purple. Blueberry hill nose (the authentic signature, according to Gago, of Barossa Shiraz, and this is 100% Barossa Shiraz, half from the Kalimna vineyard), but much more complex than fruit alone, with an all-enveloping spice and well-integrated wood. Deceptive scale, so effortlessly is it conveyed. Dry but fresh, with a long and harmonious finish that should fill out very well over many years. Hugely promising. Drink 2010-40.” Neil Beckett – Rated 18/20.

Penfolds Grange 1996                                                                                                                                                                                                                Black/purple. An intense, finely focused nose, fresher if less rich than the great 1998. Elegant entry, instantly recognizable as a beautifully detailed, carefully extracted, classically styled wine. Still very youthful, but exquisitely made, with the precision and tension of a top Bordeaux or Northern Rhône (Latour or Chave) in a great vintage. A real thoroughbred. Drink to 2040.” Neil Beckett – Rated  18.5/20.

Le Clos In Dubai sells Penfolds Grange Collection spanning 60 years!

Penfolds Grange Spanning 60 Years Goes on Sale at Le Clos in Dubai international Airport
The collection has been assembled as international wine enthusiasts and investors seek alternatives to classic Bordeaux brands that still dominate the fine wine market. While prices of top Bordeaux have dropped 40 percent from their 2011 peak, auction demand has focused increasingly on historic wines from Burgundy, Italy and the New World.

The Wine Spectator ranks Penfolds Grange 2009 as a collectible, in it’s recent July online edition. read the review.

  Penfolds Bin 95 Grange Shiraz (South Australia) – Rated 94 Points – The Wine Spectator (USA) 94 points / $850 / 406 cases imported Aromatically pure, with beautiful focus to the blueberry, black currant, espresso and cream character. In the mouth this sprouts prickly tannins and picks up a distinct tomato leaf note that sends the wine in a different direction. This has depth, length and plenty of ripeness without excess weight, but lacks the complete harmony of the best vintages. Best from 2016 through 2030.—Harvey Steiman July 2014

U.K. Wine critic Matthew Jukes says Penfolds St.Henri 2010 “is phenomenal in every way, and merits a perfect 20/20 rating.”

“I felt palpably nervous before tasting this wine. To my mind, it was the most important wine of the whole event. I have been waiting for this taste for four years. Harvest conditions meant that this had to be a great vintage for St. Henri. But how great? That was the only question. I never will wines to win 20s in my notes. They just happen without me questioning it. Perfect wines don’t have to try too hard. For me, this is the finest young St. Henri I have ever tasted. It is phenomenal in every way. I cannot imagine how it could be bettered. I like it more than the fêted 1990 and 1971.

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2010 “It is 100% Shiraz and it draws on fruit from all corners of the State. The clarity of message from start to finish is arresting. Gago picked out a few vineyards in the Adelaide Hills to try to explain just how this wine has benefited from the aromatic purity of the fruit from these parts – Waterfall Gully, Rostrevor and Paracombe. They add wistful spice and heavenly floral notes to the already majestic drive and intensity of fruit. The tannins are awesome and you already know that the oak is old! It provides the wooden stage for this heavenly beauty to entrance your whole being. Dense damson and blueberry notes cavort – the whole experience is almost transcendental. Epic and thrilling I couldn’t spit it out. I couldn’t whiplash it out of my mouth even if I was crashed into at speed while waiting for a red light to change. Weirdly it wasn’t swallowed either – it was subsumed into my soul.Perfect 20/20 ++ March 2014.”

James Halliday reviews Penfolds ‘Bin 170′ Kalimna Block C Shiraz 2010 at A$1,800 per bottle

James Halliday’s latest reviews of the Penfolds Icon range released on May 1st 2014

Penfolds Grange Shiraz 2009
“From the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Magill Estate, 98% shiraz and 2% cabernet sauvignon; it finished its fermentation in 100% new American oak hogsheads and was matured therein for 18 months. The bouquet has sweet and savoury spices, the palate with licorice and black fruits; oak is riding high, but will be relegated to second place as the wine comes into balance around 2030.”14.5% ABV; Cork. James Halliday – Rated 97 Points

Penfolds Bin 170 Kalimna Block C Shiraz 2010
“Early in its fermentation in 2010 it was clear this would be an utterly exceptional shiraz, and a hasty decision to complete its fermentation in French (not American) oak was taken, then 16 months in 55% new hogsheads. The aromas are hyper-fragrant, the silk and velvet palate of extreme length and finesse. drink to 2055;” 14.5% ABV; Cork.  $1800  James Halliday – Rated 98 Points

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2011
A blend of 51% cabernet sauvignon and 49% shiraz from McLaren Vale and the Barossa. It ripples with cassis, dark chocolate and hints of tar; its texture and structure are exceptional, reflecting Penfolds’ savvy in tannin management. drink to 2035;” 14.5% ABV; Screw Cap. James Halliday – Rated 96 Points

Penfolds Latest News- Recorking Clinics 2014 Australian Dates

The Penfolds Recorking Clinics are a unique free service offered by Penfolds that provide an opportunity to have a Penfolds winemaker assess your Penfolds wines which are 15 years or older. Clinics are conducted approximately every two years and will next be held on the following dates in 2014:

Brisbane 5th & 6th August 2014
Sydney 19th – 21st August 2014
Melbourne 2nd – 4th September 2014
Adelaide 17th & 18th September 2014
Perth 1st & 2nd October 2014
Canberra 30th October 2014
Hobart 6th November 2014

Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz – Tasting notes & vintage ratings from 1990-2009

Back in March 2013 Henschke held a 50th anniversary retrospective tasting of ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz.
Megan Curren (Henschke Cellar Door Manager) has kindly sent me her tasting notes covering vintages 1990 too the current 2009 release.
For further details please visit:

Background                                                                                                                                                                                                                Stephen Henschke is the winemaker and fifth generation custodian of the legendary Hill Of Grace Vineyard, which was planted in the 1860’s to 4 hectares of pre-phylloxera genetic Shiraz vines. Henschke Hill of Grace is often compared to Penfolds Grange as the two icons stand alongside each other as testament to Australia’s best Shiraz.
The vineyard is managed along organic/biodynamic practices, and is cropped at 2 tonnes/acre, with the grapes being separated into parcels and vinified separately to maximize blending options. Vinification takes place in open-headed down fermenters with regular pumping over. Towards dryness the wine is drained and pressed. Partial barrel fermentation in a combination of new American and French oak enables good integration oak. The wine is then allowed to mature in the same oak for a period of about 18 months before bottling and further maturation. Approximately 700-800 c/s are produced in a regular vintage.
Previous vintages have consistently rated 99 Points with both The Wine Advocate & Wine Spectator Magazines.

2009 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“Late January brought a record six days over 40C, not seen since 1908, causing vine stress, exacerbated by drought conditions and empty dams, followed by another week of hot weather culminating in a 46C day on Black Saturday on February 7. Fortunately subsequent weather was mild and dry, with perfect ripening weather from March 1st.
Deep red with crimson hues. Complex aromas of red currants, blackberry and marzipan with hints of five spice, dried herbs, black pepper, smoked charcuterie and layers of fine French oak. The palate is deep, rich and textural with a beautiful expression of berry fruits and spice, finishing with long, fine velvety tannins.”
Drink Now – 2029+  (14.5% ABV)  Rating: Excellent Vintage

2008 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“A dry and hotter than average early summer caused smaller berry and bunch size. Although temperatures climbed to over 40C around New Year and in mid-February, the weather from mid-January through February was the coolest for 30 years, allowing amazing development of fruit colour, flavour and maturity.
Intense deep crimson in colour. The nose is attractive and enticing with aromas of sweet blackberry,blueberry, Satsuma plum and rhubarb, with characteristic nuances of oriental spices, black tea leaves, anise,tar and cedar. The palate is rich and concentrated with spicy plum, crushed herbs and Dutch licorice flavours. An amazing balance of acid, fruit intensity, weight and length create a powerful palate that finishes with long, fine tannins.”
Drink Now – 2029+ (14.5% ABV)  Rating: Excellent Vintage

2007 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The 2007 vintage shaped up to be another high quality year but with significantly reduced yields in Eden Valley. There was significant spring frost damage in Eden Valley, with yield losses of 20-25%, compounded by the drought and lack of subsoil moisture with overall losses of 50%.
Deep crimson with purple hues. Sweet, fragrant, exotic aromas of spicy red and black berry fruits, supported by plum, anise, tar and truffles and a hint of cedar. An elegantly fruited palate shows rich, complex flavours of forest fruits and cassis with underlying notes of black pepper spice, while the surprisingly restrained powdery tannins provide layers of texture for a long and luscious finish.”
Drink Now-2025+ (14.5% ABV)  Rating: Great Vintage

2006 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The 2006 vintage shaped up as another high quality year but with only average yields in the Eden Valley. The summer was mild with southerly winds, reminiscent of 2002. Brief heat waves occurred in late January and mid-February but were early enough not to affect quality, with only minor sunburn on exposed fruit.
Deep crimson in colour with violet hues. Lifted blueberry and blackberry fruits on the nose with hints of crushed sage and ripe herbal notes. The dark fruit and sage flavours follow through on the palate, which is beautifully structured with fine-grained tannins and a long, lush finish.”
Drink Now-2030+ (14.5% ABV)  Rating: Exceptional Vintage

2005 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“Vintage 2005 was early, warm, quick, fantastic quality with good yields – and exhausting.The quality of the 2005 vintage is sure to be ranked as one of the best on record, after 2002.
Intense deep crimson with violet hues. Complex aromas of concentrated dark berry fruits and blackcurrant with nuances of oriental spices, mint and crushed herbs. The palate is plush and full of rich dark fruit and dried herb flavours, elegant layers of fine tannin and a long, complete and luscious finish.”
Drink Now-2030+ (14.5% ABV) Rating: Exceptional Vintage

2004 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The average winter rainfall this season was a welcome relief after 2003’s fourth-worst drought in history. At the start of February searing heat caused sunburn and significant crop losses. New records were broken with South Australia experiencing its hottest day ever. Fortunately, March returned the region to glorious sunny days and cold dewy nights, with a couple of minor rain events, allowing the fruit to ripen under near perfect conditions.
Deep red with crimson/violet hues. Enticing and intense aromas of ripe blackberry and blueberry fruits, with savoury nuances of dried herbs, bay leaf and cedary French oak. The palate is rich, concentrated and powerful with wonderful depth of flavour, layers of texture and mature tannins for a long and elegant finish.”
Drink Now-2025+ (14% ABV)  Rating: Excellent Vintage

2003 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
Not Produced

2002 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“With the smaller crop level, the balance of sugar, flavour and natural acidity in the fruit were excellent. Despite the low yields, 2002 was one of our most exceptional vintages ever, helped by the warm dry Indian summer autumn period, providing sensational colours,flavours and ageing potential.
Intensely rich dark crimson in colour. Enticing, deep and concentrated blackcurrant and black plum aromas with hints of exotic spices and frankincense draw you in. Opulent power and focus on the palate with lashes of dark berries, spice and fine-grained tannins; exceptional length and cellaring potential.”
Drink Now-2025+ (14.5% ABV)  Rating: Exceptional Vintage

2001 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“Vintage began two to three weeks early but the heat had the potential to reduce flavours and produce high pHs and frighteningly low acids. With the arrival of milder autumnal weather came a natural rebalancing, providing only average yields and exceptional reds.
Very dark red with ‘glowing’ violet hues. A complex nose of sweet dark fruits, ripe Thai plums, blackberries and distinctive spice nuances. Intense, rich dark fruits, chocolate and prune flavours layered between fine grainy tannins for a beautifully balanced, suave wine.”
Drink Now-2025+ (14.5% ABV)  Rating: Excellent Vintage

2000 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
Not Produced

1999 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The latter part of spring led into one of the hottest summers on record, with virtually no rain. The drought conditions resulted in smaller berry size producing spicy, dark intense reds.
Dark crimson with violet hues. Delicate aromas of exotic spices, mature ripe fruits, molasses, bacon and roast meat nuances. The palate is richly fruited, concentrated and layered with fine-grained chewy tannins,elegant structure and a long delicious finish.”
Drink Now-2020+ (14% ABV)  Rating: Excellent Vintage

1998 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The indicators were of a hot dry summer, although only a serious burst of heat was experienced in mid-January and again at the end of February; otherwise, it was a mild summer, which had a significant delaying effect on the ripening process.An early onset of autumn caused a late harvest, with average yields, good to exceptional quality and intense flavour in the grapes.
Dark crimson with deep red hues. Lifted, pure, almost opulent, dark fruit and ripe plum aromas with herbal minty notes. The palate is broad and attention-grabbing with incredibly sweet blackcurrant fruits and layers of youthful tannins that showcase the structure of this elegantly balanced wine.”
Drink Now-2018+ (13.7% ABV)  Rating: Excellent Vintage

1997 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“Summer was one of the hottest on record with the hottest 14 days in February since 1910. A late, mild Indian summer ended the cool season, ensuring excellent ripening conditions and accumulation of colour and flavour.
The 40th vintage maintains Henschke’s ‘Exceptional wines from outstanding vineyards’, and shows brick red colour with ruby hues. Enticing aromas of sweet, ripe red and blue fruits, Thai plums and beef stock are complemented by Hill of Grace’s familiar nuances of exotic five spice, leather and sautéed herbs. The palate is medium- to full-bodied with a great concentration, fine chewy tannins and a long finish.”
Drink Now-2018+ (14.2% ABV)  Rating: Great Vintage

1996 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The 1996 vintage was preceded by a welcome average winter rainfall after two drought years. A mild spring with excellent flowering conditions and a mild, cool but windy summer allowed for above average yields. A cool, dry autumn provided an exceptionally long, slow ripening period with very good flavour development and quality.
Deep garnet with brick red hues. Incredibly gorgeous and subtle aromas of blackcurrant, frankincense, Chinese five spice and green peppercorn. The palate is focused and beautifully structured with sweet fruit,spice, balanced acidity and silky tannins that provide elegance and length.”
Drink Now-2025+ (13.8% ABV)  Rating: Exceptional Vintage

1995 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The 1995 vintage saw a culmination of two drought winters, record severe frosts, poor fruit set and a hot dry summer that made the start of vintage difficult. A warm, dry January and February combined with low crop levels brought on an early harvest.
Youthful crimson with brick red hues. Lifted and beautifully integrated aromas of potpourri, dried fruit and beef stock highlighted by hints of leather, menthol and truffle. A rich and dark fruited palate is balanced by herbaceous characteristics, and shows structure and finesse with velvety tannins.”
Drink Now-2015+ (13.8% ABV)  Rating: Excellent Vintage

1994 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“Due to a mild, dry summer there was quite a late, slow start to the 1994 vintage. March temperatures were mild to high, which had a dramatic effect, causing everything to ripen at once. The fruit quality was fantastic, with below average yields and exceptional colours, flavours and acid balance in the reds. The 1994 vintage was one of our best years on record.
Deep crimson in colour. The nose offers fragrant spicy black and blue berry fruit aromas with stewed plum, aniseed and five spice nuances. A refined and very elegant palate provides weight, concentration and structure, with layers of rich dark fruits and savoury tannins that ensure this wine still has plenty to give.”
Drink Now-2020+ (14.1% ABV) Rating: Exceptional Vintage

1993 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“Constant rain and humidity was a problem, which was compounded by a severe hailstorm in December, further reducing yields. A mild, dry summer pushed harvest back almost a month. April’s warm, dry weather conditions caused unexpected rapid ripening with good sugar and acid balance.
Ruby in colour with ochre hues. Beguiling lifted herbal aromas with overtones of dried cherries, green beans and turned earth. The palate is intense and focused, expressing sweet, juicy berry fruits, tomato stalk herbals and spice, with firm chewy tannins and a long, lean finish.”
Drink Now  (14.4% ABV)  Rating: Great Vintage

1992 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The lead-up to the 1992 vintage saw a late wet winter, although the yearly rainfall was 50mm below average. The mild spring was ideal for flowering and encouraged excellent berry set. A long, dry, cool summer with the coolest January on record delayed harvest. Despite the predictions being just above average, actual yields were only 10% less than the big 1990 vintage.
Deep garnet in colour. The nose exudes aromas of ripe blackberries and plums, cinnamon spice and lavender with supporting notes of black pepper, beef stock and soy. The palate is plush and sweetly fruited between layers of well-structured acidity and grainy, chewy tannin, providing a long, elegant finish that is mature but still holding strong.”
Drink Now-2018+ (14.1% ABV)  Rating: Exceptional Vintage

1991 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The 1991 vintage in Eden Valley was preceded by a short winter with below average rainfall. Budburst and flowering were early throughout mild spring conditions and a warm to hot summer. It was the earliest vintage on record with the hot weather producing high sugar levels and below average yields, yet great concentration of fruit flavours.
Dark crimson with brick red hues. Intensely scented nose of black fruits, ripe plums, licorice, anise and five spice. The palate is rich, complex and pure, with seductive flavours of ripe plum skin, menthol and spice; wonderful balance of crisp acid and firm, fine-grained tannins extending through to a complete and beautifully mellow finish.”
Drink Now+  (13.5% ABV)  Rating: Excellent Vintage

1990 Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz
“The 1990 vintage was an exceptional picture-book season with good winter rains, a perfect spring and mild summer providing excellent ripening conditions. It saw the largest yields on record with possibly the best quality fruit across all varieties for two to three decades.
Dark crimson with brick red hues. Sweet, concentrated dark plum fruits with underlying hints of blackberry, leather, five spice and oak nuances. Plush, ripe plum and blackcurrant fruits combine with layers of fine velvety tannins for perfect balance and a complex yet elegant finish.”
Drink Now-2018+ (13.5% ABV)  Rating: Exceptional Vintage

China is winning the war of wine; buyers from China are collecting & buying the best wines like never before.

“China is winning the war of wine; buyers from China are collecting and buying the best wines like never before.” JOHN KAPON, CHAIRMAN, ACKER MERRALL 

A three-bottle banded OWC of 2008 Romanee Conti was the number one selling lot at $43,225, followed by two OWCs of the 2001 DRC Assortment and an OWC of 1982 Lafite Rothschild, all three of which were bought for $39,520.  Next up was a six-bottle banded OWC of 2005 DRC La Tache bought for $32,110, then two legendary Bordeaux followed as three double magnums in OWC of the 1989 Haut Brion sold for $27,170 and a twelve-bottle OWC of 2000 Mouton Rothschild sold for $22,230.  Completing the Top 10 Lots were a six-bottle banded OWC of 2013 DRC La Tache at $19,760, a ten bottle lot of the great 1982 Mouton Rothschild that sold for $14,820 and a rare magnum of the 2001 DRC Montrachet also selling at $14,820.

Acker Merrall Hong Kong Wine Auction December 12th – 2015 at The Grand Hyatt Grissini Restaurant H.K.

Nine of the Top 10 Lots were purchased by collectors from Greater China, reinforcing the strength of the Asian market as we prepare to enter 2016. Acker’s first Hong Kong auction of 2016 is scheduled for January 23rd 2016.

The Auction highlights were as follows:

1990 Roumier Bonnes Mares GC (1 unit) Sold For US$2,422                                                      

1993 Dom: Rousseau Chambertin GC (12 units) Sold For US$31,871                                  

Acker Merrall Hong Kong Wine Auction September 18th/19th – 2015 at The Grand Hyatt Grissini Restaurant H.K.

Asian collectors’ confidence in their economic future was clear.John Kapon said “While the media has been making a lot of noise about the overall economic well-being of China in particular, it looked quite healthy from our vantage point.

 The Auction highlights were as follows:

2002 DRC La Tache GC (12 units) Sold For US$38,245
1991 Guigal La Turque (6 units) Sold For US$5,099
2005 Roumier Bonnes Mares GC (6 units) Sold For US$9,561
2000 Ch: Angelus (8 units) Sold For US$3,825

Acker Merrall Hong Kong  “XXXVI” Wine Auction December 13th 2014 at The Grand Hyatt Grissini Restaurant H.K.

Acker Merrall confirms it’s No.1 standing in Asia with a host of new record prices for the World’s best/elite wines.

The Auction highlights were as follows:

1988 DRC Romanee Conti GC (12 units) Sold For US$165,729
1990 DRC La Tache GC (12 units) Sold For US$50,994
1999 DRC Romanee Conti GC (3 units) Sold For US$47,806
2005 JF Mugnier Musigny GC (12 units) Sold For US$31,871
1953 Ch: Margaux (1 magnum) Sold For US$10,517
2008 Penfolds Grange (12 units) Sold For US$8,028
2005 Torbreck Laird Shiraz (12 units) Sold For US$6,793
2008 Penfolds Bin-620 (5 units) Sold For US$4,632

Acker Merrall Hong Kong  “XXXV” Wine Auction November 8th 2014 at The Grand Hyatt Grissini Restaurant H.K.

While DRC was once again the leading producer this weekend with 13 of the sale’s Top 20 lots.
Opus One also set eight, and wines from Harlan, Screaming Eagle and Robert Mondavi all exceeded high estimates, as did wines from Chave, Guigal, Rayas, Gaja and Sassicaia. Of course, Bordeaux and Burgundy were still in significant demand.

Acker Merrall NYC “High Voltage” Wine Auction September 6th-7th 2014 at The Manhattan Marea Restaurant Central Park South

After the Summer break, the start of the Fall Auction season started in New York with US$3.75+ Million of sales, 30% plus of which went to International bidders.

The Auction highlights were as follows:
2005 DRC Le Montrachet (12 units)  Sold For US$61,750
1971 DRC Richebourg (6 units) Sold For US$32,100
1945 Chateau Latour (10 units) Sold For US$39,520
Masseto (24 bottle vertical) Sold For US$22,230
2002 Sine Qua Non ‘Just for Love of It’ (12 units) Sold For US$11,733

Acker Merrall HK “Acker Asia XXXIII Sale” Wine Auction May 30th -31st 2014 at the Grissini Room at the Grand Hyatt HK

DRC dominated the Top 25 Lots sold over the weekend. The most expensive lot of the auction was a six bottle lot of the great 1999 Romanee-Conti, which sold for US$88,895.
Collectors from around the world seized the opportunity to buy perfectly stored lots that came directly from two of the great Domaines of Burgundy, Chateau de la Tour and Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, at Acker Merrall’s May 30-31 Hong Kong auction. Both direct consignments well exceeded pre-sale estimates, as collectors battled furiously to own wines direct from these legendary estate’s cellars with the owners in attendance.

Acker Merrall NYC Wine Auction April 5th 2014 at the Manhattan Marea Restaurant Central Park South

What followed throughout the day were world records falling for the greatest wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, the Rhone, Italy, Spain and California, but Burgundy dominated, with 84 of the 111 New World Records set by the belle of the ball. DRC, Ramonet, Henri Jayer, Leflaive and Ponsot made sure Burgundy also dominated the Top 25 lot results, taking 15 of the Top 25, led by the auction’s top lot, a three bottle OWC of 2010 Romanee-Conti that sold for $37,050. Bordeaux grabbed the other ten of the Top 25 lots, including OWCs of 1989 Haut Brion, the stellar 2000s from Lafite, Latour, Mouton, Margaux and Cheval Blanc plus 1996 Lafite and 1975 Lafleur.


Acker Merrall HK “Acker Asia XXXII Sale” Wine Auction March 21st -22nd 2014 at the Grissini Room at the Grand Hyatt HK

The March 2014 HK Acker Asia XXXII achieved a total of 22 new World records, for the likes of DRC, Rousseau, Dujac & Mugnier, continuing the momentum of the 2014 season.

The Burgundy highlights were as follows:
1985 DRC Assortment Case Sold For US$47,500
1990 DRC Assortment Case Sold For US$50,667
1999 DRC Assortment Case Sold For US$50,667
1999 DRC La Romanee Conti (3 units) Sold For US$44,333
2009 DRC La Romanee Conti (3 units) Sold For US$41,167
2005 Roumier Musigny (1 unit) Sold For US$6,017
1996 Ramonet Montrachet (12 units) Sold For US$19,000

Acker Merrall NYC Wine Auction February 22nd 2014 at the Manhattan Marea Restaurant Central Park South

Acker Merrall sets the pace in NYC with 100 New World Records
The facts were 29% of the winning bids went to International clients, with over 20% of winning bids being generated live online.There were 68 World records from a diverse group of estates including, Rousseau, DRC, Vogue, Fourrier, Jayer, Liger-Belair, Mugnier, Roumier, Ramonet, Leflaive, Lafon, Drouhin, & Boillot. Plus a host of names that exceeded the high auction estimates, Ponsot, D’angerville, JL Chave, Ornellaia, Sine Qua Non, & Screaming Eagle.
“The smartest connoisseurs are returning to wines ten years and older, many of which remain undervalued.”
John Kapon CEO Acker Merrall NYC

Acker Merrall HK Wine Auction January 17th-18th 2014

What a huge start to 2014 in the lead up to Chinese New Year January 31st (The Year of the Horse)John Kapon, CEO of Acker Merrall & Condit, said: “Our first sale was a great one, and all about the Burgundy. We set 107 new World Records, 91 of which were Burgundy! Our two featured collections on Saturday combined to achieve over the high estimates and were 100% sold. It was an exciting start to 2014 with 97% sold and nearly US$5 million in sales, and we saw that demand for Burgundy continues to grow, and the most sophisticated collectors know there is more to Burgundy than just DRC.

The Burgundy highlights were as follows:
2001 DRC Assortment Case Sold For US$38,081
1993 Dujac Clos de Roche (12 units) Sold For US$16,400
1995 DRC Assortment Case Sold For US$34,692
2002 Comte Lafon Montrachet (6 units) Sold For US$13,877
1990 DRC La Romanee Conti (2 units) Sold For US$34,692
1997 DRC La Romanee Conti (3 units) Sold For US$31,538
1995 DRC La Romanee Conti (2 units) Sold For US$22,708
1985 DRC Montrachet (8 units) Sold For US$63,077
1993 Meo-Camuzet Richebourg (1 unit) Sold For US$1,904
1990 DRC La Tache (6 units OWC) Sold For US$28,385
1990 DRC La Tache (1 magnum) Sold For US$8,831

The Bordeaux highlights were as follows:
1982 Chateau Petrus (12 units OWC) Sold For US$56,769
1989 Chateau Petrus (12 units OWC) Sold For US$47,308
1959 Chateau Lafite (10 units) Sold For US$28,385
2000 Chateau Lafite (12 units OWC) Sold For US$21,446
1955-1986 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Vertical (1 unit of each = 32 bottles) Sold For US$31,538

Acker Merrall HK “Asia 30th Sale” Wine Auction December 13th-14th 2013

The Final HK Auction of 2013 set more world records.

The Burgundy highlights were as follows:
2005 DRC La Tache (12 units) Sold For US$37,876
2002 DRC La Tache (12 units) Sold For US$28,385
1996 DRC La Romanee Conti (3 units) Sold For US$41,000
2003 DRC La Romanee Conti (2 units) Sold For US$21,446

Acker Merrall NYC “Big Birthday Bash” Wine Auction November 25th-26th 2013

Latest NYC Auction Results: This was as explosive a New York auction as I can remember, and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely,” said John Kapon, CEO of Acker Merrall & Condit Companies. “The room picked up 35% of the dollars in the sale, which is noticeably above average. Asia was still active, accounting for almost 20% of the auction, some participating live over the internet early in the morning over there. Burgundy, Italy and Spain led the way with dramatic results on rare wines. The short harvests of 2011, 2012 and 2013 are really starting to sink in with Burgundy collectors, and interest in the older Burgundy wines was enormous. The global market for the top estates, vineyards and producers continues to be healthy with no signs of excess.

The Burgundy highlights were as follows:

1990 DRC La Romanee Conti (2 units) Sold For US$34,440
2009 Dujac Romanee St. Vivant (12 units) Sold For US$20,910
2003 Dujac Romanee St. Vivant (12 units) Sold For US$17,220
1999 Rousseau Clos De Beze (12 units) Sold For US$20,910
2009 Rousseau Clos De Beze (12 units) Sold For US$20,910

Acker Merrall HK Wine Auction October 25th-26th 2013

Asian Collectors bid fervently for a lucky 8 vintage vertical of rare DRC Assortments of every vintage from 1993-2000, all in OWC which realized US$302,769 DRC Assortments were first released by the Domaine starting with the 1969 vintage and the 2001 vintage was the last vintage in which the traditional, 12 bottle assortment was released.

The Burgundy highlights were as follows:

1999 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux (12 units) Sold For US$86,731
1999 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux Magnums (2 units) Sold For US$41,000
1993 Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux (12 units) Sold For US$56,769
1991 DRC La Tache (12 units) Sold For US$34,692
1993 DRC La Tache (12 units) Sold For US$25,231
2004 DRC La Romanee Conti (4 units) Sold For US$41,000
2002 DRC La Montrachet (3 units) Sold For US$15,138

The Bordeaux highlights were as follows:

1982 Chateau Lafite (12 units OWC) Sold For US$44,154
1990 Chateau Petrus (6 units) Sold For US$18,923
2000 Chateau Petrus (6 units) Sold For US$23,969
1947 Chateau Petrus (1 unit) Sold For US$9,462

Acker Merrall HK Wine Auction September 13th-14th 2013

The Auction realised 108 world record prices, raising an impressive US$6.4 million over the two day sale. Some highly prized collections were on offer with a strong presence from both the US and mainland China, whose bidders notably drove prices beyond estimate for some of the greatest wines in the world.There was strong interest from buyers in emerging markets in particular China and Russia. Wines from smaller producers continue to perform well in particular Trotanoy and Pontet Canet.

The Burgundy highlights were as follows:

1999 DRC Assortment Case Sold For US$56,769
2001 DRC Assortment Case Sold For US$34,692
1999 DRC La Tache Magnums (6 units) Sold For US$50,462
2010 DRC La Romanee Conti (3 units) Sold For US$37,846
1971 DRC Richebourg (6 units) Sold For US$31,538
2009 Dujac Romanee St.Vivant (12 units) Sold For US$22,737

The Bordeaux highlights were as follows:

1982 Chateau Petrus (12 units in owc) Sold For US$61,500
2005 Chateau Petrus (6 Litre Imperial) Sold For US$24,600

Acker Merrall HK Wine Auction November 10th 2012

A total of HK$46.8 million/US$6 million was achieved in the two-day sale featuring over 1,000 lots of some of the world’s most sought after wines. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti dominated the weekend’s auction, accounting for nine out of the sale’s top ten lots, and an astonishing thirty out of thirty-six.

The World Awakens To 10 Australian Pinot Producers with the X-Factor!

“With a more sophisticated global outlook, Australia’s Pinot Noir producers – from across Victoria, Tasmania and Adelaide Hills – are proving they can mix it with the world’s best. Everyone thinks of Australia as the country where you get big reds. Ironically, for me, pinot noir is more successful than shiraz right now.” Optimistically, perhaps, he went on: “It can’t be long before the world wakes up to the great value offered by Victorian and Tasmanian pinot noir.” Andrew Jefford – Decanter Magazine UK

“They brilliantly articulate a sense of place and the light and shade of vintage. No doubt about it, you can find a great intricacy,levity, intensity and layers in Australian Pinot these days.”       Sarah Ahmed – The Wine Detective UK

“Overall, the Mornington wines stood out in my recent tastings for their completeness. These are balanced, fragrant wines that possess silky textures and irrefutable charm.The wines are fragrant and silky, stylistically more Chambolle than Gevrey. Joe Czerwinski – Wine Enthusiast Magazine USA

“This set of Victorian wines would blow a range of Burgundies out of the water. They’d rank up there with some of the best  Premier Crus” Anthony Rose MW- Decanter Magazine UK

My Top 10 Most Underrated/Undervalued Australian Pinot Noirs

In Alphabetical Order

-1-  Ashton Hills Estate Pinot Noir 2015 (Adelaide Hills) – $45 per bottle

‘The Burgundy Slayer’ according to Richard Hemming MW who writes for Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages. Winemaker here is Stephen George who recently sold Ashton Hills to Wirra Wirra. The Estate Pinot Noir comes from a 3ha dry-grown vineyard planted in 1982 in the Picadilly Valley (Adelaide Hills). This cool site sits in a rain shadow at an elevation of  570 metres, and is planted to 5 different Pinot clones, to create a complex, perfumed Pinot. Grapes are destemmed with some whole bunches used, dependant on vintage, and then aged in 1-2-YO French barriques. 1,500 cases produced.A Reserve Pinot from the ‘best of the best’ barrels is also produced here in small quantities.

-2-  Bannockburn Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014 (Geelong) – $56 per bottle

Yields were pitiful in 2014 and the Bannockburn Pinot included fruit from the close planted vineyards of ‘Serre’ and  ‘De La Terre’ . Winemaking  80% whole bunches used here, fermented  wild in 4 tonne open fermenters, and matured in new French hogsheads (30% New). After 12-months maturation the wine is racked and the returned to older barriques for 7-months further maturation, before bottling without fining or filtration. Layers and layers of earthy, plummy fruit matched to density and breed & complexity in the form of dark fruits and wild spice..Tannins here are firm and ageing is required. Quasi-Burgundian.

-3-   Bass Phillip Estate Pinot Noir 2014 (Gippsland) – $80 per bottle

Winemaker Phillip Jones is an old hand when it comes to minimal intervention Pinot Noir. A perfectionist who crops at 1.2tonnes/acre from this 22YO vineyard, that is planted in volcanic soils with silt and loam. This coastal vineyard benefits from sunny days and cooling late afternoon breezes from it’s proximity to the Bass Strait. Although a single vine at Bass Phillip barely makes half a bottle of wine, the highly perfumed nose, robust flavors, exquisite textures, profound complexity and minerality contained in each bottle provide a justification for this practice. The 2014 is the best yet!

-4-   Dalrymple  Vineyards Pinot Noir 2015 (Tasmania) -$29 per bottle 

 Dalrymple is owned by the Yalumba family and is located in Piper River Region of North East Tasmania (Tamar Valley). Vigneron Peter Caldwell served his apprenticeship in both Bordeaux & Burgundy and also spent a 10 year stint at Te Kairanga (NZ). The vineyard was established in 1987 and is planted on a steep hill 160 metres elevation that overlooks the Bass Strait Tasmania. This Pinot is a blend of Estate and Coal River Valley fruit and is exceptional value for money. The three S’s are in play here, Sweet, Savoury, Spicy (Chinese 5 Spice).

-5-   Giant Steps ‘Sexton’ Pinot Noir  2015 (Yarra Valley) – $50 per bottle

Steve Flamstead of Giant Steps is the current Australian Winemaker of the Year for 2016. Giant Steps produce four single vineyard Pinots  (Sexton- Generousity) , (Applejack- Powerful) , (Primavera – Savoury) & (Lusatia – Fragrance). The ‘Sexton’ and ‘Applejack’ vineyard bottlings are the first to sell out as they are both made in small quantities (250/cs). The ‘Sexton’ Vineyard is planted to the (MV6 Clone) which originated from Clos de Vougeot and adds structure to the wine. Winemaking here was 40% Whole bunches, wild yeast fermented, and matured for 11-months in French puncheons of which (25%) were new, before being gravity bottled. Rated 97 points by James Halliday.

-6-   Hoddles Creek ‘1ER’ Pinot Noir  2015 (Yarra Valley) – Sold Out

Owned by the D’Anna family and located in the Upper Yarra Valley (Victoria). The twenty year old vineyard (10ha) in size, is planted with 5 different Pinot Clones. Accent here is on terroir driven wines, and the ‘1ER’ Pinot is only made in exceptional vintages, and normally sells out within months of release. Here 20% whole bunches are used, and the Pinot is matured for a year in French oak (35% New) before being sent back to tank for a further six months ageing. This pretty Pinot shares lots of similarities with Chambolle Musigny, it’s mix of fragrant, flowery red fruits, and sharp detailed acid and tannins make it highly sought after. It is also a lot more affordable than fine Burgundy. Note the vintage 2016 will not see a ‘1ER’ Pinot made.

-7-   Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir 2014 (Mornington Peninsula) – $50 per bottle

Established in 1996 Kooyong Estate is the leading exponent of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on the Mornington Peninsula. Although Kooyong Estate produces three single vineyard wines, it’s the Estate Pinot Noir that is most consistently of high quality. All Pinot fruit comes from a combination of blocks (6.55ha) within the ‘Meres’, ‘Haven’, ‘Ferrous’ vineyards, and it’s this that gives it a broader representation of Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir.                             Fermented for 18-21 days with a small portion of whole bunches included, and matured in French barriques (25% New) for 9 months, before being transferred to large format foudres for a further 10-months ageing. The Kooyong Estate Pinot is an opulent, rich, heady wine, with masses of dark fruits, forest floor, herbs and earthen, smoky flavours from the use of stems. A truly complete Pinot Noir.

-8-   Oakridge LVS ‘Willowlake’ Pinot Noir 2015 (Yarra Valley) – $39 per bottle

 Winemaker Dave Bicknell makes two levels of high quality Pinot Noir. The flagship’ 864 Label’ reflects the Oakridge’s address though the fruit is sourced from other parts of the Upper Yarra Valley. The cheaper ‘Local vineyard Series’ LVS  for short, is made from the same Willowlake vineyard (planted 1979) as the ‘864’ but in larger quantities (500 c/s) and represents amazing value for money. Bicknell describes his winemaking as ‘Low-Fi’  where destemmed 100% whole berries, spend 20-days on skins with wild yeast, before being pressed to French oak (15% New), and remaining on lees for a further year. Bicknell neither plunges or uses pumpovers a hands off approach is fully utilized. Similar to the Hoddles Creek his is a fragrant, pretty, red fruited Pinot Noir with crisp acid & tannins and great length of purpose.

-9-  Stoney Rise ‘Holyman’ Pinot Noir 2014 (Tasmania) – $50 per bottle

Located in the picturesque Tamar Valley the estate vineyard (4500 vines per hectare) was planted in 1986. Owner Joe Holyman selects a small block within the vineyard (0.6ha) cropped at 2/tonnes acre for fruit for the ‘Holyman’ label. The ripest stalks were chosen to add (55%) whole bunches to the mix, and were cold soaked for 7 days, with natural yeast fermentation before maturation in French barrels (30% New). Vine maturity and the use of whole bunches, adds firm structure and tannin grip to this large scaled Pinot Noir. Bottled without fining of filtration.

-10-  10X Tractor  Pinot Noir  2015 (Mornington Peninsula) – $35 per bottle

 This is the entry level Pinot Noir from Ten Minutes by Tractor. The 10X Pinot Noir is combination of Estate and growers vineyards, (in regions Main Ridge, Merricks, Tuerong) where freshness and clarity are the aim for completeness. The 10X is cropped at 2/tonne acre from younger vines than upper level offerings, and sees less oak in the maturation phase. Like the Dalrymple this is all about the three S’s Sweet, Savoury, Spicy (Chinese 5 Spice), and a perfume that recalls Burgundy.  Great Value Pinot Noir!



We decided upon the 10 most undervalued Australian Reds based on the following 7 key criteria: -1-Brand -2-Producer History -3-Vintage -4-Critics Ratings -5- Production/Supply Availability -6-Comparative Price Analysis -7-Drinking Windows 

This method/criteria is widely used in the International Fine Wine market, to look for wines that are lagging behind their peers in comparative pricing, as it’s money (price) that tells us wether a wine is underrated or not.
From a collectors objective it’s better to buy these wines within a year of release, which results in paying a lot less in the future. As we do know, that future supply/demand imbalances will place greater pressure on current and future prices, and make these wines harder to source. Only the top vintages of 2010, 2012, 2013 were used for comparisons.

My Top 10 Most Underrated/Undervalued Australian Reds

In Alphabetical Order

-1- AMON-Ra  Shiraz by Ben Glaetzer  (Barossa Valley)
Ben Glaetzer has now released 12 vintages of it’s top Shiraz Amon-Ra. The maximum 1,000 case production is produced from exceptional fruit that is sourced from 80-110 year old vineyards. It is aged on lees for 14 months in 100% new oak; 95% French and 5% American, adding smoke, toast, cedar, brioche, notes of pineapple, which harmonises the fruits power further. The key to Amon Ra is the balance of fruit and tannin extraction.

The House of Glaetzer has a long history with the Barossa Valley, and couple this with exceptional Wine Advocate scores in 2010, 2012, 2013 the Amon Ra profile is growing. Production is a 1,000 cases per year on average and there is no intention of increasing volume. In the past year I’ve seen interest coming from Asia, and the Amon Ra  sells in the Asian, American, and UK markets at a premium price compared to Australia.

-2- Giaconda Estate Shiraz (Beechworth-Victora)
Rick Kinzbrunner sells his wines through an En Primeur system, such is forward demand.The Estate Shiraz is grown on granite/schist soils, inducing low yields.The ‘Estate’ is co-blended with a small portion of Viognier and whole bunches are used, too add perfume and lift. Maturation takes place in 40% new French oak for two years.

Giaconda has a huge reputation for first class wines. The 2013 Shiraz vintage was only the 5th release, and it’s profile is building. Production of the Estate Shiraz is 250-350 cases per year dependant on vintage. Due to sales following an En Primeur system, it can be hard to source from retailers, expect to pay $70-80 per bottle. It’s closest peer group would likely be top line Cote Rotie’s from the Northern Rhone, which fetch triple digit prices an upwards.

-3- Jamsheed ‘Garden Gully’ Syrah (Great Western-Victora)                                                      Winemaker Gary Mills started the Jamsheed label in 2003 with a focus on single vineyard Syrah, after a working stint at Ridge Vineyards, California. The ‘Garden Gully’ Syrah is produced from handpicked vines planted in the 1890’s in the Great Western region of Central Victoria. The soil profile here is (clay over ironstone) and the grapes are fermented as 50% whole bunches with indigenous yeasts and 40 day extended maceration. Maturation takes place in old hogsheads and puncheons and left sur lees for 10 months.

Labelled Syrah this wine takes it’s lead from the Northern Rhone. Quoting Matthew Jukes “If you love Clape, Chave or Rostaing you will fight to get a case of this wine.”
Established in 2003 the packaging is as smart as the wine, all 350 cases of it. A real velvet charmer, with vivid brambly fruit,olive notes and a fair kick of dusty tannins. It sells for $50-55 and comparisons to Northern Rhone Syrah, make this wine look undervalued. Will keep for 20+ years.

-4- Kalleske ‘Greenock Vineyard’ Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
In 2002, after 149 years of farming and grape growing by Troy’s family, Troy and his brother, Tony, took the next step and established the Kalleske winery. The 16 Acre Greenock Vineyard is grown in sandy loam soils over deep red clay, with yields of 1.5tonnes/acre.The wine spends 15-days on skins before it’s basket-pressed into a mix of 30% New French/American oak hogsheads for 18-months.

The 2013 was rated 98 points in Halliday’s Wine Companion. With production set at 1,400 cases per year on average, and I think a supply/demand imbalance in the near future will see it’s price rise from the current retail price of $40-45 per bottle.
It is pure slice of Barossa, with it’s powerful,chocolate, plum and fruit cake flavours married with solid structural tannins and long length. Will keep for 20+ years.

-5- Langmeil ‘Orphan Bank’ Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
The Lindner Brothers ‘Orphan Bank’ Shiraz is testament to Langmeil’s commitment to preserving old and rare Barossa vineyards. Ten rows of Shiraz planted pre-1860 were saved from the developer’s bulldozer and replanted alongside the original Langmeil vineyard on the banks of the River Para. The Lindner family’s vision is to highlight the rare qualities of old vine Shiraz using hands-on winemaking techniques. Gentle destemming, open fermentation, basket pressing and two years in 50% new French oak accentuate the natural fruit intensity and structure.

The switch to French barriques, has added an elegance to the ‘Orphan Bank’ which sells for less than half the price of the more iconic Langmeil ‘Freedom’ Shiraz. Production here is small, but brand recognition is the missing ingredient, that is likely to change as more vintages are released.
Juicy raspberries and Satsuma plum fills the mouth, with lovely oak sweetness adding to the mouthfeel. The fruit is wonderfully balanced with briary and white pepper spice and textured, fine tannins. In the top vintages like 2010,2012,2013 it has a 20-year drinking window.

-6- Leeuwin Est ‘Art Series’ Cabernet (Margaret River)
The “Art Series” represents Leeuwin’s most opulent and age-worthy wines and are identified with paintings commissioned from leading contemporary Australian Artists. The Horgan family set to work on a new vineyard programme to refine its Cabernet. The best batches of fruit come from their 38-year-old ‘Home Block’ vineyards, where the free-draining gravelly soils produce low yields, of optimum ripeness. The Cabernet is graded and blended, and spends 2-years in 50% new Alliers French oak.

The breakthrough 2010 vintage, topped the Decanter Magazine Australian Cabernet Tasting, rated Outstanding and 95+ Points and was included in Decanter’s Top 50 wines of 2014. When compared to market leaders Moss Wood & Cullen, Leeuwin still offers great value at it’s $60-65 price tag, and has strong brand recognition.

-7- Olivers Taranga ‘HJ Reserve’ Shiraz (McLaren Vale)
Started by their Great,Great,Great Grandfathers the Olivers have recently celebrated 170-years of continuous grape growing and family ownership. Fruit for the H.J. is sourced from a single block planted in 1948. The soon to be released 2012, will be the tenth release to date. It sees 50% new French Oak and spends 30-months in barrel.

The Taranga vineyard has 4 blocks of old vine shiraz that are part of the Penfolds Grange Growers Club, and in the 2009,2010,2011,2012 vintages were included in Penfolds Grange.
The Grange Factor can’t be overlooked if the fruit is this good, parallel thinking puts the ‘HJ Reserve’ in the seriously undervalued category, at $50-55 per bottle.
Corrina Wright Winemaker says of the HJ Reserve “Dark chocolate, violet florals, sweet spices, slight char and blackberry characters meld beautifully with the layers of fine grained tannins. Seriously generous and rich.” HJ Reserve Production is around 600 cases.

-8- Penfolds ‘St.Henri’ Shiraz (South Australia)
In the 1950’s John Davoren was tasked with fashioning Penfolds St Henri, created deliberately to challenge Penfold’s Grange. In total contrast to Penfolds Grange, St.Henri is matured in old 1,460 litre vats, which encourage the wine to display the fantastic fruit concentration that is derived from the vineyard’s old vines.
When you consider that a case of six St.Henri costs less than one bottle of Penfolds Grange this is one of the best Shiraz’s money can buy for only $75-85 a bottle, stunning, and hugely undervalued!

The wine has the potential to improve for 30 years in bottle and displays incredibly rich fruit with wonderful purity, expressing elegant blueberries, its tell-tale of flavours mocha, menthol and meat, with a touch of cedar, liquorice and wonderful sweet spice and leather. Vintages 2010 and 2012 are standouts.

-9- Shaw + Smith Shiraz (Adelaide Hills)
Shaw + Smith Shiraz is a medium bodied cool-climate Shiraz, in which balance is more important than power.The grapes are grown in free draining sandy loam over red clay soils with underlying quartzite and shale.
Hand picked, crushed and fermented on skins in small fermenters with hand plunging and gentle pumping over to extract colour, flavour and tannin. Then aged in French barriques with special care taken not to over oak the wine and maintain fruit integrity.

Great news from London… the 2012 Shaw + Smith Shiraz has just been announced as the ‘Best Australian Red’ and has been awarded 3 Trophies from the International Wine Challenge (IWC).The follow up 2013 has also been rated a huge 97 points by James Halliday. Priced at $40-45 per bottle this offers amazing value!

-10- Two Hands ‘Bella’s Garden’ Shiraz (Barossa Valley)
Two Hands Wines was founded in early 1999, with ‘Bella’s Garden’ being a blend of their finest barrels of Barossa Shiraz. A grading process often sees 30% of production declassified to maintain quality. each block of fruit is vinified and aged individually, prior to blending. Aged for 18-months in French oak with 16% being new. Production is 3,500 – 4,500 cases per year, most of which is exported to the USA and World markets.

On 4 seperate occasions the ‘Bella’s Garden’ Shiraz has ranked in The Wine Spectator Top 10 wines of the year. It sells in the USA, Asian, and UK markets at a premium price compared to Australia, largely due to it’s lower domestic profile. Will cellar for the required 20-years, with vintages 2010, 2012, 2013 as standouts.

‘Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia’ poured at George Clooney wedding!

Last month’s news event that attracted the world’s media attention was certainly the ultra-glamour wedding between Hollywood’s George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin, which took place in Venice on 29 September. The iconic super-star not only choose a location in the ‘Bel Paese’, but showcased “Made in Italy” at the wedding banquet as well, where his VIP guests savoured Italy’s nec plus ultra of culinary expressions, with wine, of course. Inspired” by the great Ornellaia’s Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia was liberally poured for the guests.The wine was matched with Tagliato (fillet) of chianino beef with porcini mushrooms, anna potaotes & green figs.

2012 LE SERRE NUOVE dell’ORNELLAIA/BOLGHERI D.O.C. ROSSO- $95 per bottle (Limited Stocks)
James Suckling – Rated 93 Points
45% Merlot – 41% Cabernet Sauvignon – 9% Petit Verdot – 5% Cabernet Franc
“Lots of ripe-blackberry, mineral and dark-chocolate character. Hints of rosemary and dark licorice as well. Full body with a dense, chewy mouthfeel and a long finish. It’s very structured and powerful. Hints of walnut and chocolate on the aftertaste. Second wine of Ornellaia and what a wine. Try after 2019.”

DOMAINE FAIVELEY 2012 Grands et Premiers Crus – LIMITED OFFER

An Extract From The 2012 Burgundy Special Report – by Tim Atkin MW – £12
Domaine Joseph Faiveley was founded in 1825 and is one of the largest domaines in Burgundy and today the seventh generation of the family, Erwan Faiveley runs the domaine.
With 120 hectares of prime vineyards, spread out over 15 villages from the Côtes de Nuits to the Côte Chalonnaise. Typically, more than 80 percent of the wines produced by Faiveley come from the estate vineyards, while the rest is sourced from quality growers with long-term relationships. Faiveley’s 2012’s were vinified with a percentage of whole clusters but most of the fruit was destemmed.
An Extract From The 2012 Burgundy Special Report – by Tim Atkin MW – £12
“Very happy with the quality, less so with the quantity.” Eric Rousseau’s description of the 2012 Burgundy vintage is succinct and largely correct. This was one of the smallest vintages on record, especially in the Côte de Beaune, but the top wines are very special indeed and are right up there with the best of 2005, 2009 and 2010.”

Domaine Joseph Faiveley 2012 Premier Crus

Domaine Faiveley, Gevrey-Chambertin PC Clos des Issarts
(half of these vines are 40 years old) – “A monopole situated close to Mazis-Chambertin and Les Ruchottes, this 0.5-hectare vineyard is planted north-south (rare in these parts). It’s fine, fresh and sweet, but with an undertow of tannin and considerable depth of flavour. With neighbours like those, it’s hardly surprising. Fresh and very long.” 2016-26
Rated 96 Points

Domaine Faiveley, Gevrey-Chambertin PC Cazetiers
(just 50% of a normal crop in 2012) – “Every bit as good as the release from Armand Rousseau (and that’s high praise from me), this is the best value wine at Faiveley, according to Erwan Faiveley. It’s a winning combination of sweet, refined fruit, nuanced tannins, subtle oak and haunting, cool climate perfume with a finish that lingers on the tongue.” 2016-2025
Rated 95 points

Domaine Faiveley, Gevrey-Chambertin PC La Combe aux Moines
“Colder than Les Cazetiers, which is not the warmest site in Gevrey itself, this is one of the last vineyards to be picked by the Faiveley team. It’s fresh and even slightly reticent, with some notes of tangerine, red fruits and cool, pomegranate-like acidity. Gevrey in its most elegant form.” 2016-2025
Rated 95 Points

Joseph Faiveley, Chambolle Musigny PC Les Charmes
(from purchased fruit) – “One of the few top wines at Faiveley that doesn’t come from the company’s own mouth-watering line up of vineyards, this is strikingly aromatic with notes of watermelon and red berries. The palate is fine, even charming, with exotic fruit sweetness, silky tannins and a long, satisfying finish.” 2016-2026
Rated 96 Points

Joseph Faiveley, Chambolle Musigny PC Les Amoureuses – Not Available
(from purchased fruit; just two barrels of this juice; the fruit was destemmed by hand but not crushed) – “Made with 100% whole bunches in 2012, this is a concentrated Les Amoureuses that was a little backward and reduced in barrel. It’s quite tannic for a Chambolle, too, but the fruit beneath the carapace is sweet, plush and scented, with raspberry and redcurrant flavours combining winningly on the palate.” 2018-2028
Rated 94 points

Domaine Faiveley, Chambolle-Musigny PC Les Fuées
“From a very small parcel that touches Bonnes Mares (not a bad neighbour to have) this is was made without whole bunches in 2012, this is a Chambolle with more texture and weight than some. It’s still perfumed, all wild strawberries and raspberry sweetness, with good freshness and zip and a complex, nuanced finish.” 2016-2025
Rated 96 Points

Joseph Faiveley, Chambolle Musigny PC Les Beaux Bruns
(from purchased fruit) – “Made for the first time in 2011, this is a beautifully delineated Chambolle from one of its less well-known Premiers Crus. It’s the kind of wine that’s a textbook example of what the village produces: silky, fine-boned and hauntingly perfumed with supple raspberry and red cherry notes and polished tannins.” 2016 -2025
Rated 96 Points

Domaine Faiveley, Nuits-St-Georges PC Les Damodes
“So close to Vosne-Romanée that it borders Les Malconsorts, this is a wine that almost belongs in Vosne rather than Nuits, at least stylistically. Made with 10% whole bunches for the first time in 2012, it has a little bit of Nuits wildness and slightly firmer tannins than most Vosne. Densely coloured and quite oaky right now, it needs time.” 2016-2025
Rated 94 Points

Domaine Faiveley, Nuits-St-Georges PC Les St Georges
“In their hometown, the team at Domaine Faiveley has done justice to this, the best of the Nuits Premiers Crus. This is quite oak, but there’s a lot of wine to emerge once that has settle down. Balanced, refined and very mineral, with limestone sap and freshness and sweet berry fruit supported by medium-weight tannins.” 2018-2028
Rated 95 Points

Domaine Joseph Faiveley 2012 Grands Crus

Domaine Faiveley, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze GC
“Faiveley has three parcels in Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, two of which go into this wine and one of which is bottled separately as Les Ouvrées Rodin. They are both exceptional wines. This the lighter of the pair, but it’s still a dense wine: very pure and focused with fine tannins, sensitive use of oak, velvety fruit sweetness and a taut finish.” 2018-2030
Rated 98 Points

Domaine Faiveley, Chambertin-Clos de Bèze, Les Ouvrées Rodin GC – Not Available
(this special cuvee is made from the southernmost of Faiveley’s three parcels in Clos de Beze; five barrels, three of them new; 1,500 bottles produced) - “This parcel has been made and bottled separately since 2009 and runs to all of four barrels in 2012. It’s similar in style to the “regular” release but has a little more of everything: more perfume, more fruit, more structure, more finesse and more complexity. It’s one of the wines of this or any other vintage in Burgundy, a subtle, aromatic Pinot Noir that’s almost a work of fine art.” 2018-2032
Rated 100 Points

Domaine Faiveley, Mazis-Chambertin GC
“Richer and rounder than the Latricières from the same stable, this is also easier to appreciate young. The oak is scented and well integrated, complementing the rose petal and violet aromas. The palate has quite serious tannins but these will soften over the next five to ten years. Another deliciously appetising red.” 2018-2028 Rated 96 Points

Domaine Faiveley, Corton GC Clos des Cortons
“Typically of Corton, this is quite tannic in current, youthful state. It’s also quit marked by new oak. But this monopole vineyard wine has a lot of potential, with fresh acidity, firm, focused fruit flavours, good length and a note of dried herbs. Very true to its terroir, and comparatively reasonably priced, too.” 2018-2028
Rated 95 Points

Domaine Faiveley, Latricières-Chambertin GC
“In a year that has seen some very impressive wines from Domaine Faiveley, this is one of the finest reds in its portfolio. It’s still quite tight, but it’s sweet and concentrated and hauntingly refined, with sap and focus, some Asian spices, subtle oak and a chalky, refreshing, pomegranate-like finish.” 2018-2028
Rated 98 Points

Domaine Faiveley , Clos de Vougeot GC
“Made with fruit from three parcels within the Clos, two of them in the wetter soils near the route nationale, this gives the lie to the line that the best wines only come from the upper slopes. This is aromatic and fine, with the weight and focus you expect from a top Clos de Vougeot, good freshness and red fruits’ succulence.” 2017-2026
Rated 97 points

Domaine Faiveley, Echézeaux GC
(from a warm southern exposure in the lieu-dit En Orveau: aging in two-thirds new oak) – “So close to the Combe d’Orveaux that it’s almost in Chambolle-Musigny, this is a lighter style of Echézeaux with the charm and sweetness of its neighbouring village. Perfumed, focused and refined, it’s fresh and long with appealing red fruits’ sweetness and bright, sappy acidity. Not profound, but very drinkable.” 2016-2022
Rated 96 Points

2012 Domaine Faiveley, Musigny GC – Not Available
(there’s just a single 150-liter Francois Freres barrel of this juice; vinified with “semi-whole clusters,” according to Hervet; 13% natural alcohol) - “Good full red. Extravagantly complex, very ripe nose offers exotic cherry and raspberry liqueur, mocha, orange zest, blood orange and sweet oak scents. Almost painfully dense and concentrated, with an impression of sappiness that transcends pinot noir. Thick as a solid but with incredible energy. With its slowly building, utterly palate-staining length, this wine seemed thicker in my mouth after I swallowed it. Hervet expected to bottle this wine before Christmas while waiting three or four months for most of the other grand crus.”
Stephen Tanzer International Wine Cellar – Rated 96-99 Points

These wines are produced in extremely limited quantities.All wines are 12x750ml unless otherwise stated. Wines will be available for invoicing from Friday 18th of August 2014.

Decanter Magazine Declares Barossa Valley 2010 a superb vintage!

Illustrious, exalted, revelation,eminence, pure escapism, fine and rare.

Pictured Rockford Black Shiraz (Disgorged 2010) – Photo Courtesy of Alex H W Khoo

Decanter Magazine UK – South Australian Shiraz Article # April 2014
“The 2010’s Barossa Shiraz were just insane, having lovely, elegant balance, and the best wines shone for control of power, with acidity and tannin working in harmony. They’re exploiting their best asset, which is some of the oldest Shiraz vines in the world. I think some of the 2010s will last 30 years, no problem.” Brett Crittenden (International Wine Judge)

In the latest April 2014 Issue of the Decanter Magazine three U.K. based wine critics have praised 2010 Barossa Shiraz, unanimously proclaiming this a superb vintage!

These old vine reds offer another option to the dominance of the ‘Old World’ as the benchmark for collectible luxury red wines that can live and cellar for 20 years or more! And at a price that is still relatively affordable, in comparison to the best reds from the ‘Old World’.
What few remaining stocks of this classic vintage now hitting the market, will be snapped up by high-end restaurants, smart collectors, and connoisseurs, who will buy as much as they can afford, of the big Barossa names, from 2010.
The wine educated understand that in the future these wines will be hard to source, and will make part of a perfect wine cellar/investment/collection, just like the last previous stellar vintage 1998.

My Top 10 Barossa Valley Reds from the 2010 vintage

In Alphabetical Order

1. Clarendon Hills ‘Liandra’ Syrah 2010 – Sold out                                                                                       
Owner/Winemaker Roman Bratasuik established Clarendon Hills in 1990, with a dedication to single vineyard terroir wines that would rival the best in the world. Robert Parker  latched onto the wines early, and they quickly attracted global aficionados & collectors. The grapes are all hand-picked and pruned – wines are matured in mostly new Burgundian Tronçais barriques and bottled without fining or filtration to capture the individual character of each vineyard. Here Old-World Winemaking meets New World fruit.                                                     The ‘Liandra’ vineyard is 25-years-old and is Clarendon Hills classified as (Premier Cru). It sits alongside it’s sibling the ‘Moritz’ vineyard which is older 60-years+ and is also classified as (Premier Cru). The sandy soils of the ‘Liandra’ site, typically expresses itself with florals, apricot stone fruit elements and smokey bacon, adding to the plush flavour intensity, ripe tannins and good acidity. If the ‘Liandra’ is reminiscent to Côte-Rôtie, then the ‘Moritz’ is more like Cornas with it’s leathery/meaty/earthy flavours. From the illustrious 2010 vintage, this bottling is fine and rare! A do not miss for all collectors!

2.Elderton ‘Command’ Shiraz 2010 – Sold out
Nuriootpa based family owned winery. The ‘Command’ is from a single estate vineyard planted circa 1894 (centenarian vines) on original rootstocks. Celebrating the 25th release of the ‘Command’ Shiraz from these 120-yo-vines, this rich and generous shiraz spent 30 months in a mix of USA and French oak puncheons.The Ashmead family believes the 2010 Command is up there with other pinnacle vintages. Note there was no 2011 Command produced due to the poor vintage. Bottled under Screwcap – 14.8%-ABV Rated 95+ points by The Wine Advocate.

3. Henschke ‘Mount Edelstone’ Shiraz 2010 – Sold out
The Eden Valley Mount Edelstone vineyard was planted in 1912, with the vineyard being managed with organic/biodynamic practices, and yields here range from 0.5 tonnes/2-tonnes per acre.
The higher altitude Eden Valley vineyard has leaner, rockier soils, that lead to energy, elegance and restraint in this Shiraz.Aged for 2-years in a mix of 65% French – 35%  USA Oak with 90% being new the Mount Edelstone Shiraz recently celebrated it’s 50th anniversary release.
The absolute quality of Henschke’s 2010’s are exquisite, and magnificent, expect a real potpourri of Asian spices, sandalwood, blackcurrant, bramble, and graphite oak. They really do let this centenarian vineyard tell the story of terroir and vintage. 14.5%-ABV Bottled under Screwcap.

4. John Duval ‘Eligo’ Shiraz 2010Sold out                                                                                                                                      
John Duval was the former Penfolds Chief winemaker, and for 16 years was custodian of the Penfolds Grange. The experience of having completed forty vintages in the Barossa Valley, lends weight to his comments on the quality of both the 2010 and 2012 vintages.
He departed Penfolds in 2002 too set up his eponymous wine label.The 500 case Reserve ‘Eligo’ represents the best barrels of Shiraz that he makes during vintage and is sourced from several (100-yr+) vineyards in both the Barossa Valley & Eden Valley. Maturation takes place in French oak (80% new) for a period of 20-months.
Duval aims to make elegant, richly textured Shiraz that sits in the blackberry/blueberry fruit spectrum. 14.5%-ABV- Bottled under cork. Rated 98+ points by The Wine Advocate.

5. Penfolds ‘Bin 389’ Cabernet/Shiraz 2010  - Sold out                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     A 51% – 49% blend of Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz. This multiple Trophy Winner and not strictly from the Barossa Valley, with only a portion of the fruit coming from the Barossa. Matured for 14-months in new (40%) and 1 and 2 year-old American oak hogsheads. In 2010 this release was extraordinary, with it’s rich palate of cedar oak, dark chocolate, cassis, violets and subtle hints of mint. A dark soulful beauty that will keep for decades. 14.5% ABV- Bottled under Screwcap.

6. Penfolds Cellar Reserve ‘Kalimna Block 25′ Mataro 2010   - Sold out
The Penfolds Cellar Reserve ‘Kalimna Block 25′ Mataro 2010 is from a single 50-yo-block within the famed Kalimna Barossa Valley vineyard.Winner of Best Red Wine at the London U.K. Wine Trade Fair 2012.
The Cellar Reserve label – established by Peter Gago as an ongoing project – is a range of handcrafted, limited production wines, created in the spirit of innovation and diversity. Deep and plush with classical lush blackberry jam, spice minerally aromas and flavours. Bottled under Screwcap – 14.5%ABV.

Peter Gago- (Penfolds Chief Winemaker) “When 2010 Penfolds Grange arrives, I think it will blow all before it for a decade or two out of the water!

7. Penfolds ‘St.Henri’ Shiraz 2010 – Sold out                                                                                                                                   
This is 100% Shiraz, with a significant proportion of the fruit coming from the Barossa Valley in 2010. Sadly the 2010 has long since sold out, but it shone with it’s liqueured fruits, wild raspberry, praline, almond, dark plum and mocha/coffee grinds, luxuriousness.
The first commercial release of St.Henri was in 1957 as has always been ranked second in the totem pole of Penfolds Shiraz reds enabling it second pick of the best completed Shiraz barrels . Unlike most Penfolds reds, it does not rely on new oak, instead it’s matured for a year in old (1460 litre vats) that allow the wine to develop with minimal oak influence.Bottled under Screwcap 14.5%ABV – Rated 97+ points by The Wine Advocate.

8. Torbreck Vintners ‘Runrig’ Shiraz 2010  – Sold out                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The 2010 was awarded the perfect 100 point score by the influential USA Wine Advocate Magazine. The name originates from the practice of Highland clans using a “RunRig” system to distribute land amongst their clansmen in a series of widely dispersed holdings.
Here Shiraz from old dry grown vineyards (60-140YO) is blended with viognier,complementing the strengths and complexities of these individual parcels of fruit, whilst giving the resulting wine a further dimension.
Each of the eight parcels of fruit were gently destemmed into both wooden & concrete open top fermenters where they were carefully nurtured for 6-7 days on skins. After basket pressing the wine was run directly into both new and old French barriques where they spent 30 months with one racking.
Possessing a dense, saturated, almost ink like hue, the aromas of black raspberries, crème de cassis, smoke, graphite and melted tar soar from the glass. Full bodied with great intensity, amazing freshness and extraordinary concentration, the multi-layered palate displays the fruit purity that only the most fastidious farming can achieve.Tissue Wrapped,Cork Closure. (15.5% ABV)

9. Rockford ’Basket Press’ Shiraz 2010   - Sold out                                                                                                                        
Fruit for this highly regarded Australian shiraz is sourced from 30 local Shiraz growers, with the vines ranging in age from 60-140-years-old. Handmade in the traditional style, using the original basket press, it’s deep, brambly aromas of dark cherries, blueberries, blackberries, sweet coconut ice/vanilla oak overlie meaty, smoky and slightly reductive complexity. This quintessential Barossa Shiraz is highly prized and collectible within Australia. 14.5% ABV- Cork closure.

10. Rusden ‘Black Guts’ Shiraz 2010 - Sold out
Owner/Winemaker Christian Canute is a 6th generation Barossa grape grower who trained at Rockford winery.His ‘Black Guts’ bottling is produced from a blend of two individual blocks within his 40 acre vineyard.
The first block planted in 1959 is cropped at 1/tonne acre, here the soils are dark clays and the Shiraz produced is rich in fruit and tannin. The second block grown on the sandy sub soils of the Eastern Barossa foothills, offers perfume and natural acid to the blend.
The vines are hand-picked, and open-fermented, basket pressed, with the juice fermented on lees in 100% AP Johns new oak (seasoned for 3-years). This method of maturation and malo in barrel on lees, gives the finished wine a creamy, silky feel in the mouth, too counteract the depth of fruit. 14.5%-ABV- Bottled under cork

Penfolds Peter Gago Talks Grange with China based Drink Magazine Asia

The Penfolds chief winemaker talks about Grange, blending, terroir and not being fooled by fashion. By Dan Bignold of Drink Magazine Asia 11th February 2014.
Link Here to:


DRiNK: What is the Penfolds house style?


PG: It’s a template: physiologically ripe fruit; generosity of fruit, but not overly ripe, not overly alcoholic; sweet mid palate; and that propensity to age. That is the same for all Penfolds reds, not just Grange. It’s a structural pursuit; it’s also a flavour pursuit. Many people refer to Penfolds as being a new-world winery but with an old-world feel. And what they mean by that is the structure and the ageing of old-world wines, but why it’s different is because of its accessibility in youth. With Grange and all Penfolds you get the choice to drink now or drink later.


DRiNK: How do you make Grange?

PG:在制作葛兰许时,我们关注的是创造一种有口感个性的葡萄酒,而不是创造一个配方。与之相似的例子有香槟区库克酒庄:他们酿制的是一款能体现酒庄风格的酒,像是Clos du Mesnil blanc de blancs。他们会混酿各种年份酒,而多数时候他们会将各种葡萄品种混合在一起。奔富所做的也是一样:以葛兰许体现酒庄的标志性风格。但是没有两个葛兰许年份酒会有相同的味道,或是相同的陈化适饮期,因为作为原料的葡萄是在每年都在变化的气候条件下生长的。但是我们酿酒理念不会改变。

PG: In the case of Grange we are creating a wine made to the stylistic template of Grange. Not a formula. So in effect it’s a house style of Grange, made by Penfolds. Another example is the House of Krug in Champagne. Now, they will make a single vineyard expression – such as Clos de Mesnil blanc de blancs – or they will make a blend of vintages, a grande cuvee, or they will create a vintage, and most of the time they will blend grape varieties. At Penfolds we are doing the same sort of thing. We are creating a house style that is Grange, but no two vintages will taste the same or age the same, because the raw material grew up differently in the vineyard, as a grape, in different climactic circumstances each year. But the way we make the wine doesn’t change.


The broad selection starts in the vineyard. Take the Magill Estate vineyard as an example. That is picked across three days. Three blocks will be made into wine separately. They will go into eight fermenters. Quite often two of those fermenters will be relegated. But one might be elevated, to go into selection for Grange. Then the remaining wine will be blended to produce a single vineyard expression. For the wine that is elevated, it is what deserves to finish its fermentation in barrel. You need to get that colour and flavour first, but unlike the wines of Bordeaux, we don’t keep the wines on skin – we take off the skins to complete their fermentation in seasoned new oak barrels. After that there might still be 140 wines.


We then put the blend together in a very different way. We select the wines blind. No one knows where they come from. We smell and taste them and decide if each one comes up to Grange standard or not. It’s very simple. It keeps you honest. We don’t know the vineyard or the variety or the volumes. It takes out two biases, emotive and financial. “Wouldn’t it save us a lot of money if the fruit only came from Penfolds vineyards, and not from independent growers?” And emotive because you want to help the independent vineyards – you’ve worked together with some of them for a long time. And that’s why the volumes of Grange vary from year to year, and why the percentage of cabernet varies from year to year.

于是我们接下来为葛兰许选酒,再为我们别的珍藏酒选酒——Bin 707,然后是圣亨利,然后是RWT——然后第二天我们为Bin 389选酒。389里还是有些最好的设拉子和苏维翁,只是没有用于葛兰许而已。这是一种层级式的选择方式,所以到了第五、六、七天我们可能就在为Koonunga Hill选酒了。这就是我们葡萄酒的生产过程。由于奔富现在是佐餐酒,我们以珍藏酒开始,葛兰许最先,然后是从上至下的金字塔配酒方式。越到下面选酒的基础越宽广。

So we then select wines for Grange, then our other reserve wines – Bin 707, then St Henri, then RWT – and then on day two we do Bin 389. That’s still some of the very best of shiraz and cabernet going into 389, it just didn’t make it into Grange. It’s a cascading selection, so by day five, six, and seven we might be looking at Koonunga Hill. And that’s the way the wines have evolved, by the way. It’s the modern era of Penfolds as table wine – we started with the reserve wines, Grange came first, and then it was a top-down approach. The base broadened over time.


Incidentally, for Grange, the average volume is 7-9,000 9L cases per vintage. That is less than half the volume of a first growth from Bordeaux. People ask why we don’t increase it. But we can’t. We could do that for a while and live off past glories, but that’s not the way we do it. We won’t go there.


DRiNK: Is it the same process for all wines?

PG:还是有些例外的。Bin 389是苏维翁-设拉子混酿,所以苏维翁的比例必须占到51%。而Koonunga Hill是设拉子-苏维翁混酿,所以设拉子比例为51%,但最多可以占到80%。所以每年的变化会很大,但是最重要是只要酒符合Bin 389或Koonunga Hill一贯的风格就可以了。

PG: Well, there are some specifics. So with Bin 389 it is a cabernet-shiraz blend, so it must be 51 per cent of cabernet in the blend. But Koonunga Hill is a shiraz-cabernet blend, so that must have at least 51 per cent shiraz. But it can have as much as 80 per cent shiraz. So there can be huge variation each year. The most important thing is just as long as it has that Bin 389 style, or the Koonunga Hill style.


DRiNK: What does cabernet bring to Grange?


PG: When we make the selection, of the physiologically correct grapes, and when we finish the ferments, some of the cabernets are muscular, dark and, in fact, they look a lot like shiraz. You really don’t know what you are tasting. And so those make the selection. You are not selecting that component because of the varietal, but because it is Grange-like.


But stepping back, what it does bring is some more variety to the mix, more complexities that oftentimes don’t unfurl or manifest themselves for many years. But stepping back again, it does offer tannins, and structurally binds up the palate a little. And it’s offering not just cassis, or other things we associate with cabernet, but characters or colour that maybe the shiraz is lacking in that given year. But the wine is not selected because it’s a cabernet.


DRiNK: What were some of the climactic differences between the vintages we tasted at the Rewards of Patience tasting?


PG: We consider 1996 a year when all the stars aligned. We were able to pick perfect physiological fruit with slightly lower alcohol. We didn’t have to work too hard. In 2008 we had to work. In 1993 it felt like we were in the winery 30 hours a days. But 1996 just felt right, it was that sort of vintage. But it’s all about personal preference. Some people might like the 1993 because it’s more “Rhone-like”. Some people like the 2008 because they like the vivacity of youth. It could have been a challenging year for some people because there were 16 days of heatwave. But, as it turns out, it became a classic vintage. It’s done remarkably well. It got 100 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown.


We can do this because we have a remarkable resource. If it’s a difficult year in Barossa, we can go to Coonawarra. But underlying is always that house style. In 2002, it was not the coolest year, but it was one of the coldest. In 2001 we had our warmest summer since the 1920s. How does Penfolds react? We shop around. In many ways if you ever find a RWT shiraz, seek out 2002. It’s a warm climate wine in a cooler year. That’s often what the smart money looks for. So in 2002 for Grange we went to Barossa and Maclaren Vale. In hot years we will go south to Padthaway, Robe and Coonawarra.


DRiNK: Is it fair to characterise the Penfolds style as championing blending over terroir?


PG: You can’t be all things to all people – but we try. The three wine styles that we make – red, white and fortified – cover all of that. If we just had the original Penfolds vineyard, at Magill Estate, every second sentence would be terroir. But now we have that wonderful choice, so we dabble in a lot of styles. In music, a soloist playing as a virtuoso or a whole orchestra – which is best? The objective is to offer choice. That is the huge operative word here. Sometimes single vineyard appeals, sometimes the whole orchestra.

当然,在2013年时兴单一地区、单一葡萄园甚至单一地块。但是葛兰许不是这样的酒。某一年葛兰许可能含有89%的巴罗萨,9%采自克莱尔谷,而2%来自马格尔庄园用于平衡。当然,我们也有专注于单一葡萄园的葡萄酒。今年我们会发布我们170周年的纪念版葡萄酒Bin 170。这款酒我们之前只发布过一次,在1973年。这款酒不只是来自卡里姆纳的单一葡萄园这么简单,而是来自单一区块Block 3C。所以说我们也会做这样的酒,但那并不是葛兰许。

Of course, it’s fashionable in 2013 globally to go to regions, to go to vineyards, go to blocks. But that is not what Grange is all about. One year Grange might be 89 per cent Barossa, 9 per cent sourced from the Clare Valley, and the balance 2 per cent from Magill. Of course, we have other wines where we zoom in on the vineyard. We will have a commemorative wine Bin 170 coming out this year for our 170-year anniversary. We’ve only released a wine by that name once before, in 1973. For this wine, it’s not just a single vineyard wine from Kalimna, but from a single block – 3C. So we do that sort of thing as well. But that’s not Grange.


There are religious things we can’t change like Grange, 707 and St Henri. We still make Grange to the template of Max Shubert, the original winemaker who created Grange. We have made more modern styles – RWT shiraz, which is single region, French oak matured, all of that – but without compromising our other wines such as Grange. It’s not arrogance. It’s a matter of being honourable to what this wine is. I am sure in the 1960s St Henri became less popular when everyone wanted new oak. But we didn’t change it. It’s the most old-fashioned style of shiraz in Australia. Matured in large old vats – “foudres” – and not extracted, not pumped up in alcohol. It is an old style, but it will never go out of fashion. Will Beethoven or the Beatles go out of fashion? You might not like them, but they will always be respected. Thank goodness that Latour and Lafite don’t change every year. The masthead of the New York Times hasn’t changed since the American Civil War. It means it can’t be affected by ego or what’s the latest or the biggest or the best.


So we haven’t changed St Henri either, it’s still unencumbered by oak. The tannins only come from skins and seeds of the grape. Attacks the mouth differently. But a good vintage of St Henri will last as long as Grange. In fact the 1971 St Henri in some parts of the world costs as much, if not more than the Grange.


DRiNK: Penfolds has a strong heritage of innovation, especially in the 1930s and ‘40s, with winemaking developments that influenced the modern Australian industry right up to the present day. What innovations are taking place now?

PG:创新从未停止过。比如在珍藏系列中使用黑皮诺和桑娇维塞,以及酿造珍藏系列的方式。我在九十年代中期有了这个想法,精酿的葡萄酒,不用过滤和加工,使用一些在三十年代他们都叫不出名字的葡萄。但我们也会到未来,并带回来琼瑶浆和赛美蓉。Ampoule计划也非常令人印象深刻。我们在莫斯科Baccarat夜总会发布这款酒的时候获得了全世界的关注。Bin 620在上海华尔道夫的全球发布也是一样,而这款酒只做过两次,分别在1966年和2008年。或是我们刚发布的50年陈的茶色波特,装在漂亮的手工玻璃瓶里。加强葡萄酒是我们十九世纪五十年代的产品,但和现在并不一样。所以创新从未停止过。

PG: The innovation has never stopped. For example using pinot noir and sangiovese in our cellar reserve range, and the way the winemaking in that range works – I came up with that in the mid-90s, handcrafted wines that are unfined and unfiltered, with obscure grapes varieties they couldn’t even spell in the 1930s. But we have also gone back to the future, and brought back a gewurztraminer and a semillon. What’s also hugely impressive is the Ampoule project; that created worldwide news when we launched it at the Baccarat Club in Moscow. Or the arrival of Bin 620, with a global launch at the Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai. There were only ever two made, in 1966 and 2008. Or the 50-year-old tawny that we have just launched, in a beautiful handcrafted bottle. Fortified wine is was what we were doing in the 1850s, but not like this. So the innovation hasn’t stopped.

但在另一方面,人们又对过去的一切产生了狂热。所以也有满足这种需求的Bin酒项目。比如1962年的Bin 60A,澳大利亚最著名的酒,只有在2004年做过另一次。当时我们酿出了难以置信的好酒,我征求了业内资深人士的意见,而他们告诉我去做。我们已经有了葛兰许和707,所以这款酒不能影响到另外两款。葛兰许永远是第一位的。比如1990年我们做了很棒的Bin 90A和920。707和圣亨利也是相当好的酒。所以年份好的时候你可以做许多事情。

But in the other lane is a fervent respect for what has gone before. So there are these special bin projects. The 1962 Bin 60A, for example, the most famous wine in Australia – there was only one other made in 2004. We had an incredible wine and I called in the tribal elders, and they said go for it. We’d already made Grange and 707, so it’s got to be wine that won’t compromise those labels. Grange will always come first. In 1990, for example, we made a great Bin 90A and 920. The 707 and St Henri are also some of the best. So in a great year you can make lots of things.


Remember, however, that we can package our wines with beautiful words. But these wines will follow you through to the grave. So a quick grab for headlines? No, sorry. We are thinking of the next 170 years. The good wines are good for business. But you can’t afford bad wines, which is why the volumes vary each year, especially in the bad years.

Australian Old Vines – Part One & Two

As Published 2013 on The International Fine Wine Investment Community website based in Hong Kong.

“Old Vines aren’t good because their old, their old because their good.”

Rob Gibson -Gibson Wines & Ex-Penfolds Growers Liaison Officer (Barossa Valley)

What are classified as old vines?
Incredibly Barossa Valley has 500-plus growers and more Old Vines than any other wine region in the world. These designations are now part of the Barossa Valley Old Vine Charter; set up to recognise the heritage of these National treasures, that represent a piece of Australian living history.

  • (35YRS+) Old Vines
  • (70YRS+) Survivor Vines
  • (100YRS+) Centenarian Vines
  • (125YRS+) Ancestor Vines

Australia largely missed the ravages of Phylloxera, resulting in surviving vines that date back to the 1840’s, most descending from the original rootstocks, that were first brought from Europe (Rhone Valley) as cuttings.

These vineyards ‘Old Gardens’ as they are affectionately known by the growers, are predominately planted too Rhone varietals (Shiraz/Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre/Mataro, Cinsault), and were largely used in the making of Fortified wine until the early 1980’s.

With the trend in the 1980’s toward drinking the noble varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon & especially Chardonnay) the Australian Government initiated a ‘Vine-Pull Scheme’ which paid growers to scrub up these uneconomic and out of fashion old vines, and replant new Noble varieties. The thinking being that old vines from the age of (30-35YRS) produce lesser yields, which meant less money for grapes that were usually paid for by the tonne.

Many acres were lost, with some growers stepping of the land, and leaving the vines to abandon, others scrubbed-up the old-vines without replanting.

The 1980’s witnessed the emergence of three pivotal wineries, (Peter Lehmann, St.Hallett & Rockford that shaped the resurgence in Barossa’s fortunes. Owner/Winemakers Peter Lehmann & Robert O’Callaghan, borrowed heavily to invest in new start-up wineries, and assured local old vine growers there was a market for their grapes. The Lindner Family (generational Grape Growers) & Bob McLean of St.Hallett’s marketed the now famous St.Hallett ‘Old-Block’ Shiraz which debuted in 1982, and promoted the old vine Shiraz of the region.

Why old Shiraz vineyards are highly sought after?

“At 50-60-Yrs of age a vine knows how much fruit to carry, and this is what provides the balance in old vines.”
Paul Lindner – Langmeil Winery (Barossa Valley)

As vines get old yield decreases, their root mass many metres deep, often means these vines are grown unirrigated, and are able to withstand the extremes of heat and drought better than younger vines.

Many winemakers believe you get more of a Wow factor from old vines! As smaller yields & berries lead to more balanced tannins. The structure of old vine Shiraz is often more comparable to European reds (than the regular Barossa bottling) with the resulting wines being more layered in texture, flavours, complexity & length. And most importantly a restrained richness and concentration can be achieved without over extraction.

Australian Old Vines – Part Two

Why the additional cost?

Well the ‘Old Blocks’ (vineyards) require hand-tending of the vines, hand-picking, & are hand-crafted as natural & traditional as possible. Many of these top Shiraz are produced in small quantities, are ‘more collectable’ being hard to purchase off the shelf, they also offer an option for extended cellaring.

How is old vine Shiraz showcased?

“Power should be hidden in a wine, not obvious! The hard thing is to take powerfully flavoured grapes and make complex, discreet wine”

Robert O’Callaghan -Rockford Winery (Barossa Valley)

Old Vine Shiraz is traditionally showcased by most Australian producers as a multi-vineyard blend,
Eg: Penfolds ‘Grange’ Shiraz, where each parcel of Shiraz is fermented separately and blending happens only after maturation. Most winemakers believe this gives them a more complete ‘layered’ wine, and more options for consistency & complexity.

Some producers prefer to express the old vines, soil & exposures of site, as a single vineyard wine, the most famous Australian example being Henschke’s ‘Hill Of Grace’ Shiraz.

Which quality old vine Shiraz is worth collecting?

“The winemaking approach at Penfolds is the stamp that distinguishes its wines”
Robert Parker (The Wine Advocate)

I have hand-picked a selection of twelve old vine Shiraz that I strongly feel are worth collecting.
Most are from small-production, family-owned Australian wineries, they also represent historical importance, Some still fly under the radar, wine heritage/pedigree. & produce world-class wines.

Established all represent the essence of old vine Shiraz, excluding the crop of Shiraz that already have International fame. ‘Cult’ Australian Shiraz like Torbreck ‘The Laird’, Clarendon Hills ‘Astralis’, Chris Ringland Shiraz & the Iconic Penfolds ‘Grange’ & Henschke ‘Hill Of Grace’ need no introduction.

The reward of drinking, the term collectible excites the wine lover/collector & in Part 3 I’ll focus on the up-and-coming stars.

In Alphabetical Order

My Top 12 Most Collectible Old Vine Shiraz

  1. Ben Glaetzer ‘Amon-Ra’ Shiraz  (Barossa Valley)
  2. Elderton ‘Command’ Shiraz  (Barossa Valley)
  3. Henschke ‘Mount Edelstone’ Shiraz  (Eden Valley)
  4. Jasper Hill ‘Georgia’s Paddock’ Shiraz  (Heathcote)
  5. Kalleske ‘Johann-Georg 1875 Vines’ Shiraz  (Barossa Valley)
  6. Kay Brothers ‘Block 6′ Shiraz  (McLaren Vale)
  7. Langmeil ‘Freedom 1843 Block’ Shiraz  (Barossa Valley)
  8. Penfolds ‘St.Henri’  Shiraz   (South Australia)
  9. Peter Lehmann ‘Stonewell’ Shiraz  (Barossa Valley)
  10. Rockford ‘Basket Press’ Shiraz   (Barossa Valley)
  11. Torbreck Vintners ‘Runrig’ Shiraz  (Barossa Valley)
  12. Wendouree Shiraz  (Clare Valley)