The SOMM Journal

December 2017 / January 2018

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Page 28 of 124

28 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2017/2018 { steven spurrier's letter from london } THE PENFOLDS COLLECTION is a fam- ily of fine wines, with each displaying its own distinct character and quality. Together they are a testament to the enduring "House Style" and winemaking philosophy Penfolds has proudly upheld since 1844. "To all in our team, this collection reflects a continuum of vineyard and winery effort across vintage, region, and climate," said Penfolds' Chief Winemaker Peter Gago as he presented the wines in London on September 14. "At the heart of our philosophy is balance." The wines are listed in order of tasting. WHITE Bin 51 2017 Eden Valley Riesling Lovely floral white fruits on the nose; pure, clean and just beginning to open up on the pal - ate. Fine vigour and citrusy acidity that will age well to 2023. Alc. 12.5, acidity 7.3 g/l, pH 3.16. 90 Bin 311 Tumbarumba 2016 Chardonnay Fine pale lemon yellow; some florality, but yellow fruits dominate. Batonnage gives an added richness but doesn't cover the finesse; slightly lean style from 500M vine - yards and still very young. 2019-25. Alc. 12.5, acidity 6.9 g/l, pH 3.21. 92 Reserve Bin A 2016 Adelaide Hills Chardonnay Fine pale gold; more bready and broader style to Bin 311, yet with a flinty/mineral finish. Chablis 1er Cru profile, still very tight. 2019-26. Alc. 13.5, acidity 6.8 g/l, pH 3.14. 92 Yattarna 2015 Chardonnay From 84% Tasmania fruit and 16% Adelaide Hills. Fine lemon yellow, good florality, and charm with hints of dry honey; a fine, linear wine of undeniable class, racy acidity, and length. To 2026. Alc. 13%, acidity 8.1 g/l, pH 3.17. 96 RED St. Henri 2014 Shiraz Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, Southern Fleurieu, Wrattonbully, and McLaren Vale. Just 4% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 12 months in 50-year-old large oak vats. Deep garnet red, rich, and full. This smoky Shiraz is more elegant/feminine than expected: smooth and very pure with lovely natural extrac - tion, balance, and length. To 2035. Alc. 14.5, acidity 6.3 g/l, pH 3.66. 95 Magill 2013 Estate Shiraz From the Magill Estate just eight miles outside of Adelaide; vinified at the original 1844 win- er y and aged 18 months in new French and American hogsheads. Dense black red with a big, meaty Cabernet nose, but there is some florality to come. A pretty massive wine, but all natural depth; needs ten years to reach its peak to show true complexity. 2019-33. Alc. 14.5, acidity 7.2 g/l, pH 3.52. 96 RWT Bin 798 2015 Barossa Valley Shiraz 16 months in French hogsheads, 83% new. A dense black red and quite smoky Shiraz with a slight blackberry Cabernet edge; a lot more elegant than expected at first. Chalky tannins, very well balanced, and will show well soon. 2018-30. Alc. 14.5, acidity 6.8 g/l, pH 3.61. 95 Bin 707 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Padthaway; 20 months in new American hogsheads. The deepest dark red with a very Cabernet nose, and American oak shows in the richness that smooths out the dense concentration. Big and smoky but still quite shut in, with a depth of quality so high it needs to be cellared; a great wine. 2025-40. Alc. 14.5, acidity 6.8 g/l, pH 3.65. 97 Grange 2013 Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, and Magill Estate; 20 months in new American hogsheads (a hogs - head is 300 litres, compared to a barrique of 225 litres). Rich, dense red with lots of earthy depth on the nose; surprisingly floral and even a touch of vola - tile acidity ("Up to 1% VA ener- gises the wine," Gago says). Still in its youth but total balance is there; a little chocolatey on the palate, very elegant, and almost calm for Shiraz. A pure and power- ful wine of very great quality. 2019-50. Alc. 14.5, acidity 6.8 g/l, pH 3.65. 98 Tasting Through the 2017 Penfolds Collection by Steven Spurrier The Penfolds Cellar in Australia.

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