Thursday, March 1, 2012

Penfolds 2012 Collection - New Releases

I thought I be early this year and avoid any other influences.

In a nutshell, I was bowled over by these wines. They are very different from the wines of the past years: The fruit is fresh and dominant, oak is much more in the background than before, and elegance dominates tannin strength. Yet the structures in the wines made for aging are still there. This is pretty much true across the board. I think this is both as a result of more 'normal' vintages as well as a shift in winemaking.

The 2009 Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz is a very complete wine. It is the most robust of the range, with a lot of complexity on the palate. Black fruits, chocolate, some meaty flavours (not burnt). The tannins are firm, but much finer than in previous years. This is a very good value proposition and the wine of choice for Barossa Shiraz drinkers. It drinks well now, but will improve with age for many years (93/+++).

The 2010 Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz is not as big. The fruit is plum, very clean, with eucalypt flavours as well. The wine is delicate and lifted. The wine is elegant, whereas the emphasis of the Bin 28 is power. Yin to the yan (92/+++).

The 2010 Bin 138 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre is dominated by Grenache this year (50%). Penfolds always lists the grapes in order of their percentage contribution. In previous years, Shiraz and Mourvedre have both been dominant. This is quite a complex wine, with raspberry, blueberry and praline characters, probably courtesy of the Grenache. However, I find the follow through on the palate a bit thin and not as refined as in the other wines of this line-up (91/0). Penfolds has not got the GSM quite right yet, in my view.

The 2009 Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon cannot hide its Coonawarra component - the eucalypt is  immediately noticeable on the nose, but not dominant on the palate. The wine is medium weight with blackberry fruit characteristics. It has, unfortunately, a weakness on the mid-palate before it leads to a smooth finish (92/+).

The 2009 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz showcases a perfect integration of Cabernet and Shiraz. If you wanted to demonstrate what this blend can do, use this wine: the Shiraz component fills out the middle, the Cabernet Sauvignon carries the taste to a satisfying end. Yet, the two components are perfectly integrated, indistinguishable. This wine has a beautiful structure, it is elegant, actually a little sweet, and the fine tannins linger for long. While the blackberry flavours dominate now, this wine will gain complexity over time and mellow beautifully (95/+++).

You have been quiet on this blog for some time. Let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

I think you mean 'bowled' over, not boiled!

Tasted the 389 and 407 at DM's this afternoon.

Taste like Penfolds; harsh tannins on the 407; the 389 more rounded and deeper (naturally) but...Penfolds house style rules again. What vintage? Doesn't matter, really, does it?


Alontin said...

I know what you mean, anonymous. Thanks for writing in. I really felt they were different this time.

Did you want them to be the same or did I want them to be different?

Sean Mitchell said...

Good write-up too. I agree with your thoughts that it seems a better line-up this year with some good wines among them, particularly I thought the 389 and the 407.