Penfolds releases their prestigious wines in two batches. The premium releases in early March, the super premiums on 1 May. Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago went uncharacteristically gaga over the 2010 wines and wine writers followed over the last few days. Phillip White disagreed and found too much oak in the wines. I tried three of the wines yesterday.
The 2010 wines are characterized by a very appealing purity of fruit. The fruit is intense, yet not overpowering, and generally in harmony with the structure of the wines. I found the oak to be much less prominent than in previous years, partly because of the intensity of the fruit. The wines are even elegant on release. In this sense there is less traditional Penfolds DNA in these wines, rather an evolution to better early drinkability without compromising the ageability of the wines.
The 2010 Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz, drawn predominantly from Barossa fruit, shows intense blackberry and plum fruit. The tannins are firm and the finish dry, but there enough fruit flavour to balance this out. This is a robust wine and clearly the value for money pick (93 points).
The 2010 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz delivers beautifully elegant fruit on the palate. The wine is very rounded, yet complex, with mocca flavours supporting the primary dark plum and blackberry fruit. The wine moves seamlessly down the palate, before it finishes with fine tannins. Balance, balance is the word (95/++ points).
The 2010 Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon has quite a floral bouquet. The wine is incredibly smooth, yet intense and clean. It has a beautiful long finish based on fine tannins. This wine was the real surprise to me in this line-up. The quality is a major step-up from previous years. There is no green or overripe fruit in this wine. It is very drinkable now, but will develop for a decade and last for at least another (95/+++ points).