Penfolds needs little introduction – it is one of Australia’s most celebrated wineries, with their flagship Grange consistently raking in acclaim.
Just like major fashion houses, they drop collections each year, with 2019’s release also marking Penfold’s 175th anniversary.
2019 sees bottles from across four vintages between 2015 and 2018. With Penfolds, there’s no avoiding the topic of its celebrated Bin 95 Grange, which – in today’s single vineyard-obsessed zeitgeist – remains massively collectible.
This year, Penfolds releases the 2015 Grange, a vintage described by noted wine critic James Suckling as a “powerhouse”. Other highlights include the 2017 Yantarra, a Chardonnay originally created as a white that could play in the same leagues as the Grange; as well as 2017’s BIN 789 RWT Barossa Shiraz.
For everything else, we spoke to Sam Stephens, Penfolds Wine Ambassador.
What do you think are the bottles with the most cellaring potential for the 2019 release?
Naturally, the 2015 Grange shows the amazing cellaring potential the wine is known for, I would say this vintage could last for up to 40 years. We are lucky however that many of the other wines also possess the structure and complexity to develop in the cellar; my other three tips would be the 2016 St Henri Shiraz (up to 30 years), the 2017 BIN 798 RWT Barossa Shiraz (up to 25 years), and the 2017 BIN 389 Cabernet Shiraz (up to 20 years).
What does this year’s Grange add to the current lineup of back vintages for collectors?
The 2015 Grange we have released this year is one of the more powerful expressions from the last decade and will give collectors another vintage that will cellar for decades and deliver richness and intensity whenever it is opened. The Penfolds house style means that we try to keep consistency from year to year and the 2015 vintage was great, making it a classic year for Grange.
Have changing weather patterns affected these recent vintages? How so?
We have definitely seen more weather extremes occurring across the world in the last couple of decades and Australia is no exception. At Penfolds we are fortunate that for most of our wines we have always used multi-regional sourcing, which means we blend our final wines from different areas with different climates to add complexity and to maintain consistency of quality.
This means that in hotter years we can draw more from cooler regions and vice versa in cooler years. This has given our wines an almost inbuilt protection against weather extremes. Climate change remains a grave concern though – we take sustainability very seriously and do everything we can to minimise our impact on the environment.
Penfolds’ 2019 Collection is available from The Cellar.