Penfolds are peaking
PENFOLDS. Penfolds. Penfolds, how do they do it?
After the media hype that surrounded the 2010 and 2012 red wine vintages, I had no great expectations for the 2013 releases.
Penfolds recently hosted national wine press to a preview of mid-October release wines and my tasting notes didn’t make sense.
In puzzlement I left the Magill Estate restaurant halfway through the tasting, quietly dragging Penfolds’ senior red wine maker Steve Lienert with me.
I quietly asked him how it could be that these shiraz were stunning and many the best ever.
Lienert just smiled confidently and said “we believe that, as a group, this is Penfolds’ greatest release ever”.
The mystery had been explained and we both walked back into the tasting.
There is no mistake, 2013 is a great shiraz vintage for Penfolds.
By the third 2013 wine I found myself expecting fruit-driven, long and restrained wines of freshness, purity, intensity and real appeal.
Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2013 is a magnificent ripe, soft, gentle, plush and velvety triumph with a degree of perfectly judged restrained and friendly plumpness.
It is youthful and fruit-driven with inspiring use of texturing oak and an archetypal Barossa shiraz, bringing a mouth full of joy.
The best Bin 150 ever, 18.8 points and $79.
Despite the perhaps slightly over-the-top adulation heaped on the wonderful 2010 vintage which was very good, the Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2012 is better.
Soft, dense, gentle, ripe and restrained, it is balanced with great length and an almost imperceptible lingering aftertaste.
The best ever? Probably and is 18.8 points, $99.
Magill Estate Shiraz 2013 is extraordinary and the superlatives are in context.
This too is soft, long and gentle where the oak adds a velvety plushness to the all-encompassing and enveloping shiraz fruit.
It has fine and restrained American oak and enormous length where the finish and aftertaste are those of a great wine.
Categorically the best Magill Estate ever at 19 points and $150.
Penfolds winemaking team members are justifiably happy with themselves.