For a generation of wine lovers, Penfolds is an iconic Australian name. In the 90’s and early aughts, Bin 28 was a gateway wine, introducing many customers to quality, affordable Aussie expressions. When those palates matured, Penfolds Grange provided a popular entrée into the world of premium cuvées from Down Under.
But, time change and this week, the seminal Aussie brand rolled out a range made with California grapes. (To be exact, the range also features some Aussie -Cali blends, more on that later.)
“Penfolds got its first taste of California sun in the 1990s, with Geyser Peak,” senior winemaker Stephanie Dutton told the Robb Report. The publication explains that after some test purchases, Penfolds planted grapes in Paso Robles. Some experimental vintages were produced, but the winemakers did get close to their standards for release until 2017. When, quality was finally attained, the project got real.
The new California Collection includes four cuvées. With a MSRP of $700, the Quantum Bin 98 is the top of the range big Cabernet Sauvignon featuring the afore-mentioned transoceanic Cab blend. Bin 149 is big on the titular numerals. 149 represents both the wine’s MSRP and the 14.9% of Australian Cab also blended with the California Cab.
Bin 704 ($70) is a US homage to Penfolds’ classic Bin 407; in the newer expression, the varietal is Napa and Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. Bin 600 ($50) is a melange of Cabs from NoCal as well as Paso Robles Shiraz.
In an interview with Wine Spectator, winemaker Peter Gago expressed hope for consumer acceptance of the new range. “It took 11 years for the Grange to be acknowledged,” he said. “I’m hoping it takes 11 days for these”