(2017) The recently launched 'Max's' range from Penfolds is of course an homage to Max Schubert, the first Chief Winemaker for Penfolds, and the man who created Grange. As is usual with so many of Penfold's premium wines, fruit is sourced widely across South Australia, and the wine is aged 24 months in older American and French oak barrels, with about 10% in new French oak. It's made to be accessible early, but it is still a wine with a bit of grip and structure, the plush blackcurrant and blueberry aromas framed by sandalwood and vanilla, before a mouth-filling palate of sweet fruit but with a bittersweet twist of liquorice acidity and tight, grippy tannins as well as a touch of alcoholic heat. A few years in the cellar will do this no harm.
(2017) 40% Grenache, 33% Shiraz and 27% Mourvedre. A dry, lightly leathery and gravelly character with small redcurrant and black fruit dryness. The palate has a fine, racy profile, spices and crunchy acid against quite sweet, but agile and savoury fruit. Drinks easily but well.
(2017) Much bigger, creamier and more chocolaty than the GSM, with coffee and spice richness and forward character. Deliciously creamy, certainly adding texture and creamy oak richness. Lovely, straightforward but delicious.
(2017) Nero d'Avola made in amphorae, and from organically grown grapes, with six months on the skins. Really nice sweet fruit, with a ripe blueberry dark sweetness. very smooth tannins, staying bright and focused, with a tight juiciness that's beautifully tapered.
(2017) Chocolate and coffee, lots of clove and cinnamon spice of American oak. the Shiraz is ripe and black plummy, a really big chocolaty palate but the Sangiovese does add a cherry brightness. A plush and beautifully bold and welcoming style.
(2017) Delightful herbal and lightly earthy nose, with a sappy and supple fruit, a little nuttiness and that fine dry cherry fruit. Some light and shade to this, the oak adding some spice and vanilla towards the finish, and deliciously gluggable.
(2017) A longer growing period, slightly lower alcohol and slightly higher acidity than normal. A blend of 44%, Grenache, 33% Syrah, 23% Mourvedre. Has plenty of chestnutty, gently meaty character with a plummy black fruit and touch of exotic almost peachy character. Moves into a sweeter fruit profile on the palate, with a nice stripe of red liquorice brightness and spices into the pretty, elegant finish.
(2017) A hotter, bigger vintage. Much creamier and with a fatter black fruit but still a little ashy and smoky lift, that touch of meatiness. The palate again so sweet, plush, the tannins tight, structured and fresh acidity makes it very easy to drink, but firm at the core. A touch of that floral character on the nose also appears in the finish.
(2017) 61% Grenache from Blewitt Springs sandy soils that usefully make the vine struggle a little, around 30% Shiraz and 10% Mourvedre. Lovely bright red fruit opening, with a touch of herb and floral lift, very fresh and appealing, with hint of nutty Grenache dryness. On the palate really dry, a nice herbal streak to the small dry red fruits.
(2017) Almost all Grenache, just a splash of Shiraz "to tempt the naysayers." Bright, a touch of schisty, characoally, watercolour paintbox dry lift, some spice too with a well-tempered palate, riven with a lemony acidity, a very fine and long line to the palate, with the lightest palate of the four so far, easy on the finish.
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