Photography by Penfolds
05 July 2018
Penfolds is picking up where previous generations left off; enter Penfolds Special Bottlings: a new range inspired by founders, Mary and Christopher Penfold; pioneers who dreamed big, and had ambition and determination. It is with this ongoing spirit of ingenuity, curiosity and experimentation by the Penfolds winemakers past and present, that our innovations continue to come to life.
Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker said, “Our winemakers, past and present, have continued to forge new paths with various fortifieds, table wines and spirits.
“The Penfolds Special Bottlings program offers an opportunity to continue the experimentation that started 174 years ago with the infamous tonics of Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold. And, watch this space – I’m particularly personally excited by a third Special Bottling, a Champagne.”
On release, two products will be available, with more to follow. The first is Lot. 1990 – A Pot Distilled Single Batch Brandy.
James Godfrey Penfolds Global Fortified and Spirits Winemaker said, “Brandy (and spirits) connect us to our past and our fortified winemaking tradition. Our long fascination and curiosity for various spirit methods and different approaches has provided a diverse legacy from brandies and sherries to port styled fortified dating back to the late 1880s.
“With this brandy we hope to have blown away the cobwebs of preconception and create a brandy like no other. A liquid that delivers vibrancy and freshness to the palate.”
Placed in oak in 1990 the Penfolds’ Brandy has been slowly maturing for nearly three decades, developing and evolving in barrels, some of which were also used to mature offerings like Grandfather Rare Tawny and Penfolds Chardonnay. To finish, a splash of Grandfather Tawny liqueuring was added. The result: a flavour profile as distinctive as your fingerprint. Lot. 1990. RRP AU$425 is available through Penfolds Cellar Doors and in select global travel retail outlets.
The second product scheduled for release in September 2018 is Lot. 518 – A Spirited Fortified Wine with Baijiu.
“We have always added a distinctive spirit to give a unique house character to our fortified wines, so it seemed natural to revisit the past with a twist – and reinvent a wine for today.
“This experimental hybrid embraces Baijiu – a clear Chinese spirit distilled from fermented grain – which may not seem like the most obvious fortification partner for our Australian Shiraz, but that’s the point,” said James.
It is no secret Penfolds’ wines are highly respected and popular in China. Penfolds first started trading there in the early 1900s. James Godfrey also has a personal connection and fascination with Shanghai, China as his grandfather lived and worked there, and his father was born there.
During the evolution phase James visited various Baijiu distilleries to get closer to the spirit making process and define how he wanted to make Lot. 518. Lot. 518 – A Spirited Fortified Wine with Baijiu is fueled by fascination and almost two centuries of spirits and fortified wine expertise. Lot. 518 RRP AU$150 is available from August 2018.
The third release into Penfolds Special Bottlings continues exploration and experimentation. To mark the company’s 175th anniversary in 2019, they will release the third Special Bottling, a Champagne.
In addition, the Penfolds Winemaking Team will now bring the best of the best Napa Valley grapes to its stable, crafting authentic Penfolds wine styles from the California 2018 harvest onward. This builds on a proven and credible pedigree that dates back to vine cuttings brought to Adelaide by Dr Christopher and Mary Penfold in 1844, and more recently Kalimna cuttings taken to Camatta Hills vineyards in California in the 1990s. The aim is to add outstanding California-sourced wines to the Penfolds’ offering by fiscal 2022.