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The Penfolds Collection 2022

With the release of The Penfolds Collection 2022, Langton’s looks at the headlines and considers what this release means for Penfolds and the jewel in its crown Bin 95 Grange in a vintage where expectations were out of this world.

Explore our Penfolds Portfolio now.

 

While there’s plenty to talk about, The Penfolds Collection 2022 release has proved to be a Grange year. It might even be one of those Grange years. With three confirmed 100-point reviews on release and more perhaps to follow, the 2018 Bin 95 Grange is an all time wine from Penfolds and a future member of the great vintages hall of fame for Australia’s flagship wine.

 

The Penfolds Collection 2022 Top Six

The Penfolds Collection 2022 Top Six

 

Each Grange release (or record sale for that matter) is the subject of media attention. For Austalians, Grange is more than a wine; it is a luxury bellwether–the price of milk for the 1%. The 2018 vintage has hit the RRP milestone of $1000. That’s a recommended retail price from Penfolds whereas merchants on the retail side will go a little short of the boilover four-figure sum. Indeed, Langton’s sells more Grange than anyone by sailing so close to the wind.
‘...the winds of change are blowing’
And the winds of change are blowing. Penfolds, jolted by geopolitics, have regrouped and refocused. A new look to much of their branding (Venture Beyond) and experience marketing is based on some very old identity principles–they’ve found their voice by remembering who they are. Terroiristes, they are not. Or, at least, not typically. Penfolds are perfectionists. They look to produce flawless wines in the glass rather than tell the truth of the dirt where the vines grow. Thus are the reputations of Champagne, the Douro, and Bordeaux built and blended. A house style, a practice or a philosophy, call it what you will, Penfolds wines are just that, Penfolds wines.
The Penfolds portfolio shows off the reach of their production as well as their ambition. Multi-region blending is what Penfolds is perhaps best known for in terms of winemaking. Taking the fillet of each region in South Australia alone seems like a quaint and arbitrary limitation. We’ve already seen their sights expand nationally with Yattarna, Penfolds exemplary Chardonnay bringing together Adelaide Hill and Tasmania (and formerly Tumabrumba).
‘somewhere in Magill there is a note which reads ‘WWT’...’ 
The Penfolds Collection 2022 presents blends with parcels from Napa and Bordeaux in the shape of the FWT 585, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. This is a nod to the RWT (Red Winemaking Trial) Bin 798, a perfectly sensible winemaker shorthand that the marketing mandarins at Penfolds turned into an effective narrative. It would not be too much of a stretch to imagine somewhere in Magill there is a note which reads ‘WWT’ or World Winemaking Trial.
Grange was a trial wine, and the story is well known. So too was Yattarna. While the heritage of Penfolds Grange reaches back to the first experimental 1952 vintage, legendary winemaker Max Schubert’s vision began with an inspirational pilgrimage to Bordeaux and the Rhône in the years prior. From then, Grange built a reputation as Australia’s dry table red par excellence.
However, it wasn't until Wine Spectator named the 1990 Grange the World Wine Of The Year in 1995 that Penfolds became a household name. Like many cultural achievements in Australia (and fine wine must be amongst our best), it took the acclaim of others from elsewhere to change our perception of the wine from the benchmark red into an undisputed icon.
Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine 7th Edition

Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine 7th Edition

 

Langton’s, founded in 1988, published the first Classification of Australian Wine in 1990 and Penfolds Grange topped the list even then. Today, in the 7th edition of the Classification, Penfolds Grange still tops the list after more than 30 years and leads the Penfolds stable with the greatest number of Classification entries–ten wines in total.
The rise of Langton’s and Penfolds are intertwined. Grange dominates the secondary market in Australia (DRC’s Romanée-Conti is second place) and therefore leads the top Exceptional category of the Langton’s Classification along with 21 other wines. While they all share the same designation, primus inter pares doesn't quite cut it, Grange is No.1.
‘...one of the most exciting wines in the collection, every year’
In our article on the Top Six of The Penfolds Collection 2022, we give the 2020 Yattarna Bin 144 her due. It is perhaps merely a case of this is the way things are. Grange is the king, emperor, dictator perpetuo and first consul for life. But ‘White Grange’ (there are those marketing mandarins again) or, as we know it, Bin 144 Yattarna Chardonnay is the queen. It is one of the most exciting wines in the collection, every year. The deck of reds gets a shuffle every year as to which wine will be lauded and laurelled. A Bin 389 year, ‘Penfolds value shines’, a St Henri year, ‘French oak has the wood over the American’, but when will it be Yattarna year? 2020 had a shot but the particulars of barrel and bottle ageing has served up one of the best Yattarnas to date in a year Grange flexed its muscles and roared its dominance. There’s hardly ever enough Yattarna to go around and perhaps that—its being snapped up by wise collectors—is the demure extent of the homage.
The Penfolds Collection 2022 arrives during a time of economic uncertainty. And while some may baulk at four-figure Grange setting the trend on price (and doing media sub editors work for them) there is something to consider. With patience and a good cellar, Penfolds wines are near as bulletproof as any wine out there. Part of the reason Penfolds wines perform so well at auction through the vintages, is their staying power in the bottle. From Bin 28 Kalimna up, opening a 20 year old (or more) bottle of a Penfolds red should be an ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ moment. Anything else, anything less than stellar, should draw questions of how the wine was kept rather than how it was made.
‘...Penfolds don’t do things by halves.’
While we tend to steer clear of investment advice, our Penfolds Rewards of Patience auctions consistently drive interest and demand. Buying wine at auction carries the caveat emptor, and people trust Penfolds wine to go the distance. Grange tends to draw big scores on release, but give it (and many of the Penfolds stable) a quarter century and 100 points, like their South Australian vision, might seem quaint, and Penfolds don’t do things by halves.


Explore our Penfolds Portfolio now.

 

Further Reading

The Penfolds Collection 2022 Top Six

The Penfolds Collection 2022 Top Six

Here we present the wines that stood out and those that you should add to your cellar.

Penfolds California: Are They Dreaming?

Penfolds California: Are They Dreaming?

The most noted name in Southern Hemisphere wine has looked to the Northern Hemisphere.

James Halliday’s favourite Penfolds bottle of all time

Q&A: James Halliday’s favourite Penfolds

James shares with us some insights from his decades as Australia’s wine oracle.

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