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Penfolds Wine Tasting

Posted by Ms. ilovewine on 2004-06-27 23:50:03 (3663 views)

A member's review of the Penfolds Wine Tasting at Martin's Wine Cellar in Metairie, Louisiana

This event was a wonderful opportunity to taste many of the Penfolds wines side by side, while having the Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago, relate the history and evolution of the Penfolds wines. Some of the explanations ranged from the single vineyard, single district to the multiregional wines.

The historical reason for the Bin numbers was a point of interest… Consider the winery began operations back in the mid 1800’s; storage facilities were underground due to the hot Australian summers. Located at the end of an underground tunnel would be a numbered “Bin,” which was used for safe cellaring of the wine, hence the significance of the names.

A discussion ensued on the popular use of screw caps in Australia. Penfolds has been testing this method for over 30 years with some of their wines, without any of the related cork problems. According to Peter, the wines have aged beautifully. Many of their lower end wines currently use the screw cap closure.

The Penfolds Re-Corking Clinics were explained. They offer, at scheduled times in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, a free re-corking clinic for bottles of the 1988 vintage or older. Here is a link for the Penfolds Re-corking Clinic, and here is an article explaining the re-corking clinic procedure in detail.

Each individual wine was tasted and discussed as a group. Explanations were given for the use of new oak versus old oak, and American oak versus French oak for each particular wine during the fermentation process. An interesting tidbit learned; French oak is more expensive to use due to the higher wastage, since it has to be split and not sawed. If the wood is sawed, there is a higher incidence of the barrels leaking.

Following the tasting, everyone had the opportunity to personally meet Peter. I was also able to get a bottle of the 1999 Grange autographed.


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