Penfolds was founded by an English doctor who emigrated to Australia in the 1840s. A great believer in the restorative powers of wine, Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold began growing vines from French cuttings he had brought with him at his home, The Grange, on the outskirts of Adelaide. The business has since grown to become one of the top wine companies in the world.
Most of the wines are produced from a variety of vineyard sources rather than individual parcels. Penfolds are masters of creative blending. Grange is the jewel in the crown, with an eye-watering price tag to match, such is demand for it from enthusiasts, collectors and investors. Grange is primarily shiraz sourced from Barossa and McLaren Vale, aged in American oak with a small amount of cabernet sauvignon. It is powerful, dense wine that becomes incredibly complex with age.
RWT is 100% classic Barossa shiraz aged in French oak. RWT stands for ‘Red Winemaking Trials’ but there is nothing experimental about this wine which comes only second to Grange in the Penfolds hierarchy. St Henri Shiraz is a counterpoint to both of these in that it is an alternative expression of the grape - unusually for a premium Australian red it is aged in large old barrels. The only single-vineyard wine is Magill Estate Shiraz, from the estate where the Penfold family settled in 1844. The Bin-labelled wines can be outstanding and are often classics in their own right. White wines at Penfolds were historically never as significant as the reds but have steadily gained in importance in recent years. For more affordable ranges from the Penfolds stable the Koonunga Hill and Rawson’s Retreat ranges deliver consistency and value at their price levels.