Wine Nine
    Category: Forbes Life By : Justin Doebele Read : 1033 Date : Friday, September 09, 2016 - 00:21:33

    Ardiles Rante for Forbes Indonesia

    Few new world winemakers are more storied than Penfolds out of Australia. Its roots hark back to 1844, making it one of Australia’s oldest wineries. By the 1920s, Penfolds accounted for half of all wine sales in Australia. As with many Australian winemakers, its original wines were mostly fortified wines, popular at the time.

    Then Penfolds began to pioneer premium wines, creating the precursor to the Grange in 1951, which would go on to become Australia’s most celebrated (and expensive) wine. Today, a single bottle of Grange can easily fetch anywhere around $1,000 (or more). A bottle of the original 1951 vintage sold for about $38,000 in 2004, making it the most expensive bottle of Australian wine ever sold (only 20 are believed to still exist).

    “Apart from Qantas, I can’t think of a more global Australian brand than Penfolds,” says Patrick Dowling, a winemaking ambassador for Penfolds, based in Singapore. It is a truism that Penfolds helped upgrade the reputation of Australian wines from drinkable quaff into vintages that steadily climbing in quality, starting to draw favorable comparisons with the best of old world wines.

    Patrick made his comments during a visit to Jakarta to introduce the Penfolds Bin 9 to the Indonesian market. Penfolds’ signature naming style is the Bin system, standing for Batch Identifcation Number, indicating an area in the cellars where the wine was historically stored.

    Bin 9, like many of Penfolds’s wines, is a singular varietal, Cabernet Savignon, blended from grapes sourced across vineyards across Australia, with a significant portion coming from the celebrated McLaren Vale. It is then aged for a year in barrels that are roughly half new and old French oak. Meant to be drunk now, Bin 9 can also be cellared to allow its flavors to mature, with peak drinking up to 2025.

    As for the taste, it has the deep complexity of many Australian Cabernets, with berry and apple notes, followed by herbs, tomato and some spice. Overall, it is a balanced and medium-bodied wine, with some soft tannins. Bin 9 is a good example of Penfolds’ new direction, producing wines moving up the quality chain. “Penfolds is placing itself in the luxury space in the future,” says Patrick. However, Patrick is quick to note that Penfolds is still has a wine for everyone. “Penfolds is a wine you can drink from your student days up to the highest end,” he says. With Bin 9, Penfolds continues the tradition of building its brand as the leading ambassador for Australia’s growing clout in the global wine market.