Wines: Penfolds wine celebrates 175th anniversary with RWG

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 18, 2019.

A display of Penfolds’ range of wine at The Olive on Saturday.

Aevum Service Ritual offering a bottle of 2012 Grange together with a St Louis-made handblown crystal decanter.

-A +A

Penfolds, a familiar name to Australians, recently gathered guests from around the world to celebrate its 175th anniversary with a Penfolds Wine Dinner at Resorts World Genting (RWG). The menu was crafted by Chef Ridzuan at The Olive, and paired with Penfolds’ range of wine.

In an exclusive interview with The Edge Financial Daily, Penfolds’ brand ambassador for Southeast Asia, Middle East and Africa Sam Stephens spoke about Penfolds’ intriguing history.

“It all started with Dr Christopher Penfolds and his wife Mary, from the UK, who had immigrated to South Australia in 1844 with the idea of continuing his medical practice while still managing to grow his interest in winemaking”, says Stephens.

Penfolds brought with him to South Australia cuttings of Shiraz, Grenache and Mouvedre from the Rhone Valley, Southern France and it was at the Magill Estate in Magill, South Australia where the couple planted the cuttings.

“Dr Penfolds provided every patient he saw with a small glass of fortified wine, and with that his customer base grew — the fortified wine was a hit with the patients that they came back not for medical advice, but to purchase the fortified wine. This fortified wine is known as the Penfolds Father Grand Tawny 10 Years Old, the most famous wine in Australia”, says Stephens.

The night also saw some of Penfolds’ (the brand) rarest items auctioned off — the Aevum Service Ritual offering a bottle of 2012 Grange together with a Saint Louis-made (oldest crystal makers in France) handblown crystal decanter, and a bottle of Penfolds’ g3. The g3, a first for Penfolds, is a multi-vintage blend of dry red wines, namely the vintages of Grange 2008, 2012, and 2014 with only 1,200 bottles available worldwide with 12 in Malaysia.

The celebration began with the 2015 Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling, a pale straw-coloured Riesling that smells of lemongrass and coriander followed by lemon/lime citrus and freshly harvested straw. This made it very enjoyable with the first course of shellfish and cod ceviche with poached clam.

The second wine of the night, Penfolds’ 2016 Max’s Chardonnay, had a pistachio nougat-like creaminess with upfront oak tannins and long, lingering acidity combined to create an enticing “grip”. The chardonnay complimented the Tortellini Carbonara which was prepared with sage butter, Italian parsley and bacon powder.

“The medium acidity and tannins in Penfolds’ 2015 Bin 23 Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir compliments the confit duck breast and seared duck liver dish well as it helps open up the richness, earthiness and sweetness of the dish,” says Stephens. The Pinot Noir had lush fruit tones with a touch of vanilla which complimented the caramelised apple prepared with the dish.

For the main course, the lamb and slow roast rib, was paired with Penfolds’ 2015 Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the St Henri Shiraz 2015. The Cabernet was introduced by Stephens as a multi-regional blend of Coonawarra and Barossa with the palate of blackcurrant and eucalyptus mint notes.

“The Cabernet matures in French and American oak barrels for 12 months and has the characteristics of vanilla and tannin grip,” says Stephens.

The Shiraz, he adds, matures in 50-year-old or older barrels and therefore it has no oak influence. The Shiraz is described as having the palate of boysenberry, loganberry, and blackberry — with friendly tannins and balance.

To end the evening on a sweet note, The Olive served a chocolate mille-feuille that was paired with the most anticipated wine of the night, Penfolds’ Father Grand Tawny 10 Year Old, the fortified wine that was served to each patient of Penfolds’ 175 years ago.

The fortified wine is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet, Grenache and Mataro, aged for a minimum of 10 years and is bottled in the Barossa Valley, says Stephens. The tawny had the characteristics of caramel, nuts and sweet raisin complimented the mille-feuille well.