Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, the 1966 Penfolds Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz was almost as famous as the legendary 1962 Penfolds Bin 60A Coonawarra Cabernet Kalimna Shiraz. It enjoyed plenty of success at Australia’s major capital wine shows and was considered a classical wine style.
|80 day dry aged English longhorn beef, parsnip, globe artichoke and house sproutted lentils.
|Australia’s winemaking history of less than two hundred years is brief by European measures though, like Europe, punctuated by periods of extreme success and difficult times. From the earliest winemaking days Penfolds has figured prominently and few would argue the importance of Penfolds’ influence on Australia’s winemaking psyche.
Without the influence of Penfolds the modern Australian wine industry would look very different indeed. Sitting comfortably outside of fad and fashion, Penfolds has taken Australian wine to the world on a grand stage and forged a reputation for quality that is without peer.
Penfolds’ reputation for making wines of provenance and cellaring potential might suggest a mantle of tradition and formality is the preferred attire of a company with so much history to defend. But to label Penfolds as simply an established and conventional winemaker, would be to confuse tradition with consideration and to overlook the innovative spirit that has driven Penfolds since its foundation, and continues to find expression in modern times.
If there is anything traditional about Penfolds, it is the practice of constantly reviewing the wines it already does well, and continuously evolving and refining styles as vineyards mature and access to ever older and more varied vineyard sites improves.