Penfolds Releases First Superblend 802.A Cabernet Shiraz from the 2018 Vintage
Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago
© photo provided
The iconic Australian estate has added a new wine – the Superblend – to its already sprawling portfolio. Chief winemaker Peter Gago, presenting via video link to an audience in London, said: “There is a quintessential Australian blend of Cabernet with Shiraz. What we wanted to do was to create this beautiful, evocative blend of Cabernet and Shiraz together at the highest level. But we made two, not one.”
One Superblend – two interpretations
Gago explained that the fruit – sourced from the best vineyards in the Barossa, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Robe and Clare Valley – was made in two separate interpretations, hence the name 802.A – which was presented today – and 802.B which will be presented next year.
The Superblend 802.A Cabernet Shiraz components were “aged separately in new American oak hogshead barrels for 22 months prior to being blended,” whereas the components of 802.B were blended and then aged together in French oak. “The two sort of play off each other,” Gago said.
A piece of Australia
The wine is bold and could only be Australian as it bears the hallmarks of Barossa-ripened Shiraz with all its generosity and heft – but also the finessed tannin structure of Cabernet Sauvignon. It has the maritime freshness of McLaren Vale and Robe, the brightness of Clare Valley altitude, the coolness and structure of Coonawarra but also that wonderful South Australia sunshine.
Gago said: “South Australia is the driest state on the driest continent. This s the great Australian story.” Mindful of climate change, of the devastating fires, of the shifting climatic zones, Gago noted that for white grapes this meant “moving up in altitude or down in latitude.”
For red fruit, however, he said: “You’ve got all these climes and soils and so many permutations and combinations to play with. We have come so far, there is lots of raw material, lots to play with and that is what I think is still hugely exciting in Australia.”
Penfolds Superblend 802.A Cabernet Shiraz 2018
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