In a world that seems obsessed with terroir-driven wines, Penfolds can be considered a bit of an outsider. Instead of focusing on single vineyards, or even sticking to one region, the prestigious Australian wine brand embraces multi-region grape sourcing, particularly for the production of its iconic ‘Grange’ label wines. Now, it intends to take this multi-sourcing philosophy to a whole new level.
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), the brand’s parent group, announced on Monday plans to introduce a range of new wines, using grapes and alcohol from different regions around the world, as reported by Business Wire.
In all, the company will release a Napa wine, as well as a new ‘Special Bottlings’ label, which will include a single batch brandy, a baijiu-infused shiraz, and a Champagne.
Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago commented, “Our Penfolds House Style certainly allows and embraces the freedom to explore premium viticultural regions across the world. We are striving to add outstanding Californian-sourced wines to our offering by fiscal 2022.”
Production of the Californian wine will begin with the 2018 harvest, using “the best of the best” Napa Valley grapes, TWE announced.
As part of the ‘Special Bottlings’ range, Penfolds has just released ‘Lot. 1990,’ a 28-year-old single-batch brandy. At around $314 a bottle, however, it’s definitely a premium offering.
So, too, is the second, even more experimental addition to the range, ‘Lot. 518.’ A Barossa shiraz fortified with baijiu (a fiery, Chinese grain spirit), Lot. 518 will be introduced in September 2018, with a reported $110 retail price.
The third, and final, release will be a Champagne, which Penfolds plans to have on the market in time for its 175th anniversary, in 2019.
TWE’s CEO, Michael Clarke, said, “Today’s news on Penfolds signifies another important step on Treasury Wine Estates’ journey to invest in and build true trust marks; expanding the Penfolds stable to include brandy, spirited wine and multi-country sourcing. Innovation of this nature plays a critical role in driving long-term, sustainable growth for the company as we broaden brand appeal and offerings to consumers around the world.”
The “innovation” in question, specifically relating to the baijiu-infused shiraz, is likely an attempt to cement Penfolds’ reputation in China, Australia’s biggest wine-export market. Indeed, few outside of the country will have heard of the fiery grain spirit, let alone tried it.