Penfolds launches two inaugural French wines

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Penfolds has launched two French wines as part of its annual collection release in August, for the first time in the company’s history.

The annual collection release in August will comprise three country of origin portfolios – Australian, Californian and the inaugural French release.

Penfolds has partnered with Bordeaux winemaking house Dourthe to produce one of the two French offerings.

Peter Gago, chief winemaker at Penfolds, and Dourthe chief winemaker Frédéric Bonnaffous came together for the collaboration, blending grapes from Bordeaux (71%) and South Australia (29%) to develop the wine.

The result – Penfolds II Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2019 – made from the 2019 vintage, was blended and bottled in South Australia by Penfolds winemakers.

Penfolds chief winemaker Gago said of the partnership: “This is the start of our French winemaking journey. Our main objective? To remain true to the winemaking ethos of both wineries, to deliver the best blend possible, to ideally make Bordeaux and South Australia proud. This wine is not about bigness or boldness or assertion. It is blended to convey an ethereal lightness, subtlety on the palate – sensitively binding two hemispheres, Old World and New.”

Patrick Jestin, Dourthe CEO, commented that the wine had “surpassed all our expectations”.

The wine benefitted from the integration of traditional French winemaking techniques and time-honoured Australian winemaking methods, staying true to “the culture and style of our respective countries and houses”, according to Jestin.

He added: “To push the boundaries and craft such a blend was an unexpected and utterly fascinating concept. Collaborating and cultivating firm friendships with the Penfolds winemaking team in blending such an exceptional wine was a dream come true. For us, this was ground-breaking, resulting in a totally original, innovative wine – Penfolds II.”

The second wine to be released in August is the 2019 Penfolds FWT 585: A trial Bin wine made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot.

The trial wine was made at Cambon la Pelouse Winery with the help of Penfolds senior winemaker Emma Wood.

Gago said of the inaugural French releases: “The wines made in France pay respect to French terroir, yet one thing remains overly consistent: the Penfolds stamp. Just like our California wines, we have the French sun above and soil beneath, but everything in between is Penfolds.”

Information from The Drinks Business

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