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Sacré booze! Australia’s Penfolds debuts their first French wines

Australian wine conglomerate Penfolds is taking on the old guard with the introduction of their first French wines from Bordeaux.

Launching globally next month, the South Australian-based winery is releasing two red wines, one made entirely in Bordeaux, and the other blending Bordeaux-grown grapes with an iconic Australian variety.

The two French Penfolds wines – Frenchfolds? – form part of the brand’s 2022 Collection release, and join wines from Australia and California that showcase the impact of Penfolds’ house style on winemaking throughout the world.

Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago (Image credit: Penfolds)

The first wine is the 2019 Penfolds FWT 585, a ‘French Winemaking Trial’ wine that Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago described as the winery’s interpretation of the Bordeaux style. Made in the region at Château Cambon la Pelouse, it blends local varieties of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and petit verdot that are aged partially in new American oak – a Penfolds signature – for a brooding, herbaceous wine with hints of vanilla.

The second wine is the more audacious 2019 Penfolds II Cabernet Shiraz Merlot. Working with renowned Bordeaux winemaking house Dourthe, the wine is composed of French cabernet sauvignon and merlot, which were shipped Down Under, blended with Australian shiraz, and bottled there. Matured in both French and American new oak, it evokes lively flavours of plum, anise, and toast, capped off by a bright mineral finish. “This is a wine of the world,” Gago said.

2019 Penfolds FWT 585 (left) and 2019 Penfolds II Cabernet Shiraz Merlot (Image credit: Penfolds)

“This wine is not about bigness or boldness or assertion,” he added. “It is blended to convey an ethereal lightness, subtlety on the palate – sensitively binding two hemispheres, Old World and New.”

Along with the French wines, the 2022 Collection includes the 2018 Grange, the 68th consecutive release of their emblematic wine, as well as the second iteration of Penfolds Californian wines, which debuted last year. All the wines will be available from 4 August 2022 from selected wine retailers in Singapore. Local prices have not been announced yet, but the recommended retail price is AUD$500 for Penfolds II and AUD$120 for FWT 585.

Jethro Kang

Jethro enjoys wine, biking, and climbing, and he's terrible at all three. In between them, he drinks commercial lagers and eats dumplings.

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