Buyers have reacted positively to the release of Penfolds' latest batch of top wines – despite the distractions of a bumper day of Bordeaux en primeur releases.
But the seven wines are typically trading at a discount to the recommended retail price issued by Penfolds owner Treasury Wine Estates – with Grange 2008 the subject of a price war in its native Australia.
‘The reaction to the Penfolds offer has been good and we anticipate selling out of most if not all of the wines soon,’ said Mark Ross, sales director at Farr Vintners.
Last year Penfolds was heavily criticised for price rises on its new releases, with some merchants in the UK and abroad refusing to take their allocations in protest.
The company is offering Grange 2008 at £350 a bottle in bond, well shy of the RRP of £500, even allowing for the later addition of excise duty and VAT.
Similarly, Penfolds RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz 2010 is £62.50 (versus an RRP of £110) and Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2009 £40 (compared to an RRP of £63).
In Australia, retailers have been involved in a price war over Grange, with Costco and Dan Murphy’s both dropping their prices as low as A$645 a bottle, compared to the RRP there of A$785.
That RRP represents a 25% hike on last year’s A$625 RRP for 2007 Grange (which also sparked a price war in Australia), although both the St Henri and the RWT prices are unchanged on last year.
Penfolds’ two top Cabernet Sauvignons from the 2010 vintage – Bin 707 and Bin 169 Coonawarra – are priced this year at A$350 a bottle, up 40% on last year’s pricing of the 2009 vintage.
On Grange, Ross said he was unaware of the price war in Australia: ‘We have priced it in line with the rest of the UK market, and it has worked at that price,’ he said.
The Penfolds Icon and Luxury Collection also includes Yattarna Chardonnay 2010 (A$130/£92) and Magill Estate Shiraz 2010 (A$130/£84).
In all, there are five wines from South Australia’s 2010 vintage, praised as a great year and described by Penfolds Barossa vineyard manager George Taylor as having ‘exceptional flavour development’.
Written by Richard Woodard