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Penfolds marks 170 years with $60,000 wine

Abundant supplies of wine from a 2010 vintage described as 'legendary' by Penfolds' chief winemaker, Peter Gago, has enabled the estate to release a rare batch of luxury wines to mark its 170th anniversary.

One of the seven available six-litre ‘imperial’ bottles of the Penfolds Bin 170 Kalimna Shiraz 2010 costs around £33,000 (US$60,000) and comes in a bespoke wooden case designed by British cabinet maker David Linley.

Those feeling a little less well-off could opt for a magnum or a case of three 75cl bottles of the same wine, which carry recommended price tags of £2,332 and £1,992 respectively.

Speaking to Decanter.com at the launch event in London last week, Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago said the wine, branded ‘Linley for Penfolds’, is the fruit of an excellent 2010 vintage.

‘We were spoilt,’ he said. ‘We always tick the box for [flagship wine] Penfolds Grange first, and 2010 will be one of the best Granges ever made. But we had this pool of wine, and it was too good to be blended away. We were going to release it last year, but then someone said we should wait for the anniversary.’

Penfolds has not made a Bin 170 wine since 1973 and the Treasury Wine Estates-owned producer has only made the equivalent of around 500 cases of the Bin 170 Kalimna Shiraz 2010.

It is sourced from old vines planted in Block 3C of Kalimna Vineyard, Barossa Valley, and has been matured for 16 months in French oak hogsheads, of which 55% was new oak.

The wine forms part of the 2014 Penfolds Icon and Luxury collection, which also includes a Grange 2009 vintage that received a relatively lukewarm response from several critics earlier this year.

Penfolds released Grange 2009 at the same price as 2008, at A$785 (£430) per 75cl bottle, but several merchants have priced the younger vintage slightly cheaper.

‘2009 Grange is in a hard place strategically,’ said Gago. ‘The 2008 vintage did so well and 2009 is wedged between the 2008 and legendary 2010.’ Gago has said previously that Grange 2009 is above-average when set against the overall vintage.

But, he is expecting much greater excitement around the 2010. ‘When the 2010 is released [next year], I’m going on holiday. It’s going to be crazy.’

Written by Chris Mercer

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