Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

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Jacob vandergeest
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Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#1 Post by Jacob vandergeest » November 18th, 2020, 3:23 am

Yesterday the opportunity to buy same 2012 Yattarna presented itself. The price is very tempting (to give an idea, in my region comparable to a bottle of Bouchard Meursault Perrieres 2017 ) and the vintage has a strong reputation. Plus, since it’s under screw cap there’s limited risk of the pox. All signs are clear, except that I’m not sure what to expect of it’s potential to age. Apparently the style of Yattarna has fluctuated since its first vintage, as has the source of its grapes, which makes drawing general conclusion from specific tasting notes difficult.
It’s still an expensive wine for me, not one bottle per week kind of routine, but a special treat. Buying a case of six would mean an investment in future drinking (say the next decade).

Sharing any experience is much appreciated.

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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#2 Post by Kent Comley » November 18th, 2020, 4:45 am

2012 is outstanding and still quite youthful. I picked up a case at auction last year.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#3 Post by Kris Patten » November 18th, 2020, 7:51 am

I'd buy the case of Bouchard Perrieres if you really have a choice.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#4 Post by C. Mc Cart » November 18th, 2020, 9:41 am

I'm with Kris. I'd jump for the more recent Bouchard if it's an either/ or. I've had a few of the initial Yattarna vintages up to '04 or '05 in the '00's when I attended a Penfolds tasting and dinner (Grange was the main wine being featured) with Peter Gago.
The Yattarna's I tasted were all very high quality, but even 15 years ago they were $100 on release in this market which I found a bit dear. My memory was that while at the time I believe Penfolds tried to smooth its style from vintage to vintage for some of their portfolio, (including this wine), the oak influence really varied drastically. Some vintages had a cool climate profile, others much less so.

To further Kris' post, even with the variety of weather Burgundy sees year to year these days, you wouldn't see so much difference in something like the Bouchard Perrieres from year to year. It maintains the vineyard character and Bouchard style.
I can't comment on the style of 2012 or any being made now.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#5 Post by pnitze » November 18th, 2020, 12:45 pm

I’m with Kent. Go with the Yattarna. I have tasted the 2012 Yattarna and various recent vintages of Bouchard MP. To my taste, the Yattarna is the better wine, though the 2014 Bouchard might keep it close. I own a lot of white burgundy and very, very little Aussie Chardonnay. But objectively, the Yattarna gets my vote. It’s a sensational wine. Also keep in mind that recent vintages of Yattarna taste very different (and better) than early vintages. Early on it was marked by new oak and was more tropical. Now it is leaner and more tense.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#6 Post by pnitze » November 18th, 2020, 12:49 pm

Also I have seen no issues with ageability of Yattarna. I had the 97 a few years ago (can’t remember if it was under cork or screw cap), and it was very good. Given the balance of recent vintages, they may have an even longer aging curve than the early vintages.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#7 Post by Adam Noble » November 18th, 2020, 1:18 pm

I had the 99 Yattarna a couple of years ago (under cork) and it was quite nice but not mind blowing.

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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#8 Post by Jeremy Holmes » November 18th, 2020, 2:04 pm

It ages magnificently under screwcap. I still have the best part of a case of the 2008 and it is drinking so well.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#9 Post by Kent Comley » November 18th, 2020, 2:09 pm

In my view the recent Yattarna's are better wines than the first wines from the late 90s. They include more material from Tasmania and there is an extra degree of minerality in the wines.
I first tasted the 2012 Yattarna at a wine industry Chardonnay benchmarking tasting where a dozen wines were tasted blind, including Batard Montrachet, Grand Cru Chablis and other wines from around the globe. The Yattarna blew me away as it did the other 30 winemakers in the room.
I would encourage you to buy the Bouchard MP and the Yattarna and taste them blind next to each other. I am not say that one will be better than the other.
As an aside I would strongly recommend anyone looking to shell out the big bucks for Yattarna, seek out some Bin A Chardonnay from recent vintages. It is very close to Yattarna in quality at half the price. The 17A is really lovely.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#10 Post by Jeremy Holmes » November 18th, 2020, 2:17 pm

Agreed Kent. Had a 15A a few weeks ago that was delicious. I have some 16A and 17A in the cellar.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#11 Post by Jacob vandergeest » November 19th, 2020, 3:25 am

Thanks all. It wasn't my intention to make this about a battle between Penfolds and Bouchard, but direct comparison between the two does make it easier to decide. As much as I love white Burgundy (MP in particular), the aussie to me stands out as an opportunity to aquire something of a rare quality. The Meursault comes along every vintage (what a great thing it is to be able to say this). As long as Yattarna wil age gracefully, of which I am more certain now. But I also like the idea of blind tasting these together. That means for now at least getting one of each. I know of worse compromises.

I'm intrigued by the Bin A option. However, at this point the 2017 version would cost me almost the same as the 2012 Yattarna. I sense that te latter is more special, though maybe not better.

Yes, the Bouchard 2014 would be something else. I had the Drouhin MP 2014 a couple of weeks ago. It really hit the spot.

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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#12 Post by C. Mc Cart » November 19th, 2020, 7:02 am

I'm not attempting to be argumentative, but your comments about "rare quality" and the meursault coming along every vintage, now has me curious.
Maybe someone that knows yields & production #'s better can assist?
Bouchard's perrieres holding is about 1.2 ha - what does that produce? 300-400 cases? Maybe a bit more in good years?
Jeremy/ Kent - maybe you know what is Yattarna's production?

Again - not being argumentative. My guess is if you're located in Holland, Bouchard may be much easier to find than a specific Penfolds wine.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#13 Post by pnitze » November 19th, 2020, 9:55 am

Penfolds does not publish production figures for Yattarna or its other wines, at least not the majority of the wines.

This website claims “around 1000 cases,” but that seems way off to me for current production.
https://www.escapementmagazine.com/penf ... tarna.html

My guess would be around 8000 cases of Yattarna.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#14 Post by Kent Comley » November 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm

Having worked for Penfolds many, many moons ago I am totally out of touch with volumes. Given that Grange is perhaps (always shrouded in secrecy) 8-10K cases, I would expect Yattarna to be closer to 2,000 doz.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#15 Post by Jacob vandergeest » November 22nd, 2020, 7:49 am

Chris, I get your point. The reason I’m tempted by the Yattarna is that it's an iconic Australian Chardonnay and at the same time a remains a little obscure, at least to me. Indeed hard to find where I live and little information to be found online. So, from a global perspective the Bouchard obviously is the most rare wine, but form my local perspective the Yattarna seems to be a more special deal.
I find the limited exposure for a wine of such production as the Yattarna puzzling. The paradox being that the Bouchard seems to draw more attention, while there undoubtly is a lot less being produced. I guess here small is beautiful.

What about relative value? The Bouchard should be a solid representation of Meursault Perrieres, and as such (at current pricing) also a great QPR. Plus, you don’t just drink white burgundy, It’s a Perrieres! The fact that Bouchard is the second largest owner of MP seems to keep it affordable compared to the more renowned and small plot producers. I guess the Yattarna is a very good representation of Aussie Chardonnay, but is not a spicificly well priced compared to something like Leeuwin or Tolpuddle, nor does it present the same sense of place as those two examples, let alone the Bouchard. Therefore it’s probably not local typicity or value I seek in the Yattarna, but the chance of experiencing the aging of an Australian chardonnay of the highest order in the next ten years.

But yes, the best advice is to taste these two side by side before I decide to go futher.

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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#16 Post by TimK » November 22nd, 2020, 2:06 pm

Would like to add that I found Bouchard did not produce good wines in 2017, compared to their good 14’s and some good 16’s. Yattarna is heavy on the new oak (100% I think), but it’s high quality oak and the fruit does have power to match. I prefer the Bin xxA series myself, but with a few years age Yattarna would be decadent enjoyable wines. I’ve enjoyed a few at 20 years old and while corks were an issue then, under screwcap they would definitely go the longer haul.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#17 Post by Kent Comley » November 22nd, 2020, 2:59 pm

TimK wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 2:06 pm
Would like to add that I found Bouchard did not produce good wines in 2017, compared to their good 14’s and some good 16’s. Yattarna is heavy on the new oak (100% I think), but it’s high quality oak and the fruit does have power to match. I prefer the Bin xxA series myself, but with a few years age Yattarna would be decadent enjoyable wines. I’ve enjoyed a few at 20 years old and while corks were an issue then, under screwcap they would definitely go the longer haul.
I bought Mersault Clous, MP and CC from '17. Thought the Clous was pretty good with lots of upside. Interested in more detail wrt your '17 Bouchard experiences.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#18 Post by TimK » November 23rd, 2020, 1:47 am

Kent Comley wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 2:59 pm
I bought Mersault Clous, MP and CC from '17. Thought the Clous was pretty good with lots of upside. Interested in more detail wrt your '17 Bouchard experiences.
Hi Kent, as always with wine IMHO, but I found the Genevrieres, Charmes and even the Perrieres all had a touch of alcohol warmth, with the fruit lacking focus and acid drive, compared to their 14 and 16's I'd enjoyed, and especially compared to other 2017's from other producers like PYCM, Boillot etc. A couple of bottles of each with similar results, with or without a bit of decanter time. I didn't purchase any others in their range based on the MG and MP experience so perhaps mine was too much of a generalisation to tar other wines without having tried them. I would expect their CC to more consistently show well, have you tried it yet? I do have a few 2018's to try soon.

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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#19 Post by James Billy » November 23rd, 2020, 4:07 am

Quite a stark contrast. One wine from a small patch of a small vineyard in the region the grape calls its birthplace. Granted, Bouchard aren't the smallest producer in Burgundy, quite the opposite, but they still don't make wine on a huge scale, apart from maybe their entry-level Bourgogne, etc.

Then a wine whose source could be (theoretically) anywhere in the continent of Australia, but in practice, the cooler parts of the bottom right hand corner and Tasmania by a huge winery known for industrial winemaking of mostly full bodied, ripe red wine.

I'm not saying Yattarna is a bad wine, it isn't. It's just has a very different story.

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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#20 Post by Kris Patten » November 23rd, 2020, 6:38 am

James Billy wrote:
November 23rd, 2020, 4:07 am
Quite a stark contrast. One wine from a small patch of a small vineyard in the region the grape calls its birthplace. Granted, Bouchard aren't the smallest producer in Burgundy, quite the opposite, but they still don't make wine on a huge scale, apart from maybe their entry-level Bourgogne, etc.

Then a wine whose source could be (theoretically) anywhere in the continent of Australia, but in practice, the cooler parts of the bottom right hand corner and Tasmania by a huge winery known for industrial winemaking of mostly full bodied, ripe red wine.

I'm not saying Yattarna is a bad wine, it isn't. It's just has a very different story.
I think categorizing Penfolds as industrial winemaking and full bodied is a little off base.

They make quite a wide array of well made wines from Koonunga Hills Cab-Shiraz, to the Bin Series, up to Grange and RWT. I have never found any out of balance of overly fruity.
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Re: Question on the ageability of Penfolds Yattarna

#21 Post by J a y H a c k » November 23rd, 2020, 6:59 am

In September 2014, I served the 1998 and 1999 blind at one of our LBTG dinners. I did not write formal notes but they were OUTSTANDING. No one guessed Australia. Perhaps some of our other participants can chime in. This is Mikhail's note on the 1998 from CT of that bottle. Why he did not write a note on the 1999 is a puzzlement. His comment "showing age" does not, if I recall correctly, indicate maderization. There was a depth that you get with aged chardonnay that brings out additional flavors and I recall that in these wines. Since Mikhail likes bubbly with negative dossage, :) , I would take his sweetness comments with a grain of salt.

Blind Tasting in Astoria: this was good but not even close to the 99. good minerality but showing age. bit more sweetness in the middle which points to the new world. creamy, hints of oak. Still excellent fruit - falling toward the autumnal spectrum. very cool.
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