Penfolds California Collection

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Penfolds California Collection

#1 Post by GregT »

They cast aside unwritten traditions, combining superior Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley with primo Australian Shiraz to create a new designation, an international blend Penfolds calls “a wine of the world.”

They are good and experienced wine makers. I knew that they'd been playing around in CA for a while but didn't know exactly what they were planning.

Bin 704 is named to honor Bin 407. Both are 100 percent Cabernet. This one is all CA fruit and I expect it should be pretty good. It's pricey at $70, but I guess that's not too crazy these days.

However, Quantum Bin 98. A blend of Australian and American grapes.

Coming in at . . .

$700.

I can't imagine the audience for it.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#2 Post by R M Kriete »

$70-Give it a try
$700-For the helicopter crowd

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#3 Post by Victor Hong »

Helicopter cocktails.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#4 Post by Victor Hong »

Posted exactly at same time.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#5 Post by R M Kriete »

Victor Hong wrote: February 16th, 2021, 1:22 pm Posted exactly at same time.
Great minds.... [wink.gif]

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#6 Post by Chris Seiber »

Reminds me of that wine a decade or so ago, where Chateau Palmer made a cab-syrah blend with syrah from the Northern Rhone. I just looked it up -- it's the "Historical XIX Century Blend," sells for around $400.

I think it's a cool concept, but I don't get the $700 price tag. Even if they're blending To Kalon with Grange or something, that pricing seems silly.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#7 Post by Will Clements »

I’ll pass.
No thanks
Skip please.
Sadly I have other things to spend that money on
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#8 Post by Alex N »

I don't know what to make of this:

A sister Cab, Bin 149 ($149), is named for the 14.9 percent of South Australian blah blah blah
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#9 Post by Anton D »

Will Clements wrote: February 16th, 2021, 2:28 pm I’ll pass.
No thanks
Skip please.
Sadly I have other things to spend that money on
I admit to having apathy about that, myself.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#10 Post by John Morris »

Chris Seiber wrote: February 16th, 2021, 2:25 pm Reminds me of that wine a decade or so ago, where Chateau Palmer made a cab-syrah blend with syrah from the Northern Rhone. I just looked it up -- it's the "Historical XIX Century Blend," sells for around $400.

I think it's a cool concept, but I don't get the $700 price tag. Even if they're blending To Kalon with Grange or something, that pricing seems silly.
The Palmer is available for under $300. It's not a bad wine, based on tasting it once, but it's kind of a gimmick.

The Penfolds wine seems like a gimmick, too. I mean, what would the blend create that you couldn't make on either side of the Pacific?
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#11 Post by Jeff_M. »

$700 for an introductory bottling? This isn't the right market for that price point.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#12 Post by crickey »

Penfolds' philosophy is to blend from different vineyards. I suppose this is just the next logical step.

As for price, the 2016 Grange is $850 from the winery (I cite that price on the assumption the $700 price above is also the winery price; I know you can get the Grange cheaper, around $550). Their limited edition cab is $1,200. $700 seems right in line with all that.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#13 Post by Kent Comley »

Suspect that the target market for these wines was mainland China, which would have been a no brainer until they slapped a 200% plus tariff on Australian wine.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#14 Post by John Glas »

It will be in a closeout bin near you for $400 in a year.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#15 Post by Will Clements »

John Glas wrote: February 16th, 2021, 3:58 pm It will be in a closeout bin near you for $400 in a year.
Still won’t buy it

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#16 Post by Chris Seiber »

John Glas wrote: February 16th, 2021, 3:58 pm It will be in a closeout bin near you for $400 in a year.
I see Yao Ming cabernet in Costco bins for $59.99 all the time (and not appearing to move quickly at that price), so the market will eventually have its say.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#17 Post by HoosJustinG »

So more expensive than Grange AND basically every Cali cab except Screagle and Harlan? Who decided people want that...
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#18 Post by Jorge Henriquez »

Youse guys don't seem to appreciate its great value in comparison........

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#19 Post by David Fleming »

Bob Egelhoff and Michael Twelftree made a couple of vintages of a US/OZ blend called Two Worlds. It was 50/50 Egelhoff Cab and Two Hands Shiraz. Came in magnum only. According to my CellarTracker notes, it was $300/mag. So a bit less that what Penfolds wants. Anyhow, it was actually really good stuff.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#20 Post by David Crow »

How much greater is the carbon footprint of this wine than a typical bottle? I would think if they have to ship half the unfinished wine to the other side of the world to get bottled and then ship the finished wine back out that’s not very environmentally friendly.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#21 Post by Doug Schulman »

Maybe they'll make wholesale to China low enough that it can still hit shelves around $700 even with the new tariff.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#22 Post by John Glas »

John Glas wrote: ↑Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:58 pm
It will be in a closeout bin near you for $400 in a year.
Still won’t buy it
$200? [cheers.gif]

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#23 Post by Philip G »

Jeff_M. wrote: February 16th, 2021, 3:41 pm $700 for an introductory bottling? This isn't the right market for that price point.
Oh I don't know...

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#24 Post by larry schaffer »

Treasury Estates, which owns Penfolds and a bunch of other labels, is aiming to restructure their company and they feel the name 'Penfolds' has a very strong and positive name recognition in the US and worldwide. This probably sits at the core of these new bottlings. It'll be interesting to see where this goes, but my guess is that they'll be more successful with this launch than those on this board believe - but I guess time will tell.

The $700 wine does seem a bit like a 'gimmick' - but the same can be said about lots of other wines out there, too.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#25 Post by brigcampbell »

All the large portfolios are trying to expand upmarket with their current holdings.

KJ did this with Copain. They bought the label and then told Wells he could have any vineyards/blocks he wants and farmer them the way he sees fit. Then that fruit is sold under a premium Copain label for $40+ instead of used in KJ chardonnay for $10. I thought this was an excellent strategy.

Treasury is sitting on Berringer and Sterling assets which are terribly under performing. So tell the Penfolds guys they can do whatever they want with the fruit and "launch" Penfolds as a California label. As for the pricing, which is silly, they will sell some but not a lot. Maybe they don't want to sell a lot initially, just make a really nice wine and build up a premium brand name then launch a second label behind it in the future in mass. The reason I think this is the strategy is because a $700 wine would not move the financial needle inside Treasury's enormous portfolio, it would be a rounding error. Heck, I would just rename Sterling's winery to Penfolds and really get after it.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#26 Post by John Glas »

$700.

I can't imagine the audience for it.
Slap a 100 point score on this wine and that audience will buy it.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#27 Post by Greg K »

John Morris wrote: February 16th, 2021, 3:28 pm
Chris Seiber wrote: February 16th, 2021, 2:25 pm Reminds me of that wine a decade or so ago, where Chateau Palmer made a cab-syrah blend with syrah from the Northern Rhone. I just looked it up -- it's the "Historical XIX Century Blend," sells for around $400.

I think it's a cool concept, but I don't get the $700 price tag. Even if they're blending To Kalon with Grange or something, that pricing seems silly.
The Palmer is available for under $300. It's not a bad wine, based on tasting it once, but it's kind of a gimmick.

The Penfolds wine seems like a gimmick, too. I mean, what would the blend create that you couldn't make on either side of the Pacific?
I believe part of the selling point of the Palmer Historical is that the Syrah was sourced from Chave.

It’s certainly a gimmick, but historically the two were occasionally blended together, so this is a bit of a throwback curiosity.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#28 Post by GregT »

brigcampbell wrote: February 17th, 2021, 8:09 am
Treasury is sitting on Berringer and Sterling assets which are terribly under performing. So tell the Penfolds guys they can do whatever they want with the fruit and "launch" Penfolds as a California label. As for the pricing, which is silly, they will sell some but not a lot. Maybe they don't want to sell a lot initially, just make a really nice wine and build up a premium brand name then launch a second label behind it in the future in mass. The reason I think this is the strategy is because a $700 wine would not move the financial needle inside Treasury's enormous portfolio, it would be a rounding error. Heck, I would just rename Sterling's winery to Penfolds and really get after it.
That pricing/cachet/positioning idea may be what's up. But I have my doubts about Treasury's ability to do anything with it. Beringer was a fine label. It's one of the oldest wineries in Napa, it made a good high-end wine and it made millions with its white Zin. They could have done what Coppola is trying to do with Inglenook - restore the luster, while keeping the low end. And man do they have some low end - rosé Zin/Chardonnay, white Merlot, red Moscato, Moscato/Zin, pomegranate spritzer, etc., - their entire Main and Vine collection. Seems to me that collection devalues their higher end stuff - I'd give it a different brand name entirely.

And Penfold's already has a lot of lower end wines, albeit "lower" relative to Beringer's Main and Vine may not be accurate. But people know Grange. And blending Shiraz/Cab isn't necessarily controversial. But anyone who is going to spend $700 would likely be more interested if Penfold's had either used their own vineyards from the same continent. I'm not interested at $700 no matter where it's from, but I'd still be intrigued if the Aussies had blended some grapes from the N. Rhone and Bordeaux, or from Paso, Napa, etc. This seems like a misfire.

But as mentioned, maybe it's just a rounding error and they got us talking about Penfolds, which may be the entire point.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#29 Post by Chris C a r y »

David Crow wrote: February 17th, 2021, 4:35 am How much greater is the carbon footprint of this wine than a typical bottle? I would think if they have to ship half the unfinished wine to the other side of the world to get bottled and then ship the finished wine back out that’s not very environmentally friendly.
Interesting thought. I'd guess they will label it as a single vintage wine, which would mean the spring harvest from Aussie, wine made ~6 months ahead of California. They may or may not put it in barrel in Aussie, but I'd bet they bulk it into intermodal tanks for shipping across the Pacific to CA, maybe 6000 gallons lots at a time. Lots of food commodities move that way, tropical juices, coffee/cocao beans, bananas, etc... The big footprint in wine is the bottle weight, and other bulk packaging, that happens pretty much regardless of vineyard location. A ~45 pound case of 12 x 750ml bottles typically has ~20 pounds of liquid wine, and overall takes up ~3 times as much volume. Not that the bulk wine hauling across the ocean is insignificant, though the life cycle math probably would say it's a small fraction. Once in the bottle in California I'd expect they distribute just like any other wine made there, even when labelled Penfolds.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#30 Post by GregT »

And just in from Reuters:

Australia's Treasury Wine to overhaul business, sell assets as Chinese tariffs bite

Treasury will reorganize into three divisions: Penfolds, Treasury Premium Brands and Treasury Americas. Treasury will sell low priority brands and other assets. The restructuring was unveiled as the world's largest listed winemaker reported a 43% slump in first-half net profit.

So they're dumping the Main and Vine from Beringer and they're coming up with this $700 wine.

Hail Mary pass?
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#31 Post by crickey »

HoosJustinG wrote: February 16th, 2021, 6:39 pm So more expensive than Grange AND basically every Cali cab except Screagle and Harlan? Who decided people want that...
As I noted, it's cheaper than Grange, which is $850 from the winery.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#32 Post by JMReuter »

If they'd priced it above Screagle, I might be interested. Depends on helicopter access.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#33 Post by brigcampbell »

JMReuter wrote: February 17th, 2021, 12:39 pm If they'd priced it above Screagle, I might be interested. Depends on helicopter access.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#34 Post by Andrew Hamilton »

Huon Hooke has written some notes on each wine and also mentions that the Bin 98 is priced identically to Grange ($950 AUD).

Penfolds Bin 600 Cabernet Shiraz 2018

Made from 78% cabernet, 22% shiraz, all from California—Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles, in the proportions 45/35/20. The bin number 600 is a nod to the previous name of the Penfolds Camatta Hills vineyard, which was formerly the Creston 600 Ranch. This is where Penfolds planted their first vines in California, back in 1998, with heritage-clone cuttings from the company’s key Barossa Valley vineyard, Kalimna. In addition, Gago says Penfolds also has access to several vineyards that have supplied grapes to the likes of Beaulieu Vineyards, Stag’s Leap and Etude. (AUD $90)

Penfolds Bin 704 Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Composed of 88% Napa and 12% Sonoma Valley grapes. The bin number is the mirror of the South Australian cabernet Bin 407, recognising that the two hemispheres can be seen as mirror images of each other. (AUD $120)

Penfolds Bin 149 Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

A blend of Napa Valley and South Australian cabernet sauvignon which seeks to enshrine the Penfolds ‘house style’. Why Bin 149? There is some suggestion that that was the price in US dollars! (AUD $220)

Penfolds Quantum Bin 98 Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Made from 87% cabernet, 13% shiraz. The Australian grapes are A1 grade fruit from Barossa Valley and Coonawarra. The American cabernet is from Oakville and Diamond Mountain, subregions of the Napa Valley. Says chief winemaker Peter Gago: “It’s very much the Grange philosophy: open fermenters, heading-down boards, into barrel at the end of fermentation (contrary to the traditional Californian technique of long post-fermentation maceration on skins)”. (AUD $950)

https://www.therealreview.com/2021/02/1 ... king-reds/

I expect these will sell in the UK market as well. IIRC Penfolds has a reasonable rep there.

As with all of their offerings (excluding their Bin Chardonnay and Yattarna), I'll pass.
That sounds about right.
Probably for the best.
They had a good run.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#35 Post by GregT »

WS had a Zoom w Peter Gago today. I just found out a few minutes after it ended. Would have liked to ask him about it.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#36 Post by CKammerman »

John Glas wrote: February 17th, 2021, 10:41 am
$700.

I can't imagine the audience for it.
Slap a 100 point score on this wine and that audience will buy it.
Well suckling didn’t rate it 100 so my guess is nobody will

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#37 Post by crickey »

In the Wine Advocate, Lisa Perotti-Brown had a review and a detailed information on the wine. 87% California grapes, mostly aged in American oak. She noted that it is made very similarly to the Grange, which I suppose isn't surprising. She ends with: "To manage expectations—this doesn't taste like Napa or South Australia. It doesn't even taste like the 2018 vintage here in Napa. It really is its own thing, which I suppose is the point."
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#38 Post by Jidhin R. »

CKammerman wrote: February 17th, 2021, 9:29 pm
John Glas wrote: February 17th, 2021, 10:41 am
$700.

I can't imagine the audience for it.
Slap a 100 point score on this wine and that audience will buy it.
Well suckling didn’t rate it 100 so my guess is nobody will
WA at 97+ so there is potential for a 100 with that "+"?
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#39 Post by Mike Evans »

I just got an offer on some of these from Total Wine’s Concierge Sales:

Bin 149 - $134.97 (1-5 bottles) and $127.47 (6+ bottles)

Bin 704 - $62.97 (1-5 bottles) and $59.47 (6+ bottles)

Bin 600 - $44.97 (1-5 bottles) and $42.47 (6+ bottles)

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#40 Post by Randy C »

Also from Total Wine Concierge: the Bin 98 for $594.97
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#41 Post by brigcampbell »

Randy C wrote: February 19th, 2021, 9:32 am Also from Total Wine Concierge: the Bin 98 for $594.97
Already on sale.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#42 Post by John Glas »

WA at 97+ so there is potential for a 100 with that "+"?
My favorite WA when I subscribe many years ago was their 96-100

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#43 Post by John Glas »

Randy C wrote: ↑Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:32 pm
Also from Total Wine Concierge: the Bin 98 for $594.97
Already on sale.
I am going to risk it and wait for 3 or 4 more sale discount prices. [wink.gif]

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#44 Post by John L Hall »

This reminds me of New Coke. Stay in your lane Penfolds.

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#45 Post by John L Hall »

John Glas wrote: February 20th, 2021, 9:26 am
Randy C wrote: ↑Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:32 pm
Also from Total Wine Concierge: the Bin 98 for $594.97
Already on sale.
I am going to risk it and wait for 3 or 4 more sale discount prices. [wink.gif]
Complete aside, but how great was the “So” album, John!? Still think Secret World Live is one of the best live discs (even though PG overdubbed the vocals in studio). What a band he had.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#46 Post by John Glas »

Complete aside, but how great was the “So” album, John!? Still think Secret World Live is one of the best live discs (even though PG overdubbed the vocals in studio). What a band he had.
Wish I saw him in concert in the 80s. PG 3 is my favorite album.
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#47 Post by Philip G »

John Glas wrote: February 20th, 2021, 3:11 pm
Complete aside, but how great was the “So” album, John!? Still think Secret World Live is one of the best live discs (even though PG overdubbed the vocals in studio). What a band he had.
Wish I saw him in concert in the 80s. PG 3 is my favorite album.
I saw him in 1980 at the Central Park ice rink. I think that was the Intruder tour. Still one of the best shows ever. Great band with Larry Fast, Tony Levin, Fripp
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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#48 Post by Jidhin R. »

Seems like a shift in strategy for brands at Treasury. I wonder whats next then for "Penfolds" maybe some Central Coast Syrah?

https://www.afr.com/companies/agricultu ... 219-p573yx
Blips and Chitz!!!

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#49 Post by Andrew Dodd »

crickey wrote: February 17th, 2021, 12:34 pm As I noted, it's cheaper than Grange, which is $850 from the winery.
Does it matter if they're both a joke? :)

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Re: Penfolds California Collection

#50 Post by John Glas »

Seems like a shift in strategy for brands at Treasury. I wonder what's next then for "Penfolds" maybe some Central Coast Syrah
Well seems like a better fit. Overpriced Cabs from Cali are covered.

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