Penfolds objets d’art: Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet 2004

Penfolds (HuonHooke.com/winery/1032) joined the luxury collectable objets d’art market with the release of its jarrah-boxed ampoule of 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon (my tasting notes), launched recently in Russia and priced at $168,000. It joins the rare old special limited bottlings of Cognac, malt whisky and other luxury spirits packed in fancy crystal decanters. The edition is limited to 12, and included in the package is a visit by a Penfolds winemaker who will travel to whatever part of the world you are in when you want your sealed glass ampoule opened with a special tool. No doubt the winemaker will want a taste for his/her trouble, though.

The provenance of this great wine is unique: planted in the mid-1880s, Block 42 is the oldest vineyard of cabernet sauvignon in the world according to Penfolds, planted on its own roots. The wine is great, no question. And the artistry of design and workmanship in the packaging is no doubt immaculate, with a glass blower, metalworker and woodworker involved.

A few years ago when the 2004 Block 42 was released I almost baulked at paying $450 for a bottle (the screwcap was the clincher). But now it looks like a bargain. 

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