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Penfolds regenerate Magill Estate

Penfolds Magill Cellar 3_Chief Winemaker_Peter Gago_lr

Penfolds unveiled its new icon range to the press last week, but we are sworn to secrecy till the embargo is lifted on October 6.*

Meanwhile, I can reveal that Penfolds has embarked on a program of regenerating the Magill Estate vineyard in suburban Adelaide.

This vineyard, the ancestral home of Penfolds (tastings), which now includes a restaurant and a café as well as the old stone winery in which the Magill Estate shiraz and other special wines are still fermented, was saved from destruction in the early 1980s by Max Schubert and others at Penfolds, who conceived the wine as a way of saving the key part of the vineyard and enabling it to pay its way.

Today, there are 5.2 hectares of vineyard, all shiraz, the best of which goes into the Magill Estate red (tastings) every year. Penfolds has pulled out about half of it, the half which is on the right-hand side of the driveway as you enter the property. The other half contains Grange Cottage, the home of Dr Christopher and Mary Penfold. Chief winemaker Peter Gago tells me the best grapes come from the area between the cottage and the winery buildings.

Gago said the land will be replanted in October, with cuttings taken from the best heritage clone vines on the property. He said some of the vines were diseased, and there was a desire to upgrade the vineyard generally and improve the clonal material. It could take 10 years before the new vines produce top-quality wine.

“It’s a great vineyard and we want to take it to a higher level,”

He told me.

“In the Burgundy sense, this vineyard is a true Penfolds monopole – a very special vineyard.”

He said he did not expect to reap the rewards from the upgrading of Magill in his working life, but the next generation would benefit – just as he and his generation had benefitted from the planning of the previous generations.

*The new icon and bin wines, including 2012 Grange, 2014 Bin 707 Cabernet, 2014 Yattarna, RWT, Bin 407, Bin 389, Bin 150, Bins 28 and 128, will be in the shops from October 20. I will report on them in this newsletter on October 6.

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