Penfolds releases $3,000 g3 Shiraz

Peter Gago (Photo: Penfolds Wines)

Penfolds has released another wine that seems destined to stop collectors in their tracks and reach for their chequebooks. An AUD $3,000 red named Penfolds g3, it is a blend of three top vintages of Grange. These are 2008, 2012 and 2014, but the ratios are not being disclosed. The concept brings to mind Vega Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial, a great Spanish red from the Ribera del Duero region, which is a blend of several vintages.

Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago, who conceived the idea for the wine, calls it ‘house style distilled’, and an ‘essence of Grange’. He said the blend was not only a kind of homage to the great blender-winemakers of the past such as Grange creator Max Schubert, but a graphic example of the idea that a successful blend produces something greater than the sum of the individual parts. It seems to me, having tasted the wine, that he is correct. While I haven’t tasted the 2014 (it won’t be released for another 12 months), g3 surpasses both the other components, the 2008 and 2012 vintages, in concentration, density and texture. The wine was aged for an extra period of time in oak after the blending, which could explain the astonishing concentration and sublime texture of this wine.

Gago said the ’08 was bottle stock, uncorked and poured into the blend, while the ’12 and ’14 were taken from the barrels before the regular Grange was bottled.

Expanding on the idea of distillation, Gago remarked that former Prime Minister Paul Keating was quoted in a biography as saying that when he was young, he spent time talking to the elders because,

“The wise people hand over information, and what’s better, they distil it for you.”

Asked whether there would be more g3s, Gago said this was the start of what he hoped would be an ongoing project.

The g3 follows other Penfolds luxury items including the Ampoule and the Linley imperial of Bin 170.

There are 1200 bottles, no magnums, and the price is AUD $3,000. Contact Penfolds if you’re interested.

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