Recommendations

Columnist November 8, 2011
Recommendations

★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Dave McIntyre is a wine columnist for The Washington Post. He also blogs at dmwineline.com. View Archive

Penfolds is Australia’s leading wine producer. Penfolds wines range from the everyday Rawson’s Retreat and Koonunga Hills lines to the Icon (top) line of wines featuring RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz, at $150 a bottle, and the iconic Grange, at $500 for the 2006 current release. Penfolds wines are distributed by Washington Wholesale in the District, Reliable Churchill in Maryland and RNDC in Virginia.

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet-Shiraz 2008

★★★

South Australia, $39

It’s nicknamed “Baby Grange” because it is dressed in hand-me-down barrels once used to age Grange. Whether it has the stuffing and age-ability of a wine that costs about 13 times more is debatable, but its quality is not. This is Australian wine at its best, with eucalyptus and spice flavors and a rich, sweet, velvety texture.

Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages, Safeway stores, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, some Whole Foods Market locations. Available in Maryland at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis, College Park Liquors, Corridor Wine & Spirits in Laurel, Edgewater Liquors, Rip’s Wine & Spirit Shop in Bowie; on the list at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Baltimore.

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

★★★

South Australia, $33

With cabernet selected from cooler-climate regions, this wine shows freshness and lively acidity to brace its blackberry flavors.

Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, various Safeway and Whole Foods Market locations. Available in Maryland at College Park Liquors, Cranbrook Liquors in Cockeysville, Rip’s Wine & Spirit Shop in Bowie.

Penfolds Bin 28 Shiraz 2008

★★1 / 2

Kalimna, Australia, $24

Here’s a shiraz in the classic Aussie style: rich and fruit-forward, with spicy eucalyptus notes. It is a good introduction to the Penfolds line, which continues upward with the St. Henri ($65) and the RWT Shiraz from the Barossa Valley ($150).

Available in the District at 11-M Corner Market, Ace Beverage, Cairo Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, various Harris Teeter locations, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, State Liquors, Towne Wine & Liquors, Union Wine & Liquors, West End Market, various Safeway and Whole Foods Market locations. Available in Maryland at Corridor Wine & Spirits in Laurel, College Park Liquors, Rip’s Wine & Spirit Shop in Bowie, Wells Discount Liquors and Wine Source in Baltimore; on the list at Capitol Grille in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at various Harris Teeter locations.

Penfolds Bin 51 Riesling 2010

★★

Eden Valley, Australia, $20

This wine is marketed primarily to restaurants, so it is not widely available. It is searingly dry, with impressive cool-climate acidity and structure giving it a vibrancy that shows well with seafood dishes.

Washington Wholesale: On the list in the District at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, R.F.D. Washington, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2009

1 / 2

South Australia, $10

It’s just what a $10 red should be: fruity and fun, with enough acidity to be refreshing and no sense of fake, manipulated “oak” treatment. Complex? No. Stunning? Well, only in comparison with all the dull $10 wines out there.

Widely available.

Penfolds Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2010

1 / 2

Adelaide, Australia, $12

This is a delightful, inexpensive New World chardonnay, with vibrant fruit and enough toasty oak to give it structure and seriousness.

Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Harris Teeter, Sheffield Wine & Liquor Shoppe. Widely available in Maryland. Available in Virginia at various Harris Teeter locations.

Recommendations

r r rExceptional  r rExcellent rVery Good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Penfolds is Australia’s leading wine producer. Penfolds wines range from the everyday Rawson’s Retreat and Koonunga Hills lines to the Icon (top) line of wines featuring RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz, at $150 a bottle, and the iconic Grange, at $500 for the 2006 current release. Penfolds wines are distributed by Washington Wholesale in the District, Reliable Churchill in Maryland and RNDC in Virginia.
 — D.M.

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