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Penley Estate Condor Shiraz Cabernet 2003
A full bodied style with accent on fruit and not harsh tannins. The major accent is on complexity and finesse which will develop wonderful secondary characters over the next 5-7 years. Complexity is a combination of the two differing varieties, a range of different French oak used and the winemaking techniques employed during harvest. 50% new oak was used, both French and American which, like the two varieties will greatly change the complexity of the wine. This wine has fragrant ripe berries and some leather and chocolate, the palate has obvious tannins but the sweet soft fragrant fruit gives great balance.
Penley Estate is located in the center of Australia's most famous Cabernet region: Coonawarra. Continuing a family tradition that spans five generations, the winery was established in 1988 when the Tolley children continued the winemaking heritage of their pioneering families, Penfold and Tolley, both storied names in the Australian wine industry. In 1844, Mary Penfold defied stereotypes and was the driving force behind the establishment of McGill Estate. Similarly, from 1948-1961, Gladys Penfold Hyland was Penfold's Chairman of the Board. Their descendants, sisters Bec and Ang Tolley, run Penley Estate, proudly channeling the vim and might of their ancestors. Penley Estate's 240 acres of vineyards were planted atop Coonawarra's "terra rossa" soils with the aim of producing terroir-driven wines with distinctive regional character, and is now regarded as one of the region's leading Cabernet and Shiraz producers
Distinguished by a thin, subterranean band of crumbled, red clay loam, Coonawarra is a fairly flat, otherwise unobtrusive region with a cool Mediterranean climate, actually not unsimilar to Bordeaux.
In Coonawarra, this unique layer of red clay is called, "terra rossa" and gets its color from iron oxide. The terra rossa soil overlies soft, penetrable limestone, in a continuous area that is part of the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia. This uncommon layering of soils creates a substrate that is both well draining and at the same time, offers good water retention to support vines’ roots through dry summers.
Not surprisingly, Coonawara experiences great success with the Bordeaux varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but also Shiraz. However Cabernet reigns superior and accounts for half of the Coonawarra harvest each year. Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignons develop powerful, yet polished tannins, and achieve ripeness without verging into imbalance. Typical of these unique reds are ripe red berry fruits with cassis, sweet herb and dried mint. The region has an increased focus on the individual expressions of single vineyard wines.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.