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Penley Estate Shiraz Cabernet 2002
Tolley has over 25 years of winemaking experience, including being involved in the making of many vintages of the famous Penfolds Grange. The estate is located in the heart of Coonawarra, with the vines planted in the famed "terra rossa" soils – bright red top-soils overlaying soft free-draining limestone.
Critically acclaimed as one of Coonawarra's leading estates, and voted as one of the International Wineries of the Year 2001 by Wine & Spirits Magazine, while the Reserve Cabernet voted best wine of Coonawarra 2001, as judged by winemaking peers and critics.
The Penley Estate signature style comprises distinct, precise, terrior driven wines – not overly oaked or excessively alcoholic. They display ripe clean fruit with true regional character – the senior wines will age for many years.
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 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 create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. 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.