Penfolds have revived their Koonunga Hill label by releasing two new wines in retro packaging. Back in 1976, the Koonunga Hill red was first released. It was cheap, but surprisingly serious, and able to develop over many years.
During the dark years when Penfolds lost their way a bit, the Koonunga Hill brand lost some quality, becoming just another inexpensive Aussie red. That’s why it’s quite exciting to see this Koonunga Hill Seventy Six released. It’s a chunky, intense, ballsy red with lovely purity of fruit. I reckon this will age if you stash it away, but it’s delicious drinking now if you want something gutsy and bold.
The Riesling partner is named after one of Max Schubert’s experimental wines from the 1970s, when he was looking to develop a white to go with the Penfolds reds. It’s also an impressive effort. Both wines are well priced at £8.99.
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Seventy Six Shiraz Cabernet 2008 South Australia
14.5% alcohol. A tribute to the original 1976 Koonunga Hill. Deep coloured, this is a heady combination of intense, sweet ripe pure blackberry and blackcurrant fruit with some integrated spicy oak. Very rich and pure, with plenty of substance: extracted, tannic and grippy with lovely fruit focus. Great fun, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this turned out to be a 20 year wine – it will age. 90/100 (£8.99 Majestic, Waitrose)
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling 2008 South Australia
11.5% alcohol. Named after a white wine trial by Max Schubert in the early 1970s. Assertive, limey, citrussy, pithy nose with some floral notes. The palate is dry, spicy and savoury with nice citrus notes. Lots of flavour here: a lovely dry Riesling that is pithy and structured, and it will age. 89/100 (£8.99 Waitrose)