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Shopping for festive wine with Penfolds
HAVE you ever given someone a decanter for Christmas only to have them ask, only partly in jest: Where's the wine? Penfolds has you covered this Christmas with its new Penfolds Aevum Crystal Decanter, which was created in partnership with crystal maker Saint-Louis.
The Penfolds Aevum Crystal Decanter is only available in a special S$2,100 set that comes with a standard 750ml bottle of Grange 2012. It comes with a metal base that the short-bottomed decanter sits on. The decanter is constantly at an angle, and pivots on the centre of the base to move around and swirl the wine. It's part showpiece, part performance art. Bin 95 Grange is Penfolds' top wine, and the one Penfolds is most known for, so the spectacular decanter is matched with a spectacular wine, though of course the decanter will flatter any wine.
"Care, double decanting and ceremony is woven into the fabric of Penfolds and transcends the ordinary. The elevation of the service ritual by way of the Penfolds Aevum Imperial Service Ritual enhances the enjoyment of Grange to release aromas and flavours through aeration, and importantly delivers an unforgettable visual experience and sense of occasion," said Peter Gago, Penfolds chief winemaker.
If a decanter's too conventional, or merely too small-scale, Penfolds has its Magill Cellar 3 programme. It involves buying a whole barrel of wine. That in itself isn't all that uncommon these days, but Penfolds has built an entire experience around it, which is why it costs A$198,000 (S$207,000).
Of course, the wine itself has to be exceptional. Each barrel is housed in Cellar 3 at Penfolds' Magill Estate in South Australia. The red wine is a blend of top quality Shiraz and/or Cabernet Sauvignon grapes personally selected by Mr Gago. It sits in the Nineteenth Century cellar at Magill and matures until you are ready to bottle it.
But the wine in the barrel, though central to the Magill Cellar 3 programme, is just the tip of the iceberg. You get a Global Concierge Service which helps you decide when you want your barrel bottled, and in what bottle size - although you do have to bottle the entire barrel at one go rather than gradually bottling it in stages. Penfolds will then fly you to Magill to make you part of the bottling experience. You will be wined and dined and treated like a VIP.
"This exquisite barrel release goes beyond the wine, offering unprecedented access to the inner workings of our winemaking craft and culture at Penfolds," said Mr Gago.
The Magill Cellar 3 programme was launched with the 2015 vintage, which is sold out, but the 2016 vintage is available.
While the Magill Cellar 3 programme and the Penfolds Aevum Crystal Decanter Grange 2012 gift set represent Penfolds' premium offerings, it does of course have something for everyone and several wines come in Penfolds 2016 Christmas Gift Boxes. 2015 Max's The Promise (S$60), for example, is available at DFS stores at Changi Airport and has a catchy box embossed with roosters, for the Year of the Rooster.
Although the 2012 Grange set with the Aevum decanter would make the most spectacular gift, the 2012 Grange is also available by itself in its own 2016 Christmas packaging for S$855.
Bin 389, affectionately nicknamed "Baby Grange" by fans, also has its 2014 vintage available in 2016 Christmas packaging for S$94. And 2013 St Henri Shiraz is S$125 in Christmas regalia too.