2005 Penley Estate Chardonnay Coonawarra

($20) Light gold. Honeyed apricot, peach and melon on the nose, along with a hint of anise. Plump, round and supple, with lush pit fruit and melon flavors lifted by gentle acidity on the back. Finishes broad and lush, with a clinging quality and good length.


2005 Penley Estate Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon Condor Coonawarra

($20; a 65/35 blend) Ruby-red. Ripe cherry and plum aromas are liberally dosed with vanillin oak spice. Supple in texture, with juicy red and dark berry flavors, soft tannins and a late-arriving note of candied licorice. This gained weight with air, picking up luscious blackberry and cassis on the back. A refreshingly bitter cherry pit note adds interest to the finish of this suave midweight.


2005 Penley Estate Shiraz Hyland Coonawarra

($20) Deep ruby. Sexy, expressive red and dark berry aromas are brightened by floral and mineral nuances. Very sweet on entry but the raspberry and cassis flavors are nicely enlivened by zesty acidity and a hint of orange peel. Crisp berry skin tones define the long, juicy finish, which leaves a lingering note of fresh raspberry. This boasts impressive depth and purity, especially at this price.


2005 Penley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Phoenix Coonawarra

($20) Ruby-red. Peppery redcurrant- and cherry-scented nose, complicated by notes of tobacco, gunflint and musky underbrush. Red fruit flavors are energized by zesty minerals and nicely framed by fine-grained tannins. Bright, linear and fresh on the impressively long finish. There's a very nice balance of energy, depth and sweetness here, and I suspect that this cabernet will repay another five or so years of cellaring.


2004 Penley Estate Shiraz Special Select Coonawarra

($50) Dark red. Explosively aromatic nose features vibrant strawberry preserve and creme de framboise scents brightened by a suave floral quality. A ripe raspberry flavor is joined by a good wallop of vanillin oak and a late note of sweet mocha. Tannins are on the soft side. There's wonderfully sweet fruit here but I wonder how much the oak will continue to influence this.


2004 Penley Estate Chertsey Coonawarra

($50; 60% cabernet sauvignon, 28% merlot and 12% cabernet franc) Ruby-red. Intense blackcurrant and cherry aromas, with an intriguingly musky underbrush and sassafras quality. Round, creamy and suave, with deep, sweet cherry, plum and dark berry flavors accented by cinnamon and clove. Subtle vanillin oak and mocha build on the long, sappy finish. Plenty big and rich but also lively thanks to vibrant minerality. Good luck finding this sort of power and elegance in Bordeaux at the same price these days.


2004 Penley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Coonawarra

($50) Dense ruby. Powerful, deeply scented bouquet of blackberry, cassis, plum compote and dark chocolate; a bit youthfully brooding today. Fat and supple, with concentrated dark berry and cherry flavors and an array of pungent herbs and dusty minerals. There's terrific sweetness and sappy texture here: this is clearly built for positive evolution over the coming decade. Reminds me of a high-end Bordeaux on the sweet, expansive, impressively long finish. Serious stuff! (Old Bridge Cellars, Napa, CA)

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