Penfolds this week unveiled its first Chinese Collection wine – the Chinese Winemaking Trial 521 Cabernet Sauvignon Marselan 2021 (CWT 521).
The $150 wine was unveiled by Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago in Shangri-La, Yunnan, at an event attended by government officials of Yunnan, representatives of the China Alcoholic Drinks Association (CADA) and media.
“The wine overtly showcases Penfolds time-honoured and distinctive House Style,” Peter says.
“CWT 521 is made from grapes sourced from five geographical areas in China – four batches of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the villages of Xidang, Sinong, Dongshui and Mingyong in Shangri-La, Yunnan, and one batch of the Marselan varietal from Ningxia.”
The name of the wine – 521 – embodies the Penfolds tradition and philosophy of trial and experimentation pioneered by Yattarna Bin 144 and RWT Bin 798, which is also known as Red Winemaking Trial.
As a trial wine, the numerals 5-2-1 refers to the sourcing of the wine from ‘five’ geographical areas from the China winemaking regions, and ’21’ refers to the first commercial vintage of this trial.
Peter Gago acknowledges the Collection is an evolving showcase of Penfolds innovative spirit and enduring ‘House Style’ – now in a truly global context with the addition of China as a sourcing region.
“The Penfolds Winemaking Team relishes the opportunity to work across two hemispheres and numerous time-zones – with like-minded people and unique winemaking cultures – redefining what ‘pushing the boundaries’ now means,” he says.
“For almost two centuries, experimentation and trial continue to be a key driver of the creation of many Penfolds ‘trial’ wines including Grange (experimental 1951), Yattarna Bin 144, Red Winemaking Trial 798 (RWT) Barossa Valley Shiraz and now the CWT 521.”
A strategic co-operation agreement was established with the country’s peak alcohol body – the China Alcoholic Drinks Association (CADA) in 2022, advancing China’s wine industry on the global stage through technical knowledge and expertise exchange, as well as wine education and culture programs.
Penfolds relationship in China began in 1893, with the first bottles of Penfolds exported from South Australia to Shanghai.
Peter Gago has been visiting and working in China for almost three decades and is now joined by Penfolds red winemaker Matt Woo.
The brand has continued its Re-Corking Clinics across a range of locations in China.
Solidifying its commitment to all regions where it produces wine, Penfolds also announced the establishment of its community and sustainability initiative – ‘Penfolds Evermore’.
It captures Penfolds aspirations as a global winemaker to leave a positive legacy.
Under the program, Penfolds will provide more than $1 million in support for programs in Australia, the US, France and China over the next five years through a new grant program and more.
Beginning in 2022, Penfolds has partnered with the China Agricultural University to establish a student fund and academic exchange program that supports winemaking and viticultural studies for local winemaking talent.
The China Agricultural University partnership complements its long-term agreement with (CADA).
The initial release of the CWT 521 2021 is limited.
It will be globally available as part of The Penfolds Collection 2023 from Thursday 3 August.