The following article has been brought to you by Penfolds
Of all the four-letter words you’ll utter during this year’s holiday shopping, only one will actually make the task easier: wine.
Come gifting season the right bottle of wine speaks volumes. To your boss, your partner’s parents, and anyone else who needs to be impressed, it says “I have great taste and impeccable judgement.”
To a best mate, it says “Our bond runs so deep that I knew exactly which bottle you’d love.” To the person you accidentally left off your list and need a last-minute present for, it says “Hey, at least it’s not socks.”
With the holidays rapidly approaching, it’s time to get your bottles in a row. We’ve collaborated with Penfolds to bring you a short guide to the wine you should be gifting this year – because when there’s a reason to give, Penfolds has a number. Rest assured that each bottle will live up to your grape expectations.
To The Max
Many of Penfolds most famous releases, like the legendary Grange, are designed to go straight from shop to cellar. They’re wines for the true oenophile – someone with an appreciation for the craft and the patience to wait years until a bottle is at its best.
But let’s be honest: that’s not everyone on your shopping list. And even if it was, your bank account would be screaming for mercy if you splurged on all of them. What you need is a wine that goes down well and goes easy on the wallet. What you need is Max’s.
The Max’s range sees Penfolds step into new territory. The collection, inspired by Penfolds revered former chief winemaker Max Schubert, can be enjoyed immediately.
The range is approachable for novice palates, though more experienced appetites will also feel spoiled. Price tags, for the most part, are similarly approachable. We’ll call them “respectable for a special occasion without forcing you to dip into the retirement fund.”
Here’s the perfect gift for everyone on your list this year.
For The Beginner: Max’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Max’s Cabernet Sauvignon won’t let you down. Rich and robust, the nose displays sun-dried tomato, blackcurrant, and black olive with slight toffee overtones. The palate is dense, long, and full. The grapes were aged for 12 months in American oak, and come from Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Padthaway, and the Barossa Valley.
The resulting wine is dry with a healthy level of tannins, and full-bodied with medium acidity – perfect for pairing with food. An aspiring somm can appreciate its accessible boldness without feeling too challenged, and can pop the cork immediately without guilt.
For The Up-And-Comer: Max’s Shiraz Cabernet 2014
Bestow this bottle on someone who is farther along in their journey to wine mastery. On the nose, Max’s Shiraz Cabernet offers dark sour cherry and a brandy snap lift, along with savoury notes of sage and bayleaf.
On the palate you’ll find berried fruits and mixed spices, and an appealing custardy creaminess. Focused tannins and sensitive oak afford a firm grip on the finish.
This classic varietal mix is medium bodied and instantly drinkable, though the bolder Shiraz grapes make it better suited to slightly more advanced tastes than the Cabernet Sauvignon.
For The Mid-Way Maven: Max’s The Promise 2014
Your giftee has made great strides in their quest for expertise. They know their Bordeaux from their Burgundy and their Malbec from their Merlot, but they’re not quite comfortable throwing around terms like “terroir” and “typicity.”
Reward their hard work with Max’s The Promise, a South Australian Shiraz that can be promptly uncorked but will continue to improve with time. The nose calls to mind holiday cooking, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and white chocolate against a background of oak and spice.
The palate is well-balanced, generous, and rich. Plummy and spicy fruits dominate, followed by chocolate and mocha flavours. Full fruit and firm tannins make The Promise a fitting treat for those taking their learning to the next level.
For The Connoisseur: The Max Schubert 2012
The 2012 Max Schubert Cabernet Shiraz is a testament to the Penfolds winemaking philosophy and the art of multi-regional blending. It begins with the nose: saturated red-currant fruits and stewed mulberry, followed by soy and Worcestershire sauces and freshly tanned leather, and finally, a waft of icing sugar, vanilla, and fragmented brandy snap.
From there we move to the palate. The Max Schubert Cabernet Shiraz is a complex blend that unravels with air and time. Red fruits arise from a mix of dark chocolate, mocha dust, and chocolate-coated liquorice. The wine is succulent, savoury, chewy – propelled by formidable tannins and well-hidden new oak.
With a higher price point than other bottles in the range, the luxurious experience of the Max Schubert is best suited for the aficionado. Save this beauty for someone with more sophisticated tastes, who truly appreciates what it means to receive the signature gift of Penfolds.