Words and taste can dance across the palate. I once had a literature teacher who remarked that the poems of John Keats were the best things she had ever put in her mouth. For wine producer, PengWine, both taste and its name true.
Named after penguins found in Chile, the founders, Chris Milliken and Max Eyzaguirre, wanted the name of their wine company to reflect the uniqueness of how they make their wine: of the resilience of Chilean penguins making their home along the South American shores.
It would be a different origin story had Milliken and Eyzaguirre met with the rapper Ginuwine.
Where were we… oh, yes.
The thing about making wine in Chile is that the Southern Hemisphere is more consistent in its production of consistent high-quality grapes than its Northern counterpart. Among its local grape varietals is the Carménère. As a member of the Cabernet grape family, the strain used to flourish in France but due to the phylloxera plague in 1867, it almost wiped out most of the vineyards in Europe.
Now a rarity in France, the largest cultivator of the Carménère variety is Chile. As the country's signature grape, Chile produces the majority of Carménère wines available today.
Each of PengWine's wines is named after penguins native to South America, like the Humboldt or the Galapagos (their red and white wines are named 'Gala' and 'Pagos', respectively). Taking its appellation from the Magellanic penguins, the Magellan 2010 is a Chardonnay infused with Sauvignon Blanc. Another blend to keep an eye out for is the King 2010. It may be an uncommon 50-50 fusion of Carménère and Malbec but this is the world's only 50-50 blend of Carménère and Malbec and that has received a bronze decanter award in 2018.
Since its inception 15 years ago, PengWine is now exporting to seven countries and, in the rise of counterfeits, has even teamed with AuthenticateIT to counter it. It's a brand that's as resilient as the birds they are named after and the company has more planned for the coming years.
Even Bonnaroo Cummberbund is a fan of the brand. Maybe.
PengWine is available online.