Penfolds was never content making wine on its Australian soil. They will have to venture overseas, at terroir that's both familiar and new. California is one such location; a plan that's 20 years in the making. Starting at the Camatta Hills vineyard, Paso Robles, cuttings from Penfolds' Magill Estate and Kalimna vineyards were sent to be planted in Californian soil. Experimentation follows. Between 2006 and 2007, preliminary bottles were produced and never commercially released.
While experimental Camatta Hills vintages occurred in 2005 and 2007, the bottlings were never commercially released by Penfolds. In 20018, winemakers Peter Gago, Andrew Baldwin and Steph Dutton flew to Napa Valley to oversee their first Californian harvest. Not only were fruits from Californian vineyards (that include Napa Valley's American Viticultural Area like Oakville, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain and Rutherford) used, grapes from the original vine cuttings in Camatta Hills were used in, what would be the California Collection. Cabernet Sauvignon from Nappa Valley blended with Australian Shiraz led to what Penfolds referred to as 'wine of the world', which describes the wine’s taste profile—ingredients and maturation that spans time and continents.
The California Collection consists of the 2018 Quantum Bin 98 Cabernet Sauvignon; 2018 Bin 149 Cabernet Sauvignon; 2018 Bin 704 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Bin 600 Cabernet Shiraz—all were, according to Gago, made with the "Californian sun above and soil beneath, but everything in between [is] Penfolds".
Quantum Bin 98 (SGD700) is a potent expression of the blending style. With a deep red appearance and notes of dark berries, the favour has a suppleness that wraps around your palate like a snug glove; hints of hazelnut and graphite come to fore.
Matured for 16 months in French and American oak, Bin 149 (SGD149) has a look of a deep red; a heady barrel aroma of mocha and kirsch and an oaky profile on the tongue.
For Bin 704 (SGD70), the wine is nurtured in French barriques over a period of 16 months. The result is a bouquet of decadent chocolate and the sweet allure of cherries. Palate-wise, you can pick up a fruity presence that's outlined with a spicy oak.
And finally, Bin 600 (SGD50) is named after the Creston “600” Ranch, now known as the Camatta Hills vineyard, where Penfolds' cross-continental experiment began. The Bin 600 was matured 16 months in American oak. You can pick up notes of sage and turmeric and on the palate, you get flavours of liquorice, persimmons and dates.