2004 Penfolds "Koonunga Hill" Cabernet Sauvignon South Eastern Australia 375ml (Elsewhere $6.99)

SKU #1053579

The first vintage of the Koonunga Hill was the 1976 Shiraz-Cab blend, envisioned as a reasonably priced everyday wine of outstanding quality. That vision has been realized time and again, and is demonstrated with this 2004 Cabernet, but never this affordably! Elegant and refined, the Penfolds "Koonunga Hill" Cabernet Sauvignon has benefitted from extra time in bottle. The dark berry fruit is focused and mature, with lovely balanced hints of jamminess and violets that are hallmark of these wines. Lovely now. There is no better bargain in the shop for Cabernet Sauvignon, just $72 for a 24-bottle case! (Joe Z, K&L Old & Rare wine buyer) According to the Wine Enthusiast: "Hints of brown sugar and raisin on the nose give an impression of great ripeness, but that's balanced by fresh black currant, coffee and black olive flavors. Tannins are supple, but finish on a slightly dusty note, giving the wine enough backbone to pair with steak." (11/15/2007) And, according to Wine Spectator: "Firm in texture, with juicy currant and spice flavors, finishing on a peppery note." (10/07)

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Price: $2.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.