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I've had several red wines from this famous Australian producer (though I think only one Penfolds review is, so far, here), and I must say that I am impressed with their consistency—every wine I've had from them, at every price level, has been a good one. All too often, you see a winery that produces excellent top flight wines, but stumbles when they try to make a $10 bottle. Or, perhaps more frequently, you see wineries whose niche is the $10 bottle try to put out a top flight wine that is no better—or even worse—than their low-priced offerings. So I say, hail Penfolds!

Now, this $11 wine was by no means the best I've ever had, but I was impressed nonetheless. It is a blend of 74% Shiraz (that's Syrah to the rest of the world) and 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and…well…that's what it was: a wine with the spiciness of a Syrah backed by the fruity structure of a good Cab. In terms of color, it (unsurprisingly) leaned more toward the purple than you see even in some young Cabs. The aroma was perhaps a little understated, offering up some spice and hints of vanilla. The taste bore out my nose's suspicions, adding a bit of oak and a little smack of acidity. This acidity would probably not be to everyone's taste, but since I favor Italian wines, it was welcome; it even helped bring out the garlic in the dish I paired it with. The finish was short but pleasant. In sum, a good value from a trusted producer, and maybe a nice little change of scenery for the Cabernet drinker.

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