At US$168,000… Penfolds Block 42 Cabernet ampoules are the most expensive 750ml red wine sold directly ex winery. The most expensive wine ever sold ex winery was a 6 litre Imperial of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 sold for US$500,000... recently a 750ml bottle of 1945 Romanee-Conti red Burgundy sold at Sotheby’s for US$558,000.
Made from fruit off 100+ year old Cabernet vines still on their original rootstock... this 6 litre Imperial, was purchased by Fine Wine Delivery (FWD) owner Jeff Poole in 2007, on the advice of Chief Winemaker Peter Gago. Peter described it as the best Cabernet Penfolds had made… commenting on its deeply layered complexity and perfect 13% alcohol.
Provenance is perfect… Jeff purchased the wine on release then flew to Sydney accompanying it to Auckland. It was immediately placed in FWD’s temperature/humidity controlled cellars. It potentially could live well beyond 100-years if it continues to be professionally stored.
Penfolds have previously indicated interest in buying the Imperial back… Jeff has listed it for sale ex FWD private cellars at US$299,000. Inquiries to email@example.com
2004 Penfolds Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon Imperial 6L
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|Region||Barossa Valley, South Australia|
97/100 It's not known exactly when the Kalimna Block 42 was planted but there are suggestions that the vines existed during the latter part of the 19th Century. They could be the oldest Cabernet vines in the world, although the famous Metala Cabernet vineyard in Langhorne Creek was known to have been planted in 1891 so could very well pre-date Kalimna. Regardless, I've been there and the vines are truly old. Only very rarely does Penfolds release this as a single vineyard wine, when the Cabernet is so fabulous it can't possibly be blended. The 2004 Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon was such a vintage. Matured in 100% new American hogsheads for 13 months, it displays a very deep garnet-purple color and profoundly earthy / gamey aromas over black cherry preserves, creme de cassis plus scents of leather, pencil shavings, Mediterranean herbs, black truffles, underbrush and black olives. The elegant, medium-bodied palate is tightly-knit and led by structure with a high level of grainy tannins, very high acid and a long earthy finish. Approachable now, it should continue to evolve and drink to 2025+.
With a lot of changes happening around the Foster's Group, it is business as usual at Penfolds.which seems to operate within its own world. But this is no small world. The vineyard holdings here are vast and the connections with growers go back generations. Chief winemaker Peter Gago is the very well spoken front-man for the production team backed-up Kym Schroeter in charge of the whites and Steve Lienert crafting some very fine, consistent and sometimes inspired reds. If Champagne is all about the art of blending, then Penfolds is the Champagne of Australian wine. Those that think large companies producing wines that emphasize blending can't make great wines need to think about the Champagne model or simply try some of Penfolds top wines to become believers. That said - check out their recent single vineyard release: the very special 2004 Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon, the first release of a wine made purely from this 100+ year old single block (perhaps the oldest block of Cabernet in the world?) since 1996. - RobertParker.com
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