It was the perfect way to spend the last day of our study tour, being wowed by lunch at Penfolds Magill Estate, one of Australia's oldest and most iconic wineries, with a story that dates all the way back to 1844.
Upon arrival we were treated to a lesson in the history of the estate, including how founders Dr Christopher and Mary Penfold planted vine cuttings they had carried aboard vessel the Taglioni on their voyage over to Australia. In 1844 the fledging vineyard was officially established as the Penfolds wine company at Magill Estate.
The story of the company's first chief Winemaker Max Schubert, appointed in 1948, was also very interesting as we learned how in 1959 despite being instructed to stop making his famous Grange, he continued to perfect his wine experiment in secret, and the tradition of ‘bin wines’ began.
In 1960, the Penfolds board instructed Max Schubert to officially re-start production on Grange, his determination and the quality of the aged wine had won them over, and soon, the medals began flowing and Grange quickly became one of the most revered wines around the world. In 1988 Schubert was named Decanter Magazine’s Man of the Year, and on the 50th anniversary of its birth, Penfolds Grange was given a heritage listing in South Australia.
Speaking of Grange, we were informed there was a bottle at the vineyard valued at $20,000 but despite some discussion, there were no takers from our tour.
Then we were treated to what might have been the most spectacular event of the tour, a private lunch in the cellar.
When the double doors opened for the big reveal, it was breathtaking to say the least and the cuisine and wine that followed was incredible.
When the double doors opened for the big reveal, it was breathtaking to say the least and the cuisine and wine that followed was incredible...
We enjoyed an incredible degustation menu of Magill Estate sourdough and house churned butter to start, followed by kingfish with watermelon radish and lime matched with 2017 Bin 311 Chardonnay, Multi Regional.
Second course was scotch fillet with Japanese mustard and potato matched with 2015 St Henri Shiraz, South Australia.
Third course and dessert, was chocolate and candied hazelnuts with honeycomb matched with Grandfather Tawny.