I called him the Muhammod Ali of wine – but his real title is actually much more sophisticated.
Penfolds' Peter Gago was named the 'Winemaker's Winemaker of the Year' by a panel of of his peers from the Institute of Masters of Wine and the U.K. magazine The Drinks Business.
Gago is also the custodian --dare I say--godfather of Australia's and Penfolds' most famous wine, Grange.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Gago because he was in town for the Penfolds free re-corking clinics. Here’s how it works. Anyone who has a Penfolds wine that is at least 15 years old can bring it to a re-corking clinic and have it evaluated by a winemaker.
If opened, the bottle of wine will be tested and assessed for its quality. If the wine is deemed to be a good example of the style and vintage, it will then be topped up with a recent vintage of the same wine, re-corked, provided with a new Penfolds capsule, and then certified by the winemaker.
All for free.
Gago also was eager to talk about the Ampoule, which is a very special bottle for a very special wine. Only 12 units were produced for the entire world. It’s a true time capsule,” says Gago.
“The wine is the 2004 Penfolds Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon using grapes off an ancient Penfolds vineyard – from the world’s oldest continually producing Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard.”
The wine, which sells for $168,000 and come in a futurist-looking, hand-blown glass vial designed to preserve the pricey grapes, is suspended within a wooden jarrah cabinet.
And the best part? While all 12 bottles are accounted for, Gago himself will come open it when the lucky recipients are ready to drink it. Really.
Check it all out here:
Australia’s wines are very distinct from other regions of the world and much of it has to do with the climate. “In the state of South Australia, where Penfolds is based, it is the driest state on the world’s driest continent, with a winter-dominant rainfall which makes it perfect for grape-growing,” says Gago.
So while you may not be fortunate enough to taste the wine in the Ampoule (who is?!), you can still get enjoy a fabulous glass from Down Under.