2004 Royal Premium
Chile: Maipo Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Pengwine Winery.
UNIQUE WINE ALERT!: Today’s wine is the most uniquely delicious and original red wine blend we have come across!
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Mission Codename: Hardly Monochromatic
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Chilean producer Pengwine, and retrieve their best and most popular wine for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Pengwine
Wine Subject: 2005 Royal Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Chris Millikan and Max Eyzaguirre
Backgrounder: Operatives who have been with us this last year will recognize today’s target. Pengwine Winery of Maipo Valley in Chile was a big hit when we first featured them here. Central Command has been keeping close tabs on Pengwine and after a careful extended surveillance, sent Agent Red to retrieve today’s unique and oh, so delicious, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. Read Agent Reds tasting notes and corresponding Mission Report, below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Black cherry juice and garnet in color, with perfect clarity through its concentrated darker center. On swirling the surface of the wine appears bouncy and it takes some time to fully settle, leaving behind fat and skinny legs that move slowly down the glass
Smell – The aromas of this wine *_leap*_ out of this glass, even on first pouring. Swirl the wine and bigger aromas waft out, hitting you on the nose before your nose is anywhere near the glass. Some would call this a profound nose, but I call it big and bold but not cloying. Now, about the flavors: Big aromatic of fresh flowers, giant currant, cherry, roasted blackberry, ancient suede and parchment, tobacco and a slight vegital quality that I can’t quite identify
Feel – Initially cool and wet, then mouth-coating and a little grippy as medium tannins appear and grab the middle and sides of the roof of the mouth
Taste – Big red currant, sweet cranberry, raisin and blackberry with a touch of bergamot (found in Earl Grey tea) and hints of cocoa powder, tomato vine and flinty earth
Finish – Delicious, big, long and fruity with a medium dryness and flavors that go from slightly tart to sweet, then tapering off as your watering mouth begs for another sip
Conclusion – This is a singular wine of remarkable distinction! This rich and chewy wine has layers of gigantic flavors and aromas but, oddly, I did not feel bowled over by it. We are so pleased to see Pengwine continuing to evolve as a winery, producing better and better wines with each new vintage. Chris has been a great friend to The Wine Spies and we are proud of his success. He and Max are making great wines that are original in their style and grand in their appeal. While some may shy away from Chilean wines, this is one to rush to. This wine is big, yes, but it also has balance and restraint. A big thanks to Chris, for letting us be the first retailer in America to have this superb wine!
Agent Sparkle adds: “Whatever is going on in this wine, its thoroughly drinkable – even on its own. I usually prefer to drink wines with food, but found myself sipping away at this wine all on its own.”
US/Chilean Pengwine Wines was conducting a winetasting at the bottom of the world, and I tagged along. It turned out to be an adventure.
Posing as a wine writer for a prestigious wine magazine, I was able to secure my cargo plane seat on this first-ever Antarctic wine event.
As I sat in the plane, I watched out the window as the airport workers clumsily loaded luggage and wine crates onto the planes loading ramp. After I saw my own luggage spill off the cart and onto the tarmac, I had visions of the wine crates suffering the same fate. Shortly thereafter, they did. Spilled wine made dark circles on the black pavement.
I dashed out of the plane with the winemaker and ran to save the wine. Many of the bottles were broken, but we managed to repack the remaining wine and load it safely onto the plane. After the winemaker conducted a few harried-sounding calls, he decided that he had enough wine for the expedition and that the trip was still on.
Two bumpy flights and a refueling stop later, we were out over some of the clearest water I had ever seen. The day was crystal clear and I could feel the excitement of the expedition members mounting.
The landing was flawless and the wine survived the trip intact.
We were greeted by airfield personnel (a single person) who accompanied us on our quest to find the natives. With wine bottles secured inside of parkas, we simply picked a direction and started walking. A short while later, a few dozen natives in sight, we stopped, opened bottles, poured and raised our glasses in a salute – to the penguins… Those on the glacier and those on the labels!
To learn more about this expedition, book a National Geographic cruise through the Antarctic – where Pengwine is an official selection aboard the ship.
Wine Spies Spy Photo:
The bottom of the world, where this winetasting actually, honestly, truly, really did take place, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
The royal penguin is among the most majestic of the breed and our PengWine Royal is equally regal and sophisticated. A premiere blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, PengWine’s Royal is a smooth and complex wine that promises to be a unique wine drinking experience, and delivers with every glass. Royal is a special reserve produced and bottled in limited quantities, so it is available for only the most discerning palates. The nose is fragrant with sweet blossoms and allspice, and has a faint touch of leather, making it delicate and rich, all at once. Spectacular with steak or spaghetti and meatballs, your first sip will seduce you with notes of cranberries and raspberries and finish with a hint of Earl Grey. Royal is for those wine enthusiasts looking to be transported by a world-class vintage with unparalleled flavor and complexity. You deserve grand treatment, so drink like a royal and pour yourself a glass.
We reserved the best grapes from the best vines in the vineyard to gently press into this special reserve. The premier 85/15 Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend from PengWine is like no other. You may have heard about smooth wines with complex characteristics, but the Royal is unique. Though we used the Bordeaux brothers in this bottle, we’ve crafted it to let the best of each show through proving that PengWine Royal is worthy of its heraldic name. Contact us today to reserve some Royal for your most special occasions. Limited quantity, only 250 available for sale in the US.
The weather was good to us in 2004; perfect during the growing season and during harvest in the fall. In January, we green harvested to reduce yields and concentrate on premium grapes.
Harvest began in Early April for the mid- season ripening Cabernet Franc and by mid May the Cabernet Sauvignon was ready. We picked ripened bunches over the course of two weeks. All harvesting was done by hand to select only whole ripe bunches.
In the development of this wine, only the best grapes were selected. Each variety was de-stemed and crushed then placed in separate temperature controlled steel tanks. Cold maceration lasted one week. The skins remained with the must during the fermentation. Fermentation lasted almost 10 days. After the primary fermentation was complete, the wine had an additional 1 week maceration time. Only the free flow juices were transferred to the barrels and malolactic fermentation was encouraged. A 85-15 blend was considered to be optimum and we were delighted with the final result.
About The Winery:
PengWine began with two friends from opposite ends of the American continent, Chris Milliken, from the U.S., and Max Eyzaguirre, from Chile. Their adventure started in 2004, when they hatched the idea and bottled their first vintage of 2003 PengWine. Since then, both men have chosen the best grapes from a boutique vineyard in Chile to create unique wines that you can enjoy without ever leaving your hometown.
Alcohol Level (% by vol.): 14.5
Total acidity (grams/liter): 3.36
Residual Sugars (grams/liter): 2.92
Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon 85%; Cabernet Franc 15%