Penfolds unveils Champagne Thiénot collaboration
Penfolds unveiled its latest project, a new Champagne Cuvée Brut in collaboration with Champagne Thiénot, at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris. The new addition cements the global luxury winemaker’s ongoing winemaking commitment in France, writes Colin Hay.
After 180 years, Penfolds has lost none of the flair for innovation that has characterised it since the start. Seizing on the opportunity of the global wine community being assembled for Wine Paris & Vinexpo in Paris it unveiled, this morning, its latest project, a new Champagne Cuvée Brut conceived and produced in collaboration with Champagne Thiénot.
This new addition to Penfolds’s increasingly extensive French portfolio cements the global luxury winemaker’s longstanding relationships with, and ongoing winemaking commitment to, France.
This morning’s launch of the Champagne Cuvée Brut follows the inaugural global release of three 2012 vintage Champagnes at The Ritz Paris in 2019.
Its unveiling marks a significant and important expansion of Penfolds Champagne portfolio, acknowledging and building on the strong collaboration and shared ambitions of its valued partner Champagne Thiénot.
Penfolds’ connection to France in fact dates back more than seven decades, with the then experimental 1951 Grange inspired by the ideas and techniques that legendary winemaker Max Schubert learnt on a serendipitous visit to Bordeaux in 1950.
db talked to Penfolds managing director Tom King on the eve of the official announcement in the famous Hotel de Crillon, facing La Place de Concorde in Paris. He explained that the new Champagne Cuvée Brut was conceived under the watchful eyes of Penfolds’ chief winemaker, Peter Gago, and Champagne Thiénot chef de cave, Nicolas Uriel.
Importantly, this approach was supported by a vigorous classification process that ensured Penfolds House Style was maintained, with Peter Gago and Nicolas Uriel working together on each detail – from the management and selection of the vineyard parcels to the assemblage and dosage of the wine itself.
Commenting on the release, King noted Penfolds’ longstanding connection to France, saying the team was excited to continue to bring our innovation to complement France’s incredible winemaking heritage.
“As a global luxury brand, we work in some of the world’s best winemaking regions. It’s an absolute privilege to be part of the French winemaking community, working closely with local producers and growers to continue to evolve our French wines and showcase them to the world.”
This is as true of its co-construction of the new project with Champagne Thiénot as it is of its significant and ongoing investment in Bordeaux following the recent acquisition of Château Lanessan.
As he went on to explain, “Penfolds continues to push boundaries, experiment, and deliver incredible wines and experiences to wine lovers around the world.”
He added: “Penfolds is proud to be in the Bordeaux Hall at Vinexpo Paris this week. What better way to kick off our 180th anniversary celebrations than with the introduction of the Champagne Cuvée Brut, made in collaboration with our friends at Champagne Thiénot, and the expansion of our distribution with La Place de Bordeaux”.
As this reminds us, today’s news comes on the back of Penfolds’ announcement, earlier in the year, of a strategic move to expand distribution of its icon and luxury wines through La Place de Bordeaux.
Through La Place, Penfolds has partnered with a crack team of 11 of Bordeaux’s most eminent négociants orchestrated by the specialist hors Bordeaux courtier Excellence Vin.
The selected negociants – Barrière Frères, CVBG, Descaves, Duclot, JP Moueix, Ginestet, Sichel, The Wine Merchant, Joanne Rare Wines, Ulysse Cazabonne, and Veyret Latour – will play a pivotal role in bringing these wines to a broader audience.
Taken together, these milestones mark the next chapter for Penfolds in France, following several successful French wine launches and investment in local vineyards and wineries.
Penfolds is expanding its Champagne collaboration with Champagne Thiénot, following a 2022 partnership with Dourthe in Bordeaux to make Penfolds II Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2019. In the same year, Penfolds also released the first French winemaking trial wine: FWT 585 2019 made at winery Château Cambon la Pelouse.
The FWT project was Penfolds’ first French winemaking trial made by Penfolds winemakers on the ground in Bordeaux, including South Australian native Shauna Bastow who this month relocated to Bordeaux from the Barossa Valley to join the team at Cambon la Pelouse.
Since the completion of Penfolds’ acquisition of Château Lanessan, one of the oldest estates in Bordeaux, Penfolds is also working on upgrading the site while preserving the history and heritage of this famous property. Lanessan’s winery is currently being upgraded, with the broader site restoration expected to commence shortly.
The Champagne Cuvée Brut follows the inaugural global release of three 2012 vintage Champagnes at The Ritz Paris in 2019.
It will be interesting to see what Penfolds has in store as it becomes an ever more active investor in Bordeaux and Champagne.
Penfolds Champagne Cuvée Brut in collaboration with Champagne Thiénot will be available in key markets globally from September 2024. RRP AU$79.00.