Rawson’s Retreat Shiraz Cabernet 2011

I admit it, my husband and I are wine geeks. Not necessarily wine snobs, although I do Penfoldsprefer red wines be served at their proper temps. All too often I order a red wine in the middle of summer only to be served a warm red liquid in a wine glass. Such an atrocity and insult not only to the wine but to wine lovers. When enjoying a glass of wine you’ll see me swirling, sniffing, chewing, analyzing and repeating the process again.

Other times I just don’t want to think about wine, I just want to relax and enjoy what I hope to be at minimum a decent glass of wine. If I’m lucky I’ll grab a random “no thinking required” wine and come up with a real winner. Case in point, Rawson’s Retreat Shiraz Cabernet by Penfolds.

Aromas of plum and black cherry and cassis combine with dark berry flavors, medium body with supple tannins and a soft lingering cherry finish. Not bad for something I picked up at Kroger for $8.99.
I wish I could provide the technical data but on the Penfold’s website they have the info for the Cabernet listed under the Shiraz Cabernet. I can tell you the wine is 53% Shiraz and 47% Cabernet.

Penfolds is to Australian wine as Coca-Cola is to American soft drinks. Not only iconic but each has its origins in health and tonics. After graduating from his studies at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold migrated to Australia. His belief in the medicinal qualities of wine prompted the doctor and his wife Mary to purchase the 500 acre Mackgill estate in 1844. Using Grenache grapes to produced fortified port and sherry the good doctor dispensed the wines as a tonic for anemic patients. As the doctor’s “practice” became more popular Mary took on many of the winery responsibilities including management and winemaking.

Dr Penfold passed away in 1870 and wife Mary entered a partnership with her son-in-law Thomas Hyland, naming the business Penfold & Co. By this time the winery was producing more than one-third of South Australia’s wine. The estate was now producing both sweet and dry red wine, white table wine, Port, Sherry, Claret, Rieslings, Erdelho, Mataro (mourvedre), Frontignac and Pedro Ximenez.

During this time, Mary experimented with new wine production methods, explored options for combating diseases like phylloxera, and employed a cellar master by the name of Joseph Gillard. Mary passed away in 1894 having left a lasting impression on the Australian wine landscape. The winery remained in the Penfold family until 1976.

The Rawson’s Retreat line is touted as a contemporary wine for immediate drinking and is the introductory level for Penfolds wines. The name Rawson’s Retreat refers to the stone cottage built by Dr Penfold at the Magill Vineyard in Adelaid where the doctor, Mary and daughter Georgina settled in 1844 prior to establishing the winery.
The Penfold’s slogan “1844 to evermore” is a nod to the wineries beginnings.

I’d like to go on a retreat right about now. Some place where work is forbidden maybe. No phone or internet connection too. My new position is running me ragged since my co-worker and trainer is no longer with the company. Keep swimming, keep swimming, keep swimming.


About Kellie Stargaard

Wine blogger
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