The 2010 Rawson’s Retreat is a blend of 62% Shiraz and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from multiple vineyards in South Eastern Australia. The Rawson’s Retreat brand is Penfolds entry level wine and in the past the Penfolds name was boldly written in red across the front (the photo on the left is an example of the old label), but for the 2010 bottling the Penfolds name is seen only in the small print information that legally must be shown on the back of the label. Penfolds produces an extremely large number of wines each vintage, from $8 entry level wines to the Grange Shiraz that can be cellared for 20 or more years. Many of their wines compete against each other in the marketplace, so it seems that they are starting to sort out their lineup with the 2010 vintage. This Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in French and American oak barrels and the alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is strawberry red with black highlights. The nose black and blueberry, plums, gingerbread spice and Nestle’s Quik powder. This wine starts off velvety and then transitions to a nice spicy, tart edge. Fresh blueberry hits first, followed by strawberry, dark chocolate and a hint of French vanilla. The mid palate shows curry spice with cherry and cranberry. The tannins give the back of your palate a slight tug, not too much, just enough to show that there is some Cabernet Sauvignon in the mix. The acidity is well balanced and the finish is admirably long and strong for a $7.99 wine.
If you notice, the Australian wine section in your local wine shop commands about half the space it did only 3 years ago. The bottom fell out of the Australian wine market, for several reasons, none of which had anything to do with the quality of the wine. It is not good for the Australian wine industry, but their loss is value wine drinkers gain, the glut of grapes available in Australia has lowered their price and grapes that in the past would never find their way into a $7.99 bottle of wine are easily available. In California, there is a grape shortage, not a surplus, so you have to be very careful to find value in inexpensive upcoming vintages, but Australian wines should be extreme values for the next couple of years.