The West

Cellar dwellers out for a check-up
Penfolds Chief winemaker Peter Gago. Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

Some of Australia's rarest and most expensive wines took a day trip from cellars around Perth yesterday for a check over by Penfolds winemakers.

Penfolds, one of Australia's oldest wineries, has been offering the ultimate after-sales service for more than 20 years. The check ensures a bottle's prolonged cellar development and optimum drinking.

Since 1991, Penfolds' senior winemakers have opened, tasted, sniffed and re-corked more than 100,000 bottles at clinics around the world.

One Perth collector, who did not want to be named, brought his 400-bottle collection, some dating to 1953, to the clinic at Burswood Entertainment Complex.

Chief winemaker Peter Gago said almost all of the wines that Penfolds had made were represented in the collection, which included a 1958 Sauternes that was so rare he had not seen it before.

Mr Gago said the clinics were "not just about geeky collectors", with people of all ages and from all walks of life bringing in bottles, each of which had a story.

The clinics also weeded out bottles that had not been cellared properly because they could not certify wines that were not up to scratch.

"It's not just putting a new cork into a bottle," Mr Gago said.

"You are certifying it and signing off on it, so if it was to come up at auction, people will know the wine is as it should be."

The clinic continues today.

The West Australian

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