Three Australian Wines for Those of Us Who Can't Afford the $158,000 Sam's Club Penfolds Ampoule

Posted April 29, 2015

WineLibrary Staff


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So apparently there is a $158,000 bottle of wine for sale just an hour south of our humble store. You might have heard about it. To call it a bottle isn’t actually accurate, but then again “a hand-blown elongated plumb-bob filled with the best Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it? Anyway there is no doubt that the Penfolds Ampoule is is an extremely fun item, but for those of us without $158k to spend, how are we to get our Aussie wine fix?

Here are some options:

2012 First Drop Mothers Ruin Cabernet Sauvignon

You could buy 1000 bottles of this for the price of that Penfolds. Not too shabby considering it’s a 94-point rated Cabernet with absolutely magnificent fruit. Vanilla, and cocoa notes mingle in the party too making this a truly rich expression of Cabernet Sauvignon.

2012 Pyren Cabernet Broken Quartz

Another product of the fantastic 2012 growing season is the Broken Quartz Cabernet from Pyren. Where the last wine was sweet and supple, this one displays a brooding complexity and savory secondary notes that will get you thinking. A great example of the cooler Victorian climate.

2012 Pyren 'Block E' Shiraz

If you’re noticing a vintage trend here, that’s because we’re seriously hot on 2012 Australian wine. This is another wine from Pyren, and another wine from the coastal Pyrenees region in western Victoria. This particular bottling comes from a miniscule plot on the eastern border of the Pyren vineyards. Concentrated berries, spice, and a ton of structure and character are what you can expect. And all for 1/500th the price of a Penfolds Ampoule.

BONUS: Same winery… but for $8 instead of $158,000

2012 Penfolds Koonunga Hills Shiraz/Cabernet

We’re not sure that we can think of another winery with such diversity in price. It’s like if Aston Martin made an $8 car that you could actually get into and drive to work, and put groceries in. Totally bonkers. And actually super delicious as $10 wines go. Seriously, the Koonunga Hill is a killer weeknight-blend. Juicy fruit and toasty oak make it perfect with a plate of pasta and Game of Thrones re-run in the home movie theatre you built with the money you didn’t spend on a Penfolds Ampoule.


Product Label.

First Drop Mothers Ruin Cabernet...

94 James Halliday - Australia...

Item: 84521

750 mL

Retail: $21.99

$14.96 per btl

Product Label.

Pyren 'block E' Shiraz

95 James Halliday - Australia...

Item: 86159

750 mL

Retail: $50.00

$29.99 per btl

Item: 87469

750 mL

Retail: $13.99

$8.00 per btl

Product Label.

Pyren Cabernet Broken Quartz

93 James Halliday - Australia...

Item: 87587

750 mL

Retail: $29.99

$17.98 per btl