2020 Penley Estate Helios Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra Australia

  • Australia's Leading Cabernet Producer
  • "Seriously Savory, Very Substantial Cabernet" ~95 RP
  • Connections to Penfolds
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About The Wine

Penley Estate is located in the center of Australia's most famous Cabernet region: Coonawarra. Continuing a family tradition that spans five generations, the winery was established in 1988 when the Tolley children continued the winemaking heritage of their pioneering families, Penfold and Tolley, both storied names in the Australian wine industry. In 1844, Mary Penfold defied stereotypes and was the driving force behind the establishment of McGill Estate. Similarly, from 1948-1961, Gladys Penfold Hyland was Penfold's Chairman of the Board. Their descendants, sisters Bec and Ang Tolley run Penley Estate, proudly channeling the vim and might of their ancestors!

Penley Estate's 240 acres of vineyards were planted atop Coonawarra's "Terra Rossa" soils with the aim of producing terroir-driven wines with distinctive regional character and are now regarded as one of the region's leading Cabernet and Shiraz producers. 

Kate Goodman is the mind behind Penley’s wines. She’s one of Australia's best contemporary winemakers, and in 2018 all her hard work was recognized by Australian Women in Wine awards when they named her “Winemaker of the Year”

Her expertise includes some of the most emblematic Aussie wineries like Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale, Tim Kanppstein in Clare Valley, Seppelt in Great Western, and Punt Road in Yarra Valley, among others.

Tasting notes: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Powerful yet restrained, the combination of dark fruits, savory notes, and focused tannin results in a pure expression of Cabernet Sauvignon. A complex nose full of blackcurrant, plum, licorice, and supporting savory French oak. The palate is concentrated and layered driven by a core of succulent fruit and structurally balanced tannin. A medium-bodied framework – driven by a savory, earthy tannin profile. A wine with excellent length and persistence. This wine can be enjoyed now, but will also reward those patient enough to cellar.


I last tasted the 2020 Helios Cabernet Sauvignon in early 2022 (12 months ago now, or thereabouts), and I remember clearly the tannins that were firm and pervasive. Today, they are not lessened by the passage of time, but neither is the fruit that rides upon them. This is a seriously savory, very substantial Cabernet Sauvignon that will cellar very well over the coming decades. From its clear reticence to budge over the past year, one assumes it will take some time to emerge from this very young stage. ~95 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

~95 The Wine Front

This has a leafy character with blackberries and blackcurrants, as well as notes of black olives and bark. Medium-bodied with a delicate, blue-fruited character. Fine-grained, chalky tannins. Polished and easy to drink. Vegan. Drink now. ~92 James Suckling

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