Penfolds – “What’s customer service?”

I’m not too happy with Penfolds today – had a 2002 St Henri Shiraz (one of a 6 pack – this pack had 4 in it, and one of these remaining 4 had a leaky cork). After removing two for gifts I had placed other bottles into the box – 1x 2004 Wirra Wirra RSW and 1x 2001 Chapel Hill The Vicar). I had this sitting in under the stairs in a well insulated, protected environment (not perfect cellaring conditions, but pretty good). One bottle had the following happen:

Top of leaky cork

Top of leaky cork

so I called them to suggest this was a problem with the cork/bottle. They came back with it’s the storage that has caused this damage – this I question: I have drunk many bottles some which have been stored in this very location, and have had a few bottles that have not been great – TCA in 2x cases (cork taint) which is a defect at production time, and 1x heat damage – which I think was transport related, and many many good bottles that have remained good.

So this afternoon I have decanted one of the remaining 8 bottles of St Henri (none of which show any leakage) and what do you know – it’s in perfect condition. It’s not oxidised, it’s not suffering from heat damage, it smells mighty fine – full tasting notes to follow when we start drinking this proper in a few hours.

To Penfolds I say – there is nothing wrong with my storage conditions. There is however something very wrong with the corks you have used in this St Henri vintage. With your recent price hikes for the brand name, I can’t say I’ll be recommending your wines to any one in the near future. Fosters – go back to brewing beer and sell Penfolds to someone who understands wine, for at present, thou art scum.

Penfolds say this is caused by improper storage - rubbish its their faulty cork.

Penfolds say this is caused by improper storage - rubbish it's their faulty cork.

To anyone who buys wine – check for leakage out of the box – don’t leave the boxes sealed for any period of time.

EDIT: (5h later) I received a phone call from a Penfolds CSU and they’re sending a package to collect the cork and will determine what recourse to take from that point (replacement if 100% sure, substitution if there is some doubt) it’s nice to be taken seriously.

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