16 November 2012, Singapore – Luxury travel retailer DFS in Singapore is the first retailer to showcase the exclusive Penfolds Ampoule Number 8 from 15 November 2012. There are a total of 12 such Ampoules around the world and Ampoule Number 8 is valued at S$218,000. Ampoule Number 1 is housed at the Penfolds spiritual home Magill Estate Winery in South Australia while Ampoule Number 6 can be found at Dragon Seal Restaurant and Bar in Hong Kong. The Penfolds Ampoule was first unveiled in the Cristal Room Baccarat in Moscow, during a 100 Point Dinner for 20 special guests from around the world.
The Penfolds Ampoule contains the 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon which was awarded the highest accolade of 100 points by renowned U.S. wine critic James Suckling in 2011. Planted in the mid 1880s, the Block 42 vineyard is located at the edge of the Penfolds Kalimna property in the Moppa area of the Barossa Valley, some 60 kilometres north of South Australia’s capital Adelaide. The ten-acre Block 42 vineyard is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon vines of ancient genetic origins. For almost 130 vintages these vines – planted on their own roots- have produced flavour-intense, mineral-rich fruit with exceptional concentration and balance. The vineyard produces limited yields of unusually high quality fruit in most vintages.
The Penfolds Ampoule project is an artistic collaboration between Penfolds and a group of four craftsmen.
Australian glass artist Nick Mount has designed and blown a conical, elongated plump-bob of transparent grey glass with a ruby red ‘cotton-reel’ top to encase the ampoule. The plump-bob is suspended in the cabinet, with the ampoule held securely at its core.
The Ampoule is created by scientific glass blower Ray Leake who has over 40 years of experience creating customised laboratory glassware. Ray used laboratory-grade Borosilicate glass for the Ampoule because of its transparent, chemical-resistant and heat-resistant characteristics.
The two parts of the glass cone are joined with a bronze and brass bayonet fitting, plated in rhodium. Hendrick Forster chose the materials for their working qualities and the rhodium, a precious metal more expensive than gold, was used for its lasting shine and resistance to tarnish. The plump-bob is suspended by means of a stainless steel thread, and the rhodium-plated metal tip of the cone is held in place by neat conceit – an inverted sommelier’s tasting cup, crafted from sterling silver with a gold dome.
Andrew Bartlett designs and makes bespoke furniture using traditional age-old methods out of his studio in Jam Factory in Adelaide. To create the cabinet for the Ampoule, Andrew used Australian Jarrah from forestry-certified timber grown in Western Australia’s Margaret River region. Andrew rubbed vinegar soaked steel wool in the the wood to achieve a rich, dark stain on the wood. The vinegar reacts with the tannins in the wood and gives a ‘queen ebony’ stain. The interior of the cabinet is lined with bevelled, grey smoke-back mirror.
The Penfolds Ampoule Number 8 is on display DFS in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2.