Peak Drinking: 2018 - 2045
Maturation: 17 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads
Region: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Magill Estate
Colour: Deep and dense dark red
It's a good solid Grange from one of the most difficult years ever.
Nose: Instantly Grange — aromatically heralded from glass to nose via trademark formic and barrel ferment markers. Majestic. Arguably a less-regal unfolding of sarsaparilla, creamy soda/cola-root beer nuances (how can this be?!), synergised with black (not red) liquorice and soy. A 17 month sojourn in 100% new oak is certainly well-hidden — more than a disguise, complete concealment. Archetypal North Barossa fruits extolling every varietal Shiraz variant! Ten minutes later...
Palate: Revealingly, what initially appear to be reticent repressed fruits...soon overtly ascend —blackberry, blackcurrant, fig, rhubarb, quince. A follow-up emission of black olive, shaved truffle, vanillin, boot polish, cola, ristretto coffee...with oak all but soaked up. Proper, pronounced and peripheral grippy tannins input texturally, endorsing what is already a formidable structure, with impressive length, depth and weight. Lively, assured...not trying too hard to be something it isn't.
Nose of sarsaparilla root, ginger beer and sweet spice. Excellent concentration that builds cumulatively with each mouthful. Fine grained tannin and flavours of anise and blackberry. Elegant, medicinal character. Great concentration, black pepper.
RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz 2013
Peak Drinking: 2016 - 2036
Maturation: 17 months in French oak hogsheads (57% new and 43% 1 y.o.)
Region: Barossa Valley
Colour: Bright deep red
You get almost that coffee grind, granular character. You get the tannin, you get the grit, you get the different tannins all together.
Nose: More than just its fruity initial aromatic demeanour of boysenberry and mulberry...arising peat and Middle Eastern (Moroccan) spices laced with malt, mustard seed. Nutty, cedary oak coalesces with a splash of freshly glazed fig and just-baked brandy snap.
Palate: Textbook RWT. Cranberry, blueberry (Danish muffin) fruits overlay a stylish, integrated (rose-wood) French oak framework. Pronounced tannins caught up in a magma flow of Barossa fruits and unctuous extract — more of a mouth-coating eruption/propulsion. Balanced. Persistent. Complete.
Peaty, saline nose reminiscent of whisky casks, also black and red berries. Coffee ground texture. Incredibly youthful, contemporary style of wine made in French oak from a single region. Peaty salinity coming through on pallet. Unctuous, pronounced tannin.
St Henri Shiraz 2012
Peak Drinking: Now - 2045
Maturation: 13 months in 50+ y.o. large oak vats
Region: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale,
Adelaide Hills, Robe, Clare Valley
Colour: Deep crimson red
This is provocatively the most old fashioned style of Shiraz made in Australia, and we're never going to change that. It's made in exactly the same way as John Davoren made the first for Penfolds in the 1950s.
Nose: At once Penfolds, at once and reassuringly an authentic, warmingly 'old-style' St Henri. A radiant 'redness' — an orb of red-currants, red liquorice and rhubarb. Earthy, gamey—cured meals, glazed ham, cold pan juices...scents charmingly emitted.
Palate: Solid. Aromatics conveyed/shared to palate — juniper, cinnamon, nutmeg, dry herbs. White milk chocolate, mocha and praline St Henri markers tussle to fore. Integrated, fine and delicate tannins certainly not intimidated by any brash oak. Poise and balance.
Powerful nose of licorice black fruit and cedar (although minimal oak influence due to large fodder barrels). Carefully and precisely structured and will age for many years to come, ideal for cured meats and lamb.
Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2013
Peak Drinking: 2016 - 2035
Maturation: 12 months in American oak (14% new, 36% 1 y.o.) and French oak (20% new, 30% 1 y.o.)
Region: Marananga, Barossa Valley
Colour: Bright, deep crimson redBUY NOW
It's a wonderful expression of the characters of the Marananga region. Juniper sometimes is quite prevalent, as a descriptor. You'll see all sorts of fruits in there in quite an evocative style.
Nose: Fresh and perfumed, vibrant and lifted. Inviting. French oak cedar and clove noted, however, sandalwood, mahogany and burnt fig imply derivatives from fruit, rather than Quercus. Freshly ground coffee, clove and juniper redress a regional Barossa association.
Palate: Bright, tense, energetic. So many epicurean-linked complexities— star anise/orange zest roast duckling, balsamic glazed beetroot, olive tapenade, black pudding. But it's Shiraz!? Fresh acidity and savoury tannins facilitate both grip and a tight and defined structure. The disciplined use of varied oaks (new/old/French/American) assist.
Exotic, heady nose redolent of a North African souk. Clove, coriander, spice, juniper, sandalwood. This is unusual, striking, and speaking to its Marananga origin. Lively, interesting pallet with elegance and length.
Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2013
Peak Drinking: 2018 - 2035
Maturation: 12 months in American oak hogsheads (28% new, 60% 1 y.o. and 12% 2 y.o.)
Region: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Coonawarra
Colour: Deep dark magenta
Probably the most famous Penfolds wine and I say that deliberately above and beyond Grange globally. Bin 389 is championed in every country. This is where price and value and quality all intersect.
Nose: A first impression of dark fruits and chocolate, splashed by spices — cinnamon, vanillin pod, cola. Then, a transient umami dabble — via cues of Worcestershire sauce/smoked Barossa bacon/ beef cube. To follow, a bruléed lift mirrored by scents of toasted brioche, soaked oats. Intriguingly different, yet still Bin 389, albeit young/evolving at this perusal at an early stage.
Palate: Expansive, explosive, exotic...a Bin 389 triple-ex palate rating! A wave/surge of fruits and spice unleashed —propelled by tomato and tahini paste flavours. Juicy, succulent tannins engulf, alongside oak — adding volume, density. Mouth-coating in every sense. Long and lingering.
Complex nose of chocolate, coffee, black pepper but looking a little closed. Silky, tahini textured tannin. Concentrated and delicious with poise and balance. BALANCE. All about the balance – old, new, French, American oak; multi region, perfectly blended.
Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Peak Drinking: 2017 - 2030
Maturation: 12 months in French oak (26% new) and American oak hogsheads (12% new, 35% 1 y.o. and 27% seasoned)
Region: McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, Barossa Valley
Colour: Bright garnet
It's varietally expressive, it shouts, it proclaims Cabernet Sauvignon. And that is the stylistic template.
Nose: Savoury spices (paprika, curry leaf) with beetroot, blackcurrant conserve and cassis varietal markers regally ascend. Less noble yet endearing wafts of Mediterranean meat(s)-on-a-spit, and a suggestion of oak/char. No herbaceousness, tomato-leaf or black olive or graphite immediately evident...however, darkened tarry and bitumen aromas abound.
Palate: Tight, solid, assertive — handles oak well. Impressive mid-palate adorned with pronounced Cabernet tannins and a refreshing acidity. Reassuring flavours including black olive and pomegranate alongside a fanciful impression of carpaccio slivers of seared venison. A (powdery) sprinkling of cocoa powder, mocha, shaved bitter chocolate and walnut husk adds further interest.
A textbook Cabernet nose of eucalyptus, menthol, cedar, fresh blackberries. A youthful wine but with power and potential. Length!
Kalimna Bin 28
Peak Drinking: 2017 - 2032
Maturation: 12 months in seasoned American oak hogsheads
Region: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Langhorne Creek
Colour: Deep dense red
I'd be comfortably drinking this over the next 15 years without risk. But if you want the vivacity of youth, if you want the primary fruit drink it this year, next year or the year after. If you want the secondary notes or the tertiary characters maybe wait 10 or 20 years.
Nose: Classic, dark. A black aromatic theme — graphite, flint, char, black jelly bean...A sensitive yet apparent veil of oak — ever so shy, compliant. Scents front the baker — Christmas pudding, replete with brandy and Cointreau-soaked currants: And from the chef— roasted meats, jus, pan-scrapings.
Palate: Full and expansive. An immersion of flavour saturation and a textural continuum across the palate. Mouth-coating sweet tannins and balanced acidity...never confronted by any threat of new oak. Black olive and chocolate notes resonate with an abundance of fruits — plum, prune, blackberries, wild blueberries... Persistent length and flavour, finishing firm and assertive.
Jammy and ripe blackberry, blackcurrant, black cherry nose with coconut and American oak aromas coming through. Excellent purity of concentrated fruit and a long finish.
Bin 8 Cabernet
Peak Drinking: Now - 2018
Maturation: 12 months in seasoned French and American oak
Region: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Langhorne Creek
Colour: CrimsonBUY NOW
If there is a mid-palate dip with Cabernet the Shiraz fills it so you get the structure and the definition of Cabernet coupled with the voluptuousness and embracing extract and that of the Shiraz.
Nose: A graphite and blackcurrant assertion immediately confirms Cabernet’s role in the blend. A lift of tomato-leaf and sour-cherry couples with other red fruits to further entice. Background cedary oak just discernible.
Palate: Medium-bodied. A summer-pudding swirl of fruits laced with red-currant conserve, praline. Varietal I.D. confirmed via green Sicilian olive, plummy fruits and spice. Fine tannins, well-concealed oak.
Upfront nose of bright red cherry. Ripe fruit, solid acid, firm tannin. Well-structured and age worthy.
Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2014
Peak Drinking: Now - 2019
Maturation: Eight months in 100% seasoned French oak barriques
Colour: Very light straw
Tumbarumba as an ongoing source for Bin 311? Easy to understand why! Rationalised and celebrated once again with this 2014 blend.
Nose: Time on yeast lees and regular stirring has delivered a Bin 311 of great aromatic complexity. Biscuity, brioche amid scents of roasted nuts - hazelnut, macadamia. Elements of sea spray with honeydew and guava fruits.
Palate: Again - a leesy complexity, quite biscuity - shortbread? At the same time this wine manifests an understated elegance, adorned with lemon curd/citrus. A balanced chalky acid structure courts a classic tapered finish. Stylistically, no new oak required.
Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling 2015
Peak Drinking: Now - 2020
Maturation: Three months in stainless steel
Region: Eden Valley
Colour: Very pale straw with lime green hues
Beguilingly one of the most elegant and aromatic Bin 51 offerings of recent times. As recently overheard -'It does Eden Valley proud'.
Nose: Noticeably youthful! An aromatic bouquet bursting with fresh floral scents of lilac, lavendar and spring flowers. Lemongrass, sherbet and grated lemon-rind add an exciting citrus burst - together with wafts of scented talc and perfumed bath salts.
Palate: Elegant yet remarkably fruit-generous at the same time. Riesling! In this year of its creation and release, lemon gelati, lemon pith and pink grapefruit flavours dominate. Talc-like mouth-watering acidity provides wonderful line, length and tension.