3rd March 2011: The 2011 Penfolds Bin releases
Penfolds Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2010,
Tumbarumba is a region nested between the Mannus State and Bago
State Forests in NSW, about 90km from Wagga Wagga. Its a region of altitude
and this is shows in the wine. Very soft florals and lemon blossom, hint of
fresh cold minerality. This wine is child's play, easy to drink with sprig
of grapefruit flavour and kinda quartzy impure crystal sensation, so not
crystal clear and refreshing. Would be alright with capsicum salad with
grilled prawns. I'd pay $18-20 for this. Drink now. 88/100.
Penfolds Bin 138 Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre
Fruit sourced from old Barossa Valley vines. Lovely perfume of
dusty cocoa, black and blue berries with a hint of cherry stalks (perhaps a
residual from the small oak barrel fermentation). Med+ bodied with youthful
tannins. Very nice with a long finish. I'd pay $20-25 for this. Drink now -
Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz, SA
Matured in French oak, this Coonawarra shiraz is meant to be a
picture of cool climate shiraz. Focussed nose with cherry and ripe dark
raspberry notes. Sappy tannins, this is a med+ bodied wine with savoury
raspberry liquorice coupled with cough syrup cherry flavouring. I'd pay $25
for this. Drink now - 2018. 90/100.
Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2008, SA
Fruit sourced from Barossa Valley, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale. First
made in 1959, the 2008 vintage marks the 50th anniversary of this label.
Dense nose with a hint of fruit depth but I can hardly claim the aromas of
dark berry fruit to be enticing. One does get the immediate sensation that
this is from a hot climate but note I haven't described it as complex. Med+
bodied wine with an even layer of tannins. It's easy to drink but flat out
boring. Drink now - 2018+. I distinctly remember buying my first bottle of
Bin28 1996 for $25 ages ago. Given current levels of competition, I can't
say I'd be willing to pay any more for this release. 89/100.
Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, SA
Fruit sourced from Coonawarra, Robe, Wrattonbully and Padthaway. A typical
CS, the nose smacks of Coonawarra fruit with dusty warm plums, black
raspberry, black cherry and even a hint of mocha. However, the entire
profile is uplifting and light, hardly the heavier more robust style one
should expect (my personal opinion). Still, this is a well-crafted wine, no
doubt about that. It's got good structure, the lively tannins balance out
the fruit weight almost perfectly. Rich cherry, plum and blackberry flavours
are retained on the finish. Still needs some time to come together. Expect
to pay about $50 for this. Drink 2014 - 2025. 92+/100.
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2008, SA
Fruit from Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale.
Considered to be the 'Poor man's' Grange, the only similarity is perhaps the
need for time before it is integrated and drinking decently. On the nose, it
is immediately more Shiraz with light-weighted smoky perfume of blueberry
fruit. There is a lingering of mulberry leaf and blackcurrant in the
background that hints at the presence of Cabernet. I'm surprised by the even
layer of dry tannins that are an afterthought when I tasted the wine, I
expected more grip on this one. The Shiraz fruit shines through once again
with the flavours concentrated on the front palate, followed by an awkward
stumbling of black olive Cabernet in the back end. This is (to me) quite
seriously disjointed right now. Needs 3+ years to settle in (if it can) then
possibly till 2018. 89/100.
Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2008, SA
A new horse in the stable. Marananga is a warm, dry site where Two Hands and
Torbreck cellar doors are located. There are some pretty old vines in this
area, and I would have expected a more respectable treatment of the fruit
besides a mix of French and American oak, both old and new. I am left with
the impression that here was some excess fruit, we've got some empty
barrels, let's make some wine! There is nice soft dark berry fruit on the
nose ?and a bit of sweaty stink? (I was very sure it wasn't my glass nor me!
This persisted during the 2nd and 3rd pours). A ripe, med+ bodied wine
typical of this area with blackberry, blueberry and a hint of warm earthy
minerality. This could open up more over the next 3-5 years, drink till
2020+. It's really a $35-40 wine (compared against similar wines from the
same area). 91/100.
Penfolds Coonawarra Claret 2009, SA
A blend of 77% Shiraz and 33% Cabernet Sauvignon. Matured in 38% aged
American hogsheads, 18% new American hogsheads, 31% new French oak and 13%
large old vats. Only available as a redemption from Penfolds (send them
$22.50 for postage & handling) and only in magnums. RRP is ?. Clean, light
weighted perfume but with fruit depth. There are initial grassy lifts, then
a mish-mash of plum, crushed dark berries brown earth and dusty granite. Dry
sappy tannins prop up plum and dark berry fruit flavours. A decently long
finish. Drink now - 2022+. If this was a regular 750ml bottle, I'd say a
fair price would be $35. 90+/100.
7th March 2011: Highly recommended Barolo from Bibendum portfolio
Albino Rossa Moscato D'Asti 2010, Piedmont
This is a straight forward and pleasant wine with sweet grass florals and
peach fruit. Simple sweet grape flavours with a short finish. 86/100.
Francois Labet Bourgogne Vielles Vignes 2008,
Simple wine of ripening (largely greenish) lemon nose/flavours (there is
sweet more developed fruit flavours), with a touch of minerality. 86/100.
Paul Pillot Clos Saint Jean 1er Cru Chassagne
Lovely smoked butter oaky nose, subtle lemon notes, cashew and baby
coriander. Rich, medium+ bodied wine with intense lime/lemon flavours. Very
Paul Pillot Les Grandes Ruchottes 1er Cru
Chassagne Montrachet 2008
The oak is noticeably toned down in this label. It is just a touch on top of
the cool, crisp lemon notes with sunny spring hill grass. Rich ripe lemon
flavours and a long finish. Drink now. 93/100.
Albino Rossa Barbaresco Loreto 2007, Piedmont
Medium ruby colour with rich aromas of dark berries, blackcurrants and just
a hint of meatiness. Even, velvety texture with smooth tannins. A nice fruit
load, not the biggest, certainly won't challenge the limits of your
tastebuds, but enjoyable. 91/100.
Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne 2006,
Plush dark berry nose with a hint of fresh baby herb leaves. Small even
tannins swath the mouth. Lovely medium bodied wine with soft red berry
fruit, a portion of unripe red currants, and white Rainier cherry. Tannins
are elegant, yet they aren't floppy and instead know their precise place,
holding this wine together so well. Drink now - 2020. 93+/100.
Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis 2006,
Softer perfume profile than the Le Vigne but with denser blackcurrant fruit.
Riper tannins with more lively fresh acidity. This is carrying a lot of
latent energy which I suspect will start to expand out as this ages. Rich
dark berry fruit and long finish. Drink now - 2025+. 94+/100. BUY!
Quinta Do Noval LBV Unfiltered 2004, Duoro
A lovely intense ruby sheen that lines the glass. It's aromas exist
in duality. Firstly there is a lighter component of caramelised fig drizzled
with wild honey. This is topped off by denser stewed plum and prune. Smooth
velvet texture, rich fruit that doesn't weight down the mouth but dissipates
quickly leaving a trail of fruity pleasure on the long finish. Drink now -
Quinta Do Noval Silval Vintage 1997, Duoro
Lovely purple ruby colour with a complex nose of toasted honey,
acacia flower, baked figs, reduced plum and hint of anise. A big, rich and
intense wine, 20% alc, this comes as a punch of flavours despite a smooth
texture. Waves of squashed ripe plum in the summer heat, sweet anise,
wormwood, touch of fresh herb and flamed whisky on the finish. Very well
balanced, the sweetness is not overwhelming and is lingers on the long
finish. Drink now - 2025. 93/100.
20th March 2011
Lustau Dry Amontillado Los Arcos, Jerez, Spain
$24 from Randall's. A tawny copper colour with a gold tinge and
slight watery rim. Nutty nose of roasted almond skins, saline
solution and hint of dried figs. Dry, full-bodied with darting
acidity to keep it fresh. Toasted hazelnuts with dark chocolate,
slightly tangy washed rind cheese on the finish. 18.5% alc. Great
with salted almonds, anchovy and green olives or a washed rind
Barbadillo Pedro Ximenez, Jerez, Spain
$26 from Dan Murphy's. Med+ reddish copper colour and a generous
nose with the alcohol rather obvious. florals of dates and figs.
Lovely dry wine with lush sweetness, flavours of reduced sugar cane,
baked molasses and dried raisins. Long finish. 19% alc. Have this
with blue cheese and walnuts. 93/100.
Gonzalez Byass Pedro Ximenez 'Necter', Jerez, Spain
$48 from King & Godfrey. Med+ to intense mahogany varnish colour, it
had an enticing nose of caramel, molasses, dried fruit, figs and
sweet confectionary spices. A thick and luscious wine of smooth
velvet texture with ripe fig and caramel flavours. 15.5% alc. A good
match for Ben & Jerry's strawberry cheesecake ice cream. 90/100.