Simple palates, Seriously

March 2011 Archive - Penfolds new releases & Bibendum portfolio tasting


3rd March 2011: The 2011 Penfolds Bin releases

Penfolds Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2010, NSW
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 2009, SA
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 - 2018. 92/100.

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, Burgundy
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 Montrachet 2008
Lovely smoked butter oaky nose, subtle lemon notes, cashew and baby coriander. Rich, medium+ bodied wine with intense lime/lemon flavours. Very nice. 92/100.

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, Piedmont
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, Piedmont
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 - 2030. 92/100.

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

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 cheese. 91/100.

Barbadillo Pedro Ximenez

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
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.

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