Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Poor Man’s Grange’ or ‘Baby Grange’, in part because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. First made in 1960, by the legendary Max Schubert, this was the wine that helped to forge Penfolds solid reputation with red wine drinkers. Combining the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon with the richness of Shiraz, Bin 389 also exemplifies the judicious balance of fruit and oak.
Deep colour. Intense blackberry, mulberry praline aromas with liquorice notes. Dense and voluminous with dark plum, blackberry, mulberry flavours, plentiful fine grained textures, and praline, roasted chestnut, mocha/ espresso notes. Finishes chocolaty firm with bitter-sweet chinotto notes. A very seductive wine, well and truly in the 389 groove, with lovely richness, presence, oak balance and density to develop further. 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Shiraz. Drink: Now-2030; Rating: 95 Points; Andrew Caillard MW
The great Bin 389. The wine that brings label collectors and wine enthusiasts together; it performs at auction and performs in the glass. This release is sourced from the Barossa Valley, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra. Cabernet is (just) the main driver in the blend, taking a 53% share. This 2014 release spent 12 months in American oak, 53% new. In a word: yes. It’s a complete wine. It’s drenched in fruit and groans with tannin. It lays dark-but-powdery chocolate notes over blackcurrant, soy, mint and plum. There’s a leafiness, almost a spiciness, but it’s gentle, it’s seamless. It’s powerful but neat; it’s silk wrapped around an anvil. No fuss. No hesitation. This release sees Penfolds Bin 389 in top form. Tasted: Oct 2016; Alcohol: 14.5%; Price: $90; Closure: Screwcap; Drink: 2022-2042; Rating: 96 Points; Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front
First made in '60, and for long called 'poor man's Grange', a strange name for a $90 wine. It's always been a varietal and regional blend, once matured in hand-me-down Grange barrels, but no longer. There is much conjecture about the amount of Dom Perignon made each year, and the same is true of this wine. A bottle number could cause embarrassment. It's seriously good, its palate of black fruits, licorice, oak and earth held tight by tannins as only Penfolds can make. Rating: 96 Points; James Halliday
If I could choose just one bottle that for decades has defined what makes Australian wine uniquely special, this would be it. A tightly coiled and brilliantly focused Bin 389 of impressive black fruit depth, yet in an engagingly understated and reticent way in its youth. It lacks nothing in colour, structure, potential and sheer, jubilant persistence, carrying very long and true, backed at every moment by classy dark chocolate American oak. Another standout Bin 389 of grand potential. This is one wine in the Penfolds line that justifies its price rise this year. Rating: 96 Points; Tyson Stelzer
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