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.
Ah now you’ve done it. Stop it, just stop it. You look at the Bin 407 release from this vintage and think: that’s how it’s done. And then you add shiraz, and call it Bin 389, and the palate is boosted, the length is still there, the tobacco notes still light up, and with vanilla and cherry-plum notes tickling the cassis into a riot it suddenly feels irrepressible, like the premiership’s a cakewalk. It’s not a John Holmes wine; it’s not overdone. It’ a wine to slip through your defences, is what it is. It’s a cracker. This is why you blend cabernet with shiraz. Tasted: Oct 18; Alcohol: 14.5%; Price: $100; Closure: Screwcap; Drink: 2022-2035+; Rated: 96 Points; Campbell Mattinson; The Wine Front
Deep, dense red/purple colour, with a bouquet of rich spice and chocolate and dark fruit aromas all well-balanced in the mix. The berries of cabernet and the earthy/spice of shiraz are both identifiable. It's a very full-bodied, rich, dense, concentrated wine, with lashings of tannins which are firm and gripping on the finish. A very long carry. A very big wine, massively structured and impressive, with great power and ageing potential. A wine that manages to tread the fine line between big structure and softness and accessibility. Still, I would cellar it a few years before broaching. (51% cabernet sauvignon, 49% shiraz) Drink 2021 to 2046; Rating: 96 Points; Huon Hooke
A 51/49% blend from the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Wrattonbully, matured for 12 months in American hogsheads (37% new). Good colour, although not as striking as some of the other wines in the range; Likewise retains some elegance despite the clarion call of the cascade of fruit flavours. The fruit, oak, tannin and acid balance is impeccable, as is the length and drive of the palate. The savoury subtext is equally good. Drink to: 2046; Price: $100.00; Date Tasted: Aug 2018; Alcohol: 14.5%; Rating: 96 Points; James Halliday Wine Companion
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