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.
Grapes sourced from Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Robe and Wrattonbully. 57% cabernet sauvignon, 43% shiraz. All American oak, 38% new. It’s a showy Bin 389 or perhaps by that I mean that the oak shows quite a bit. It’s also warm through the finish. It’s substantially flavoured, a bit ferrous, a bit meaty, with coffee, toast and dark chocolate notes adding beef to blackberry, blackcurrant and gum leaf. It has the substance and the structure to age well, if not superbly. I tossed up between 93 and 94 here and, after revisiting many times, finally settled on the former, though it was a close-run thing. It’s not quite as compelling as I expect Bin 389 to be, but its quality is still high. Tasted: July 2020; Alcohol: 14.5%; Price: $100; Closure: Screwcap; Drink: 2023-2033; Rated: 93+ Points; Campbell Mattinson; The Wine Front
This is a vintage even more introverted, reticent and coiled on release than usual for Bin 389, quite a contrast to the aromatic lift and varietal freshness of Bin 407 this year. In classic 389 form, cabernet and shiraz slot neatly into one another, driven by the deep black fruit density of a warm and dry vintage. As impressively structured as ever, dark chocolate American oak forms an intricate and rigid chassis of firm, fine, enduring tannins. Without the fruit lift, line and persistence of the greatest years, it will nonetheless build in the cellar, holding impressive promise and, as always, only screams out for time – and plenty of it. Alcohol: 14.5%; Drink: 2033-2043; Rating: 94 Points; Tyson Stelzer
Deep crimson. Intense pure blackcurrant, blackberry aromas with dark chocolate notes. Generously proportioned wine with dense inky cassis, blackberry mulberry fruits, plentiful chocolaty tannins, mocha espresso oak complexity, attractive mid-palate viscosity and superb mineral length. Finishes grainy firm. A classic powerful Bin 389 year with superb fruit complexity, density and attack. Should last the distance. Seal; screwcap 2025-2045 14.5% alc 98 points. An Australian wine tradition that rarely disappoints. The 2018 highlights exceptional sourcing and the beautiful partnership between cabernet sauvignon and shiraz where the wine represents far more than the sum of its parts. A landmark wine of the 2020 collection offering collectors and drinkers the quintessential Penfolds experience. McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Coonawarra, Robe, Wrattonbully. Around 18 months in 38% new and 62% seasoned American oak hogsheads. Rating: 98 Points; Andrew Caillard MW
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