Australian wine: Penfolds 2016 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz – limited supply

Only 3 Available in Cuenca
$195 dach
Available via order through Cuenca Shop

Grape variety
51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Shiraz

Alc/Vol: 14.5%

Nose: An immediate ascent of scent
– no need to wait or to vigorously swirl this wine to tease out ‘what lies beneath’! Dark berry fruits consistent to both varietal persuasions, (cabernet and shiraz), overtly courted by elements of ponzu, soy, sesame and dried shiitake mushroom.
Senses are easily conveyed to a forest after rain – wet bracken, liberated mulch, damp soils. Naturally (new and used) oak plays a (minor) role in this fanciful aromatic romp.


Palate: Flavors and textures akin to marbled Kobe beef and an earthy accompaniment of black licorice root and anise.
Structurally bold with little protruding – integrated, fine … and has comfortably already “settled into place”.
‘Appetizing’ acidity – a non-intrusive and refreshing granita-like bite/attaque.
Assam tea maltiness and tannins merge with impressions of wet slate, pencil lead/graphite … no doubt somehow linked to earlier partial barrel fermentation and oak maturation.
Needs time, as per most Bin 389’s at release. Perhaps a little longer for this vintage? Our recommendation – your choice.

Bin 389 was often referred to as ‘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 forge Penfolds reputation with red wine drinkers by combining the structure of cabernet sauvignon with the richness of shiraz. Exemplifying the judicious balance of fruit and oak, Bin 389 highlights the generous mid-palate Penfolds in known for.

Vintage conditions
2016 vintage
Autumn and winter were dry and cool across South Australia’s growing regions. Record low rainfall prevailed through September to March. These conditions delayed the start of the growing season in the Barossa Valley and other warmer regions. However, in cooler Coonawarra, budburst, flowering, veraison and harvest were all earlier than is usually expected. Warm conditions prevailed across all regions in the early part of the summer allowing vines to develop healthy canopies and good bunch set. Late rain in January and early February was a welcome relief across South Australia. Temperatures in spring and early summer were above the long-term average, resulting in an early harvest for shiraz. Cooler conditions followed from mid-February which suited the later ripening cabernet sauvignon. Grapes across all the main growing regions were able to ripen evenly and develop desirable flavors.

Tyrone Grigor: tyronegrigor@hotmail.com 099 131 4090.

City: Cuenca

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