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. This release in 2020 commemorates the 60th anniversary since Bin 389 was first made.
Bin 389 is one of Australia’s great cellaring red wines. First produced in 1960, its history is connected with the development of Grange and Max Schubert’s ambition of creating a ‘dynasty of wines which all bear an unmistakable resemblance to each other’. Named after its original binning compartment at Magill cellars, Bin 389 is the most popular wine in the Australian secondary wine market because of its heritage, consistency and reputation.
Bright, crimson red
Lifted, fragrant. Immediately Penfolds. Aficionados may quickly identify and proclaim 389. Opulently: Trifle: layers of custard and port-wine dark jelly with flaked coconut and juniper/cassis. Cake: old-fashioned hummingbird cake, with coconut flakes and nutty flavours. Overheard: “Petrichor aromas gradating to silkworm-eaten mulberry leaf”. Honestly!?! Familial youthful Bin 389 oak – subtle matchstick and a hint of vanilla powder. As they say – what is there not to like?!
Balance of the sweet (cabernet) and the savoury (shiraz). Possesses what has now often been referred to as a black forest cake 2018 vintage flavour profile. Darker fruits – closer to that of a black cherry liqueur than a crème de cassis component of Kir. Flavours of roasted beetroot – a venison sauce beetroot reduction … similar texturally to a congealed sweet fat (a custardy emulsion/film – not a grainy paste). Oak and tannins absorbed. Both are certainly present, yet not at all demanding their own space on this Bin 389 stage. Substantial, intense.
Relatively dry conditions coupled with near long-term winter/spring temperatures indicated an early start to the growing season. However, a spell of cold weather in November slowed grapevine development. Warm and sunny weather prevailed throughout spring providing optimal conditions for flowering and fruit-set. Barossa Valley experienced 22 days of temperature greater than 35°C in summer, while McLaren Vale experienced 17 days greater than 35°C. Coonawarra, Robe and Wrattonbully also had a warm, dry growing season by regional standards. Late flowering and the delayed onset of veraison throughout the south-east slowed harvest by a few weeks. The warm, dry weather carried into autumn, setting up an Indian summer with favourable conditions for ripening grapes. A fine vintage for all Penfolds South Australian growing regions.
Peter joined the winemaking team in 1989, initially in the craftsmanship of sparkling wines, before moving on to reds as Penfolds Red Wine Maker. In 2002 Peter became the fourth ever Chief Winemaker for Penfolds. Together with his fellow winemakers, Peter’s careful custodianship has ensured that Grange and the other ‘older’ members of the Penfolds family, have continued to set the benchmark for their style and quality, while new additions to the range push the boundaries ever wider.
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