Bin 138 draws its inspiration from the wines of the southern Rhône Valley of France, where Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro (or Mourvèdre) are blended in varying proportions to create full-bodied wines possessing rich and heady perfume. Each year fruit for Bin 138 is sourced from old Barossa Valley vineyards (some more than 100 years old) and after fermentation the wine is matured for 12 to 15 months in seasoned oak hogsheads.. Bin 138 is defined by its distinctive plum, raspberry pastille and underlying spicy notes. The first vintage release of this blend was the 1992 and early vintages were labelled ‘Old Vine’. The wine was elevated to Bin status with the 1998 vintage.
It smells of Penfolds. It smells vanillin, red berried, bright, fresh, warm but in a contained way. It’s as neat as a spreadsheet. Soy, earth, anise – all get a run on the palate. And it has to be said, the linger of flavour through the aftertaste is impressive. Indeed, irrefutable. It’s warm, sure, but it’s quite a delicious drink.
93 points, Campbell Mattinson (October 2018)
Deep, dark red colour with a good tint of purple. The bouquet is spicy and plummy, with preserved blood plum and blackberry nuances. The palate is medium to full-bodied and fleshy, with savoury and fruit characteristics well-harmonised, the tannins slightly bitter with smoky, licorice, aniseed and graphite touches. The tannins are drying and cleansing and the wine drinks well already, although it will surely age well in the medium to long-term. (72% shiraz, 16% grenache, 12% mataro).
92 points, Huon Hooke (October 2018)
Medium deep colour. Lovely juicy blackberry, dark plum aromas with ginger, savoury oak notes. Generous and polished in structure with dark plum, blackberry, ginger flavours, fine looseknit slinky textures and underlying roasted walnut, mocha notes. Finishes chocolaty and long with bitter sweet notes. A really attractive wine with lovely density and vinosity. Really great to drink soon, to take advantage of the ripe youthful and buoyant fruit, but should keep for quite a while developing an earthy complexity. 93 points 14.5% alcohol – Drink Now – 2025.
93 points, Andrew Caillard MW (October 2018)
Dark berry, black cherry, plum and stewed rhubarb fruits declare the depth of a relatively dry season in the Barossa, framed in firm, fine-grained, dry tannins. Shiraz assumes a confident lead, making for an unashamedly full-bodied SGM of spicy fruit focus and lingering persistence. Drink 2019-2023.
92 points, Tyson Stelzer (October 2018)
The 2016 Bin 138 Shiraz-Grenache-Mataro is heavily tilted toward Shiraz (72%), with 16% Grenache and 12% Mataro, aged in older French and American hogsheads. Black olive, raspberry and herbal notes all come together smoothly on the medium to full-bodied palate, framed by supple tannins and bright acidity on the lingering finish.
91 points, Joe Czerwinski (October 2018)
Gentle and violet-scented, this is a smooth, creamy, rhubarb stalk and raspberry-tinged wine with some give already on the palate. Not a long-lived wine but a bottle which is already up and running, it is a kindly, open red with charm and balance.
17 points, Matthew Jukes (October 2018)
A 72/16/12% blend matured for 12 months in used French and American oak. For long the leader of the pack, but lost its way for a while before returning with a vengeance here, dismissing any challenges of the vintage. It is medium to full-bodied, and has a long life ahead as it sheds some of its weight, allowing the interplay between the blackberry, plum, cherry, licorice and forest freedom to express itself. Excluding new oak was the right play.
94 points, Wine Companion, October 2018
Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.
Penfolds is probably the most extraordinary of the world’s wine brands with an enviable reputation for quality at every price level. The original Penfold was an English doctor who, in 1844, planted grapes at Magill, now a suburb of Adelaide. However, it was not until the late 1940s that Penfolds began to forge a reputation for red wine.
The Penfolds house style emerged from a fortified wine producing culture and evolved as a winemaking philosophy which has had a profound effect on the entire Australian wine industry. Many of the techniques initially adopted to make Penfolds Grange would become part of the wider Penfolds winemaking culture. The number of techniques employed in the research and development of Penfolds wines is astonishing. Max Schubert and his team pioneered: major advances in yeast technology and paper chromatography; the understanding and use of pH in controlling bacterial spoilage; the use of headed down/submerged cap fermentation and the technique of rack and return; cold fermentation practices; the use of American oak as a maturation vessel and perhaps most critically, partial barrel fermentation. Nowadays, the use of American oak and barrel fermentation for instance is considered traditional Barossa winemaking practice!
Today, Penfolds house style embraces the concept of multi-regional blending, optimum fruit quality, the use of fine-grained American or French oak, barrel fermentation and maturation. Overall, the Penfolds style is about highly-defined fruit aromas, fruit sweetness, ripe tannins, richness, power and concentration. The number of iconic wines that have emerged from the Penfolds stable over the years is remarkable. Bin 389 a Cabernet Shiraz blend released in 1960 is now considered the quintessential Australian wine blend. Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz and Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz released in 1962 pre-empted the contemporary enthusiasm for regional definition by about 25 years. Improved vineyard management, site selection and winemaking brought about subsequent releases of Bin 707 and Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Penfolds Wine Making Philosophy is the accumulation of more than half-a-century of knowledge and winemaking practice initiated by Max Schubert and subsequently refined by Don Ditter, John Duval and Peter Gago. Their collective commitment to multi-regional and vineyard blending contributed to a consistency of style and quality that has cemented Penfolds reputation as the foremost producer of premium age-worthy red wines in Australia.