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.
Deep crimson. Intense blackberry, musky plum, inky aromas with roasted walnut notes. Generous velvety wine with deep set juicy blackberry, dark chocolate, musky plum fruits, fine plentiful chocolaty firm textures, savoury oak complexity and integrated fine acidity. Finishes chocolaty leafy firm with musky plum aniseed notes. Delicious early drinking style with superb richness of flavour and power. Best to drink soon.
95 points (2020)
"Nice to see Penfolds shifting away from the GSM branded moniker, indicating that certain varieties perform differently under vintage vagaries. All Barossa, as one would expect. A round, full-weighted mouthful of jubey dark fruit notes, kirsch, varnish, anise and herb-soused tannins, spicy, moreish and tidying up the melee into a nourishing whole. Restrained in the context. Cardamon, anise and clove. A delicious, sassy, easy-going red packed with Mediterranean flavour."
93 points (July 2020)
Draped in a vibrant, medium purple hue and bathed in layers of mixed spice and milk chocolate, this is a delicious blend with a wonderful core of spicy red and black berries of all kinds. Peter Gago describes 2018 as a very good vintage for Barossa grenache and mataro, with the impact of both belying their numeric contributions in this blend. Aged oak builds a finely structured tannin frame that brings grip and definition to the finish, which the drive to push through, and it will appreciate another year in bottle to integrate. A great example of Bin 138.
93 points (July 2020)
Very deep, dense purple/red colour with a rich, super-ripe, decadently-perfumed bouquet with concentration, richness and fleshy texture. A trace of blackberry jam. Full-bodied, with supple but abundant tannins, and a long carry. The concentration is a cut above. An excellent example of an SGM and very much in house style.
93 points, The Real Review (July 2020)
A blend of 68% shiraz, 22% grenache and 10% mataro, this is definitely lead by shiraz with a very rich, brambly array of ripe red plums, blackberries and raspberries and some blue-fruit tones. The oak is dialed right back in the mix and the raspberry and redder-fruit flavor sails forward in a very plush and velvety texture. Bright red fruit holds the entire palate, while darker tones work away in the engine room. A great Bin 138.
94 points, JamesSuckling.com (July 2020)
Aged in older oak, the 2018 Bin 138 Shiraz-Grenache-Mataro has benefited from a superb Barossa vintage, bursting with raspberries, strawberries and cherries. Ripe, round and seductive, yet with enough stuffing to age 5-7 years (and perhaps more), this full-bodied, supple blend of 68% Shiraz, 22% Grenache and 10% Mataro is one of the values in the Penfolds stable this year, finishing with hints of mint and dark chocolate.
92 points, Wine Advocate (July 2020)
One of my favourites from the entire stable. In good years it rises to great heights. This is one of those. Dark but brilliant colour. The nose of plummy and red fruits dominated by raspberry engages the senses. Then the palate kicks in. It's generous and exotic with spices and black pepper tossed liberally across the ripe fruit. Cracking good wine.
95 points, The West Australian (July 2020)
The Penfolds literature says that Bin 138 wine draws its inspiration from the wines of the Southern Rhône. I would love this wine to be a genuine Southern Rhône lookalike with a Grenache-dominant backbone from which it hangs its other red grapes, but with more than 2/3 Shiraz on board it lacks accuracy and while it is a perfectly serviceable red blend, it could have so much more going for it, given the dearth of awesome Grenache in South Australia. The other problem is that this wine is 60 Aussies and this is a lot of cash and there is the world of competition for this wine. Taken at face value, it is a plush, oaky, bold red and it ticks several boxes and many will like its immediacy, but I find it a little obvious and rather forgettable.
17 points (July 2020)
It tastes of black and red licorice, raspberry, toast, earth, the sweet side of tar, fragrant herbs. It’s exceptionally eager to please, all velvety and plush, but a raft of dry-but-well-integrated tannin is an effective harness. The flavour profile here has a clear sweetness to it, which will suit some drinkers more than others. Which of course is true of all wines. Once again we have to note the balance here; it’s jammed with sweet fruit flavour and yet it remains neater than a phone book, or a Filofax, or a root directory or whatever. This wine is a pleasure to drink.
93 points, The Wine Front (July 2020)
Bright dark crimson. Now we're on to what Penfolds do best! Spicy warmth on the nose with no single variety dominating. Good fruit integration for such a young wine. Salty, treacly edge to this with herbal notes on the fruit on the mid palate. Smooth texture and considerable density under the warm, welcoming surface. Lots of spice here and some of what Peter Gago calls Barossa's 'boot polish' flavours. Fun.
17 points, JancisRobinson.com (June 2020)
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.