Bin 311 is considered one of the very finest, best-value cool-climate Chardonnays in Australia. In the context of Penfolds’ Chardonnay, Bin 311 is to Yattarna as Bin 389 is to Grange. The wine is made from declassified parcels of A1-graded Chardonnay grapes that would otherwise go into Yattarna and matured in the same French oak barrels that previously held Yattarna.
Pale colour. Fresh grapefruit, pear, apricot stone fruit aromas with flinty, matchstick notes. Classic in proportion with fresh grapefruit, lemon curd flavours with hints of marzipan, al-dente textures, fine long crisp acidity, attractive creamy richness and density, with underlying yeasty complexity. Finishes minerally with marzipan grilled nut notes. Absurdly complex and sophisticated showing all the shining class of Australian winemaking technology and precision viticulture. Fantastic value.
97 points, Andrew Caillard MW
This moves into refined and very striking style with a wealth of lemons, white peaches and nectarines on offer, as well as nicely curated hazelnut-oak. The smoothly honed palate has deep-set peach flavors and a succulent, cool-mineral and grapefruit finish. The finest Bin 311 to date.
95 points, jamessuckling.com (August 2019)
Toast, ginger, grapefruit. A bold, assertive introduction. I’m not seeing a lot of finesse but I’m seeing work, fruit, vanilla pods, a certain tautness, fruit wading through trees. There are matchstick characters here, not flared, held beneath the toast. Not my favourite 311 but no doubt still a very good one.
93 points, The Wine Front (August 2019)
The 2018 Bin 311 Chardonnay is a multiregional blend sourced from Adelaide Hills (43%), Tumbarumba and Tasmania—it was previously a single-region bottling. Essentially, it's now a blend of barrels that didn't make it into the Reserve Bin label from the Adelaide Hills and barrels from Tumbarumba and Tassie that didn't make the Yattarna grade. Fermented and aged in 30% new French oak (20% second use and 50% older), it reveals hints of vanilla buttercream on the nose, paired with notes of pineapple, orange, pear and melon. It's medium-bodied, plump and creamy across the palate, then crisp and focused on the finish.
92 points, Wine Advocate (August 2019)
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.