Bin 23’s name is derived from the place the wine matures, ‘Cellar 23’ at Magill Estate, where the wine is made. The first vintage was 2009, after a number of trial wines had been made, many of which were released under the ‘Cellar Reserve’ label. Bin 23 is an evolving style–the 2009 came entirely from the Adelaide Hills and with the 2018 vintage Victoria (Henty) and Tasmania joined the party, showing once again that…
Early vintages of Bin 23 were comparatively rich and voluminous but within 10 years the style had evolved to become lighter-bodied and more fragrant. Use of new oak has also been reduced (to less than 20%) for, typically, eight months. After crushing, the must is cold-soaked and batch-vinified in small open fermenters. Some components finish fermentation in barrel to optimise the blending options for what is ultimately a barrel-selection wine.
Medium crimson. Fresh strawberry, red cherry, cola aromas with herb garden notes. Well concentrated minerally style with pure strawberry, red cherry chinotto, hint roasted walnut flavours, fine slinky textures, attractive mid-palate viscosity and integrated fresh acidity. Finishes chalky and minerally. A simple flavourful pinot noir with typical Penfolds volume and richness. Seal; cork Drink Now – 2026 13.5% alc
90 points (July 2021)
Tasmania, Henty, Adelaide Hills. Around 20% whole bunches. Matured 7 months in 24% new French oak barriques. Bin 23 has defined itself as a true pinot noir rather than just another Penfolds dry red, and if 2019 declared it, 2020 confirms it. Leading out with juicy, spicy, engaging berry fruit purity, it pulls into a finely textured tail of herbal intrigue and intricately assembled, fine-grained, mineral tannin structure. Poached strawberries, fresh morello cherries and just-plucked raspberries declare a magnificent and alluring profile, underlined by nuances of rosehip and a glimmer of exotic spice from judiciously played whole-bunch fermentation.
94 points, Wine Companion (July 2021)
Medium-depth red/purple colour, youthful and bright. The bouquet is very fragrant and varietal, raspberry and strawberry too, with fruit leading the way, not stalk or oak artifact. Softly-textured, medium to light-bodied palate, with good intensity of fruit flavours backed by ample soft, fine-textured tannins, a gentle sheen to give it texture and structure. Lovely drinking already. The 20% whole-bunch is discreet. (Tasmania, Henty, Adelaide Hills)
93 points, The Real Review (June 2021)
A more lively expression than we’ve seen in recent years. Sweeter in its fruit profile too, arguably. Raspberry and macerated cherry with woodsy herbs, reductive/smoky aspects and chicory. Not profound but most enjoyable. The fruit shines here.
91+ points, The Wine Front (July 2021)
Sourced from Tasmania, Henty and the Adelaide Hills, the 2020 Bin 23 Pinot Noir spent seven months in 24% new French oak. Raspberry and cherry notes appear first, joined by suggestions of sous bois, button mushrooms and clean compost. It's medium-bodied and silky textured, gentle and welcoming on the palate, with a fine, elegant finish. It should drink well for at least 5-6 years.
90 points, Wine Advocate (July 2021)
As an exercise in control, this multi-region Pinot Noir seems too measured and calculated to show truly distinctive personality. A great nose, with sharp notes of wild strawberry, sage and briny green olive, but a less interesting body. It’s very measured and polite, everything being kept in check by a clean acid line, but lacks the chiselled definition that makes outstanding Pinot so intriguing.
92 points, David Sly, Decanter (June 2021)
Full bottle 1,335 g. Talk about the antithesis to terroir-specific burgundy (see appellations). Aged for seven months in French oak barriques (24% new).
Pale cherry red. Full, sweet nose but very much man-made. Not really sure why Penfolds persist in making this wine that is so far from their expertise. There is sweetness, acidity and a modicum of tannin, but no soul. It's also pretty tart on the end. A 2020 effect?
15.5+ points, JancisRobinson.com (July 2021)
I like the direction this has taken with really impressive pinot-like style and plenty of rich cherry fruit on offer. The purity is attractive. Softly fleshy and inviting palate with some darker cherries at the finish. A blend of Tasmania, Henty and Adelaide Hills. Drink now.
93 points, JamesSuckling.com (July 2021)
Bright red. Aromas of cherry, black raspberry and pungent flowers, with a savory herb nuance in the background. Appealingly sweet and fleshy on the palate, offering juicy red fruit preserve, cherry-cola, rose pastille and allspice flavors that take on a smoky aspect with air. Concentrated but lively as well, showing repeating cherry and floral notes on the long, gently tannic finish.
92 points, Vinous (July 2021)
Started life as a mostly Adelaide Hills pinot noir but these days Bin 23 is multi-regional – very Penfolds – with grapes sourced from Tasmania, Henty and the Adelaide Hills. The latter’s role has been no doubt downgraded due to the devastating bushfires of that summer.
There is good reason why pinot noir now ranks in the company’s annual collection release. It’s a smart, suave wine with super attractive cool climate credentials matched with some unaccustomed ripeness and alcohol levels (13.5%). The result is pure, delightful drinkability. Black cherry up front, pot pourri, musk mix with wild strawberry scents. It is of the outdoors and kitchen gardens. Runs smooth across the tongue, fleshy in texture and melded by spice, ripe sweet cherry fruits and pomegranate. The overall impression is autumnal, of the earth, the leaves and the forest floor. And very nice it is.
94 points, Wine Pilot
A mate of mine often drops around for a drink. For years, when I would ask what would he like, he’d pick Pinot Noir. He considered himself a pinotphile. Problem was, every single time, no matter how good the Pinot (and I served him some crackers), he’d declare it not up to scratch and want another. I quickly learnt to serve him a Shiraz. The response would always be that this was more like it. This was the sort of Pinot he liked. I have a strong suspicion that this year’s Bin 23 would be a Pinot he’d love.
Penfold’s use a mix of Pinot clones and source the fruit from Tasmania, Henty and the Adelaide Hills. Seven months in French oak barriques, 24% new. 20% whole bunch. Pale red with notes of purple. Some spicy oak here – a fraction too much at the moment but give it time. Florals, spices, chocolate, black cherries, dry herbs. This is a big and full-flavoured style of Pinot. Nothing wrong with that. One gets the feeling that this wine might be fighting the vintage conditions and has ceded elegance for power and force, which is perhaps not the ideal scenario for Pinot. A very fleshy style. A burly style of the heartbreak grape. Grippy tannins, real concentration, firm with decent length. If you like this style then your score would be very high indeed; if you prefer more grace and elegance, then perhaps not so much. So for me, I went midway which probably leaves no one happy.
92 points, Wine Pilot
ADELAIDE HILLSLocated to the east of Adelaide,the Adelaide Hills is part of the Mount Lofty Ranges. Considered a cool-climate region, most vineyards are situated at elevations between 450 to 550 metres. Rainfall is relatively high and spring frosts often pose problems. Hot northerly winds also make bush fires a real threat in the region. Adelaide Hills is a jigsaw of meso-climates, with the best vineyards centred around Piccadilly Valley and Lenswood in protected sites facing north or north-east. Soils are derived from schistic and sedimentary rock; typically well-drained sandy loams over red clay interspersed with schistic gravels. A premium wine-growing region, Adelaide Hills is best known for crisp, lively Sauvignon Blanc and elegant cool climates styles of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
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.