Penfolds Bin 169 is a single region wine made to showcase pure Coonawarra characters of cassis and eucalypt. The wine typically shows ripe black fruit characters with vanilla oak, ripe fine-grained tannins framed in a classical structure. Bin 169 is matured in 100% new French oak for approximately 14 months.
‘A single vineyard wine, matured for 14 months in new French oak in which it finished the final stages of its fermentation. The bouquet is laden with cassis of startling purity, and while cedary oak is a major player, it is so well-integrated it doesn't overwhelm, let alone challenge, the fruit.’ Drink to 2040. 98 POINTS, JAMES HALLIDAY (winecompanion.com.au)
‘Tasting Chateau Latour 2000 in Bordeaux at the end of 2001 was one of the defining moments of my Cabernet experience, and my first taste of 2010 Bin 169 last year brought flashbacks to that moment like no other tasting since. The colour is phenomenal, pitch black, with a vibrant purple rim. The bouquet is the epitome of Cabernet definition, with cassis, blackcurrant, mint and lifted violets of profound purity, yet concentration I have only seen in the great vintages of Bordeaux. The palate is wound up tight, yet still displays crunchy fruit character, Cabernet florals, personality and power at unfathomable levels, within a style that retains airspace and elegant refinement. The ability of this wine to encapsulate sheer concentration yet utterly poised and pristine structure is a paradox of the highest order. Its purity is unreserved and its fine, firm yet already beautifully integrated tannin profile declare this among the greatest Cabernets to emerge from Penfolds yet. Like the truly great wines of the world, it shows balance and approachability now and yet will live effortlessly for half a century. Perhaps most remarkable of all is that the master blenders of Penfolds have achieved this feat from a single Coonawarra vineyard, simply named Block 10. ’ Drink 2030-2060. 98 POINTS, TYSON STELZER (tysonstelzer.com)
‘Bin 169 provides a contrast to the similarly-priced, powerful Bin 707-style. It presents perfectly ripe Coonawarra Cabernet matured in new French oak, rather than the more aggressive American oak used in Bin 707. It’s a wine of great beauty and harmony – revealing the unique power and elegance of top-notch Cabernet. In this expression, the fruit is particularly intense and aromatic, with floral notes, and layered with ripe, supporting tannins derived from the fruit and the oak. It should evolve well for decades.’ 98 POINTS, CHRIS SHANAHAN (Canberra Times)
‘A particularly generous, fleshy, opulent rendition of Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s all blackcurrant and violets, smoky cedary oak and dried, fragrant herbs. Powerful but charming. Has a fleshy, juicy drinkability even as a youngster. Dust, cloves and dark olives as you swallow. Again, as is the case with many of the 2010 Penfolds reds, it’s a pretty wine. Floral notes, red licorice, crushed dry eucalyptus leaves. It’s obviously good and drinkable now and yet deceptively cellarable. More opulent through the mid-palate than you might expect of a young, 100% cabernet.’ Drink 2017-2037. 94+ POINTS, CAMPBELL MATTINSON (winefront.com.au)
CoonawarraThe first vines were planted in Coonawarra by John Riddoch in 1890, however it was not until the renewed interest in table wine production in the 1950's that Coonawarra was brought into the limelight. Located almost 380 km southeast of Adelaide, Coonawarra is today one of the most famous red wine regions in Australia. Its weathered limestone terra rossa soils, avaibility of water and relatively cool maritime climate make it a unique viticultural region. Extremely flat and unprotected, Coonawarra is exposed both to the swinging influences of the cool Great Southern Ocean and hot, dry northerly winds. Spring frosts also pose a major threat with the potential to wipe out entire crops. Mechanical harvesting is widely employed in the region although smaller producers prefer to tend their vines by hand. Coonawarra is best known for classically-styled Cabernet Sauvignon, although in good years, Shiraz from the region is also very compelling.
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.