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.
Deep crimson. Fresh blackcurrant roasted chestnut vanilla marzipan aromas with hints of sage/ aniseed. Lovely pure blackcurrant, blackberry, dark cherry fruits, fine grainy tannins. Lovely mid-palate density and plentiful mocha roasted chestnut oak. Finishes gravelly firm, sweet and long with a tannin plume. Beautiful wine with lovely concentration, volume, oak balance and mineral length. Keep for a while.
96 points (2020)
"Black currant, soy, bouillon, pastille, char and gum tree kick off proceedings. The tannins, bullet proof and firm, with a herbal sousing. Oak plays a major role: caressing, firming up and chaperoning the fruit into a procession through time. A long one, I imagine . Among the uber Australian expressions."
95 points (July 2020)
I love the tone and mood of Bin 169, eloquently framing Coonawarra in magnificent French oak. The aromatically introverted nature of the warm and dry ripening season of 2018 makes for a Bin 169 of tightly coiled nose, opening into a palate of impressive definition of signature red- and blackcurrants, cassis and cedar. The linear, determined, medium-bodied tone of Coonawarra cabernet is well espoused here, confidently structured in a frame of enduring oak and fruit tannins, at once fine and yet eminently confident and ageworthy. One for the long-haul.
96 points (July 2020)
Very deep, dark, youthful purple/red colour, impressive in the glass. The bouquet is reserved and understated, with more earthy, savoury aromas coming first followed by cassisy cabernet-like nuances, the palate more elegant than expected with lovely purity of concentrated blackberry, blackcurrant cabernet fruit skilfully welded to neatly integrated oak characters. A cracking wine, concentrated but in no way heavy or overwrought. Indeed, it has real elegance. A delicious wine, and there's much more to come for those who are patient.
98 points, The Real Review (July 2020)
A very elegantly complex nose with meticulously fresh aromas that range from red florals to violets, blueberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and such sweetly perfumed cedary-oak spice. The palate has a very elegant, focused and piercingly central delivery of fine tannins,carrying pristine redcurrant and blackcurrant flavors. Seamlessly long, super fine and really packed with concentrated, contained, red-cherry and redcurrant flavors. Impressive.
97 points, JamesSuckling.com (July 2020)
In effect, this is to Bin 707 as RWT is to Grange, a single-region expression of a classic regional variety, aged in 100% French oak. Would that it were priced similarly to RWT, but production is more limited, and the Chinese have seemingly fallen in love in Cabernet. The 2018 Bin 169 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon (there was no 2017 bottled) boasts sumptuous aromas of ripe cassis, accented by hints of vanilla, cedar shavings, tobacco and baking spices. It's full-bodied, plush and velvety, but with a firm spine at its core that drives home the lengthy finish and strong varietal identity. Ideally, it needs a few years in the cellar to show its best, with potential longevity of two decades or more.
96 points, Wine Advocate (July 2020)
A striking Coonawarra cabernet with all French oak, of which half was new. So, it gets some treatment, whichcan only occur when the fruit power and intensity is sufficient to handle it. Has a bright and lively high energy aroma with a compelling and engaging mix of red fruits with the faintest background of orange zest, which is sometimes a feature of cabernet. The palate is beautifully structure with grainy tannins holding the line effortlessly to a long finish. The sweet fruit is so well balanced with the oak and tannin.
97 points, The West Australian (July 2020)
Everything alluring about Cabernet is on show here: regal lift and power on the nose, then a more subtle reveal on the palate through gossamer layers of cranberry, cassis, raspberry and fresh-cut herbs. Nothing showy but every component is in its right place. This proud declaration speaks deliberately of region and varietal character, and its bedrock of firm black tannins suggests that it has much more to reveal as it matures.
96 points, David Sly, Decanter (July 2020)
I realise that this wine is three hundred Aussie dollars less expensive than the Bin 707 and also that it comes from a single region (which only accounts for one quarter of Bin 707’s make-up) but I love it every bit as much as its more famous stablemate and I think that it is one of the standout wines in this line-up. Coonawarra has played a blinder in this hot vintage, given it is tempered somewhat by the ocean, and this has meant that it is a source of sensational wines. What I do not often find in young, but potentially great, Coonawarra Cabernet is sexiness, which this wine has in spades. It has lush tannins, heroic density, classically built shoulders from which all of its exuberance hangs and I adore this shape of wine. There is so much precision and accuracy here, from a varietal, regional and Bin number point of view that I could quite happily have missed out on Bin 707 this year because my Cabernet taste buds were fully satiated. I cannot recommend this wine enough and I have rewarded it with a score that is directly comparable to its lofty sibling.
19.5+ points (July 2020)
Of all the Penfolds releases this year Bin 169 takes out both the Best Balanced and Most Elegant awards. I wrestled with a few of this year’s releases but this one sings straight out of the bottle. It sits on the bolder side of medium-weight and as soon as you taste it you wish that pretty much everything did. Smoky oak contributes here without getting in the way, tannin draws right back through the wine, it’s accurate to describe this as both complex and seamless, and it finishes in completely unhurried fashion. The flavours hang around until they’re done with you. One word: unforced.
96 points, The Wine Front (July 2020)
Veering Napawards in style on the nose ... though it's drier on the finish than any luxury California Cabernet is likely to be. Hint of blackberry fruit and still quite youthful plus a tiny bit of mintiness. For once I'm aware of the alcohol – unusual for wines in this Penfolds Collection 2020. Tannins quite insistent on the end. Just a tiny bit skinny. Nose and palate not quite integrated at present.
16.5++ points, JancisRobinson.com (June 2020)
"A purist’s cabernet, turning its face on the mastery of the regional blending, the birthmark of the Penfolds red wine style. Vive la difference. Tannin is the heartbeat here, cassis and olive tapenade wrapped around the tannin, not vice versa. 14.5% alc, cork. drink to 2043,"
97 Points, The Weekend Australian Magazine
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.