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.
From Adelaide Hills, Tasmania and Tumbarumba, matured for eight months in French oak (25% new). Super-elegant; carries itself with sotto voce confidence, fruit, oak and acid in nigh-on perfect balance; a crisp, lively finish.
95 points, Wine Companion, October 2018
Clean, pure, highly varietal nose. White peach and nectarine, a flintiness rising. The palate introduces toast, malt, wheaty elements and a little funk, though it’s well contained. There are many elements here and yet they present in unison. Dry, serious finish. Bristling length. Excellent wine. Will mature beautifully.
95 points, Wine Front, October 2018
Rather more related to its tri-regional make-up than its purist Tumbarumba past, this is a more expressive and more sensual wine than in years gone by, but it still retains tension and it is a very different wine to the other Chardonnays in the portfolio. The oak seems nuttier and patisserie-marked and this allows the fruit to grow a little more in the glass.
18 points, MatthewJukes.com, October 2018
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.