Penfolds Reserve Bin 19A is a cool-climate Chardonnay made from fruit sourced in the Adelaide Hills. The first vintage was in 1994, with the Reserve Bin A part of that new wave of Penfolds Bins that arrived in the mid 90s, including the multi-region Chardonnay Yattarna and the single region Shiraz RWT.
The Reserve Bin A takes its number from the vintage, slightly out of step with the Penfolds naming system. And that’s a good thing, as the Reserve Bin 19A is its own wine. It has plenty of Penfolds seriousness wrapped up in a white wine package that’s single-region and cool-climate specific.
These days, it’s a complex wine with Michelin patisserie chef level lemon meringue characters, and plenty of verve in its early years. Very expressive, pure and driven, the Reserve Bin A Chardonnay tends to spend more time on the palate than it does in the glass.
Ned Goodwin MW and Langton’s Head of Domestic Buying Ramon Gunasekara discuss the newly released whites, including Yattarna Chardonnay, from the Penfolds Collection 2020.
Pale gold. Classic flinty, grapefruit, nectarine aromas with underlying vanilla roasted almond notes. Generous in flavour yet tight in structure with pure grapefruit white peach nectarine flavours, creamy textures, savoury complexity and fresh persistent mineral acidity. Finishes long, sweet and crisp with light marzipan notes. Beautiful wine.
97 points (2020)
"The gear has shifted into one of a nervous, mineral raciness. Aromas of lime curd and struck match. The oak, an adjunct, steering a juicy mid-drift into riffs on white peach and nectarine, offset by a gentle nougat to yoghurt creaminess. Lots of wine in little space. Meaning incredibly compact, kinetic and intense. There is much in store."
95 points (July 2020)
The transparency of chardonnay to articulately convey its terroir is remarkable indeed, and this wine tells the intricate story of the Adelaide Hill’s hot summer and mild autumn of 2019. There is a generosity and a determined reservation communicated in aromatic reluctance, ultimately emerging a day after opening, charged with all the tension of cool autumn nights. Maker Kym Schroeter considers 2019 to be up with 2017 as a cracking vintage for good sulphides in the Adelaide Hills. This struck flint reduction that we adore in Bin A wafts gracefully over a core of precise lemon, grapefruit and white peach, leaping forth triumphantly on the front and coasting into a long tail of beautifully poised acidity, backed with masterfully deployed, high-class cashew nut French oak. Another great hit in the grand legacy of Bin A.
97 points (July 2020)
Light, bright-yellow colour, with a first aroma of nutty, fresh oak, plus some smoky struck-flint notes, and the palate is very intense and refined, focused and dry, with a firm finish and good persistence. It's just a wee bit clinical and seems to need more time to come together fully. The fruit is in hiding somewhat at this stage. There is a well-judged whiff of sulfide adding to the appeal, and the palate has terrific intensity, focus and length.
95 points, The Real Review (July 2020)
Stunning purity here, offering very expressive white peaches with a gently spicy edge, as well as lemons, yellow grapefruit and well pitched French oak. The palate has a very attractively focused shape with intensity and compressed, elegant yet powerful style. Layered, long and deep. Great balance.
95 points, JamesSuckling.com (July 2020)
Hints of struck match mark the nose of the 2019 Reserve Bin 19A Chardonnay, which comes entirely from the Adelaide Hills. Barrel fermented and matured in 80% new French oak, it's a richer, slightly riper-tasting expression of Chardonnay from Penfolds, with pronounced white-peach aromas and flavors supported by classy notes of pencil shavings and mouthwatering lime-like acidity. Medium-bodied and silky textured, it should drink well for 5-6 years, perhaps more.
93 points, Wine Advocate (July 2020)
A relatively high amount of new French oak has been used here to enhance and balance what is a remarkably powerful and concentrated chardonnay. In fact, there is 80% new. It gets some serious winemaking and it needs it. The barrel fermentation adds a deep richness to the concentrated fruit while lees stirring brings another layer. Has a smoky struck match aroma with a creamy nutty roasted cashew palate richness. A super wine and one of the best.
97 points, The West Australian (July 2020)
Formerly an attention-seeking siren that won all the wine show trophies, this is a redefined style. The French oak is far less obvious, and its pungent stuck-match sulphide note is now less pronounced. The result is altogether more alluring, allowing the richness of the fruit to speak more clearly. Textures slide through many levels, the flavours rolling from a sharp lemon kiss at the front, through ripe, firm white peach, to a sensual lick of honey at the end. Discretion makes this year’s model an even sexier attraction.
94 points, David Sly, Decanter (July 2020)
A square-jawed Bin A with undoubted opulence on the nose and also on the initial hit of flavour on the palate, but the gate comes down early doors and it leaves you with the notion that you have just been locked out of a very promising party. Unlike Bin 311, I think that this wine will segue smoothly into a ravishing beauty, given a few years, after all, it has an epic track record on its side. The fruit has flashes of white peach and Comice pear but the overriding theme is ‘white’, with blanche neige purity and a more than a little gusto under the bonnet. This is one of the most impressive and consistently excellent Chardonnays in the country and 2019 continues this impeccable track record.
19+ points (July 2020)
Flint and funk for sure but wow, does this wine have length. I doubt that I’ve ever written these words before: this is a chardonnay with a peacock’s tail. It’s pure chardonnay in its flavour profile, stone fruit and grilled nuts as matchstick warfare flies over the top, but it’s the incredible length of the finish that takes this wine completely out of the ordinary.
96+ points, The Wine Front (July 2020)
Even richer, more leesy nose than Bin 311. Very flattering balance of citrus acidity and mealy ripe fruit. A little bit of heat on the end but clean and extremely well made. Accessible already.
17 points, JancisRobinson.com (June 2020)
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.