Penfolds Bin 138: Tasting Note and Five Fast Facts

Australia’s grand old winemakers
Tasting: Penfold’s Bin 138 Shiraz Grenache Mataro 2012

Penfold’s wines need no introduction. They’re known nationally and internationally not just on reputation alone, but also on the quality and the scale of their operation, churning out many gorgeous wines. The 2012 vintage, like Penfold’s, needs no introduction either. But what’s most interesting is the predicted longevity of some of the wines already reviewed from that vintage. From a collector’s point of view, you’re going to go a long way in the cellar if you’re collecting some of the wines from ’12.

From a drinker’s point of view, some of the 2012s are immediately accessible, and you won’t feel guilty for cracking into them now. This is one such wine. There are many SGM’s, or GSM’s, or GMS’s (depending on blend amounts) coming out of South Australia that are of a very high quality. Combining the size of the Penfold’s blending system with an invincible vintage was always bound to produce a wine of very high quality.

The Penfolds range resting in the cellar

2012 in South Australia: Although low yields are rather commonplace among 2012 wines, the quality is superb. Good rains tempered by dry patches, and some residual ground water from the 2011 vintage helped some areas. It seems viticulturalists and winemakers willing to let fruit hang on vines were rewarded with exceptional flavour, purity and quality.

Five Fast Facts about the Penfolds Bin Range
1. ‘Bin’ refers to the space allocated in the cellar for the particular wine – hence the ‘Bin 138’, ‘Bin 128’ etc.
2. The Bin Range is now incorporated among the ‘Penfolds Collection’, including their elite wines Grange, St Henri Shiraz, and Yattarna Chardonnay.
3. The ‘Special Bin’ series includes limited release wines made by Penfolds only in special and great years, or with exceptional parcels, such as the Bin 60A series.
4. A big feature of the Bin series, and indeed Penfolds wines in general, is the multi-region blending capability, drawing on many vineyards in many different climate zones to create large ranges of quality wines.
5. The Bin range has been upgraded to include more offerings, and while price has increased, there is more on offer, such as Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago

Tasting Notes: Penfolds Bin 138 Shiraz Grenache Mataro 2012
It’s a beautiful deep red colour with a high gloss purple rim. Aromatics of dry dirt/earth, blue and red fruit, some stem action maybe. Pepper and spice from the lovely blend, which is 66% Shiraz, 23% Grenache and 11% Mataro. All or mostly from the Barossa Valley, this wine is matured in older American oak, hence the very subtle oak component gently cradling it. The wine is very viscous in the glass but washes through the mouth like a gentle, cuddly tidal wave. Luscious ripe fruit, sweet and lush acid, touches of vanilla and ever so soft spice. Nicely lush and a bit chocolatey on the finish. It really does take you to the Rhône Valley – drink it on a warm day, and picture yourself there. Finishes quite long and very harmoniously.

Colour: 9.5/10
Nose: 18.5/20
Taste: 28.5/30
Finish: 18.5/20
Overall: 18.75/20
Total: 93.75 points

Penfolds Website


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I think I was captured by how essentially natural or organic the whole process of winemaking is. It's farming, it's viticulture, it's weather and soil, and many more things. It's the winemaker. But after all these things, after the cap is unscrewed or the cork popped, I (and you) get to enjoy it. Then we talk about it and learn some more. Which is, I guess, the reason why you're here! Here you'll find stories, links, wine education samples and wine reviews. I am entirely independent and my wine reviews and ratings are based on my own thoughts and opinions. I accept no endorsements for products or good reviews. Enjoy! I can be reached for comments, feedback and questions at Good drinking to you! David

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