Wine Advocate 88 points - Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2012 Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz shows a youthfully muted nose of black and red plums, mulberries plus hints of pepper, charcoal, damp earth and sage. The medium to full-bodied palate centers on a decent core of mid-palate fruit structured by medium levels of chewy tannins and lively acid. It finishes long. 5,110 bottles were made. Drink it now to 2020+. (Feb 2014)
Coonawarra enjoys a relatively cool climate and the profile of shiraz from this region differs markedly to shiraz produced from the Barossa. Aromatically, the Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz exhibits more peppery spice than sweet spice, red rather than black fruits and fennel over aniseed. Structurally it is firmer, with pronounced acid and savoury tannins.
This refined wine is renowned for its consistency and reliability as both a current-drinking and cellaring-type red.
Bin 128 represents the synergistic blending of Penfolds’ mastery of shiraz with the unique climate and growing conditions of Coonawarra, to create a wine that delivers a distinctly regional twist to the classic Penfolds style.
|Lamb backstrap seasoned with Moroccan herbs and spices
Traditional pigeon bastilla
|Australia’s winemaking history of less than two hundred years is brief by European measures though, like Europe, punctuated by periods of extreme success and difficult times. From the earliest winemaking days Penfolds has figured prominently and few would argue the importance of Penfolds’ influence on Australia’s winemaking psyche.
Without the influence of Penfolds the modern Australian wine industry would look very different indeed. Sitting comfortably outside of fad and fashion, Penfolds has taken Australian wine to the world on a grand stage and forged a reputation for quality that is without peer.
Penfolds’ reputation for making wines of provenance and cellaring potential might suggest a mantle of tradition and formality is the preferred attire of a company with so much history to defend. But to label Penfolds as simply an established and conventional winemaker, would be to confuse tradition with consideration and to overlook the innovative spirit that has driven Penfolds since its foundation, and continues to find expression in modern times.
If there is anything traditional about Penfolds, it is the practice of constantly reviewing the wines it already does well, and continuously evolving and refining styles as vineyards mature and access to ever older and more varied vineyard sites improves.