Maker: Penfolds Wines, Magill, SA, Australia
Packaging: Bottle, natural cork
Our Rating: 9 out of 10
In honor of Wine Blogging Wednesday #30's focus on New World Shiraz, we ventured upscale from our usual highly affordable range and tried Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 2003. We'd better not do this too often - we could get hooked on wines like this big Shiraz! The nose of this wine isn't pronounced - there are mild berry, leather, anise, and spice notes. Don't be fooled, though - on the palate, this wine is full-bodied and well structured. Blackberry and light oak lead into an impressively long, black pepper and spice finish. The acidity in the finish adds to the complexity and makes this an impressive wine indeed.
Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz shouldn't be confused with the very good but much more fruity low-end Aussie Shirazes. This wine is more balanced and complex, and has a finish that goes on forever. The Penfolds website comments, "Coonawarra typically produces zesty, spicy and supple Shiraz fruit that exhibits a richness of flavour and a mouth filling roundness on the palate." We do suggest letting this wine breathe - immediately after opening, we thought the wine seemed rather muted and thin, but some oxygen greatly expanded the flavor. (Trivia buffs will be interested to know that before 1982, this wine was known as "Bin 128 Claret.")
To me, Bin 128 Shiraz shows that "new world" wines can be as sophisticated and complex as those from the ancient wine producing regions of Europe. A big "thanks" to WineCast for hosting WBW #30, and choosing a theme that was both easy to fulfill and a great choice for a frigid winter day!