Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2016 (6 x750mL), SA.

Provenance: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Baby Grange’, in part because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. First made in 1960, by the legendary Max Schubert, this was the wine that helped to forge Penfolds solid reputation with red wine drinkers combining the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon with the richness of Shiraz. Bin 389 also exemplifies the judicious balance of fruit and oak.

“Certainly not a definitive example Bin 389 of yore – this 2016 vintage release retains style yet pushes cabernet/shiraz blend boundaries … ever so deftly!””

“Coincidentally or otherwise, a Japanese ‘demeanour’ unfolded during preview tastings – many Japanese-linked descriptors availed, some used, others not.”

“Quercus alba – are you sure?! …Savoury, sandalwood nuances noted. No doubt, however, about this wine’s captivating sheen/poise.”

  • Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker

Overview

Provenance: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Baby Grange’, in part because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. First made in 1960, by the legendary Max Schubert, this was the wine that helped to forge Penfolds solid reputation with red wine drinkers combining the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon with the richness of Shiraz. Bin 389 also exemplifies the judicious balance of fruit and oak.

“Certainly not a definitive example Bin 389 of yore – this 2016 vintage release retains style yet pushes cabernet/shiraz blend boundaries … ever so deftly!””

“Coincidentally or otherwise, a Japanese ‘demeanour’ unfolded during preview tastings – many Japanese-linked descriptors availed, some used, others not.”

“Quercus alba – are you sure?! …Savoury, sandalwood nuances noted. No doubt, however, about this wine’s captivating sheen/poise.”

  • Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker
Region:
AUS - Multi-regional
State:
Multi-regional
Country:
Australia

Expert Reviews

96 Points - Campbell Mattinson - Wine Front

Bin 389 cracks the ton, in asking price terms. The rich (wo)man’s, poor (wo)man’s drink. Grapes sourced from Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Wrattonbully. You don’t hear so much of Padthaway, that salty old dog, nowadays but it’s still important to the Penfolds red wine stable. 51% cabernet sauvignon, 49% shiraz. All American oak.

Ah now you’ve done it. Stop it, just stop it. You look at the Bin 407 release from this vintage and think: that’s how it’s done. And then you add shiraz, and call it Bin 389, and the palate is boosted, the length is still there, the tobacco notes still light up, and with vanilla and cherry-plum notes tickling the cassis into a riot it suddenly feels irrepressible, like the premiership’s a cakewalk. It’s not a John Holmes wine; it’s not overdone. It’ a wine to slip through your defences, is what it is. It’s a cracker. This is why you blend cabernet with shiraz.

Rating 96 - James Halliday Published 01 October 2018

A 51/49% blend from the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Wrattonbully, matured for 12 months in American hogsheads (37% new). Good colour, although not as striking as some of the other wines in the range; Likewise retains some elegance despite the clarion call of the cascade of fruit flavours. The fruit, oak, tannin and acid balance is impeccable, as is the length and drive of the palate. The savoury subtext is equally good.

Winery Tasting Notes

Colour

Bright garnet.

Nose

An immediate ascent of scent – no need to wait or to vigorously swirl this wine to tease out ‘what lies beneath’!

Dark berry fruits consistent to both varietal persuasions, (cabernet and shiraz), overtly courted by elements of ponzu, soy, sesame and dried shiitake mushroom.

Senses are easily conveyed to a forest after rain – wet bracken, liberated mulch, damp soils. Naturally (new and used) oak plays a (minor) role in this fanciful aromatic romp.

Palate

Flavours and textures akin to marbled Kobe beef and an earthy accompaniment of black liquorice root and anise.

Structurally bold with little protruding – integrated, fine … and has comfortably already “settled into place”.

‘Appetising’ acidity – a non-intrusive and refreshing granita-like bite/attaque.

Assam tea maltiness and tannins merge with impressions of wet slate, pencil lead/graphite … no doubt somehow linked to earlier partial barrel fermentation and oak maturation.

Needs time, as per most Bin 389’s at release. Perhaps a little longer for this vintage? Our recommendation – your choice.

Drinking well now, but will improve with time. Peak drinking 2020 - 2046.