Penfolds Bin 128 is one of the most distinctive reds in the Penfolds stable. Firstly, as a Coonawarra Shiraz, it is one of the few Penfolds reds that isnt a multi regional blend. It is also one of only two Penfolds reds, Clare Estate being the other, to be matured solely in French oak - all other Penfolds reds make use of some American oak in the maturation process. This has not always been the case. Up till the late 70s Bin 128 was also matured in American oak. However, over time, the rich, sweet vanillin characters of the American barrels tended to mask the regional delicacy typical of Coonawarra Shiraz and so, as of 1980, only French oak has been used. French oak generally lends a wine understated, aromatic characters and is therefore a better choice with more subtly flavoured wines. Coonawarra typically produces zesty, spicy and supple Shiraz fruit that exhibits a richness of flavour and a mouth-filling roundness on the palate. Bin 128 is true to this style.
Penfolds Wines Winery
Penfolds has been producing remarkable wines since 1844 and indisputably led the development of Australian fine wine in the modern era. The introduction of Penfolds Grange in 1951 forever changed the landscape of Australian fine wine. Since then a series of stand-out wines both white and red have been released under the Penfolds masthead.
Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker and only the 4th custodian of Grange, relishes the opportunity to bring Penfolds to the world stage and is an enthusiastic ambassador and natural educator. Penfolds came to the attention of the US market when 1990 Grange was Wine Spectator’s ‘Wine of the Year’. Since then, Penfolds Grange has become one of the most collectable wines of the world and was honored to grace the front cover, once again, of Wine Spectator, with declarations of Grange as Australia’s Icon
Located on the Limestone Coast of South Australia, Coonawarra is quite flat, except for the vineyards, which are slightly elevated. That, along with the proximity to the ocean and frequent cloud cover, Coonawarra never gets too hot. There is a small strip of soil, about nine miles long and two miles wide, called Terra Rossa, or red earth. It is the coveted place to plant Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon in this small region.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the grape of choice here. There is a good amount of Shiraz planted as well, and blends of the two are popular. Cabernet grown in the Terra Rossa shows a sense of place, and the wines are in high demand. The wine is elegant in structure, with prominent acidity and firm tannins, while being full of ripe fruit flavors typical of Australia's style.
Like the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of
Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.