Penfolds Bin 51 Riesling 2018
Bin 51 captures many of the attributes of the Eden Valley locale. The region’s high altitude and cool climate induces riesling with great finesse and elegance with a capacity for long-term cellaring. South Australia has gained worldwide recognition for producing world-class Riesling and Eden Valley always features. Light lime green in color. Unashamedly Eden Valley fruits – ID’d instantly! All regional riesling markers on display. An array of florals – white spring flowers (jonquil), and hints of fresh lime. Crushed mixed-stone gravel … not quite at talc stage. Yet. Aromatically extols an undeniable purity, minerality and freshness! Very lime – citrus driven palate augmented by just ripe Granny Smith apple, cucumber granita and traces of juniper berry. A distinct chalky acid presence noted, yet ideally balanced so as not to intrude or distract. Admittedly a wishful second guess, but no reason to suspect why this palate shouldn’t remain intact over the next decade or three! Imminently drinkable.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Super tight and flinty aromas with a burst of lime and pithy grapefruit and plenty of spicy spark. The palate is taut and succulent, showing slightly chalky texture and lime, apple and green-pear flavors, delivered with power through the finish. Prominent acidity. Drink now, but better as a 5 to 6-year-old wine.
Penfolds’s latest Eden Valley Riesling is once again a tasty if steeply priced drop. More classic Riesling in style than the previous vintage, it offers delicate notes of lime, lavender, talcum powder, flower blossoms, white pepper and a touch of honey and petrol. Racy acidity keeps the citrusy palate bright and refreshing, balanced by a slippery texture. Drink through 2028.
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.
Higher in elevation and topographically more dramatic than the Barossa Valley floor, Eden Valley abuts it to its south and east. While it is a bit of an extension of Barossa, Eden Valley is topographically different than the pastoral Barossa Valley, and is composed of rocky hills and eucalyptus groves.
Recognizing Eden Valley’s potential with Riesling in the 1960s and 70s, producers started to move their Riesling production from Barossa to these better sites where schist soils on hilltops would produce more steely, tart and age-worthy examples. A most famous site, planted by Colin Gramp, called Steingarten, today produces one of the most outstanding Australian Rieslings. Youthful Eden Valley Rieslings express floral, grapefruit and mineral, while with time in the bottle, they become increasingly toasty and complex.
Riesling isn’t the only grape the region can grow; undeniably at lower altitudes Shiraz does very well. Mount Edelstone is a notable vineyard as well as the Hill of Grace, which boasts healthy Shiraz vines well over 100 years old. This is the only Australian region where Merlot has a made a name for itself and Chardonnay can be spectacular, particularly from the High Eden subregion in the southern valley.
Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining its identity. A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, this versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Somm Secret—Given how difficult it is to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling from the label, here are some clues to find the dry ones. First, look for the world “trocken.” (“Halbtrocken” or “feinherb” mean off-dry.) Also a higher abv usually indicates a drier Riesling.