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Tasting Penfolds Bin 389 and Penfolds Bin 407, Vintage 2011.

No further ink needs to be spilt on these 2 wines. A lot of tasters, including James Halliday, Matthew Jukes and Sarah Ahmed, wrote about these 2 wines. Sufficed to say that Ahmed’s climate portrayal (a mild summer with few short periods of elevated heat; smaller berry and bunch sizes; traditional quality markers of colour, tannin, fruit concentration and flavour depth) lays well a fundemental understanding of the stylistic contracts of vintage 2011 as well as of the Bin 389 and Bin 407. Hence the shiraz component in Penfolds Bin 389 offers every kind of black fruit yet leaves space for complex secondary characters(spices, licorice and wild herb), where Penfolds Bin 407, stands reticent at first, thereafter revealing a spectacular display of varietal fruit(currants, licorice, tannins, stemmy greeness).

There is every point in James Halliday’s award of 96 points to Penfolds Bin 389. And Matthew Jukes’ disappointment with Penfolds Bin 407, in my view, reflects the more unyielding character of Cabernet Sauvignon (that should be it, right?) and the aristocratic balance being born into a wine and not a commodity which increases with age. I believe fruit will balance out the coarse tannins and this will enable the wine to live for a long time.

I believe we should buy these 2 wines. The 2011, loud and clear, is one of the very good vintage. Why? Because vintage 2011, against 2010 and 2013, gives a clear sweep of 6 trophies in the Australia’s wine Oscar, The Great Australian Red Competition. Penfolds 389 in particular, won AP Coopers Trophy for Cabernet-Dominant blend. These 2 blended wines across the regions will always provide interesting contrasts to the single vineyard, the St. Henri and Magill Estates. Finally both are awarded a preliminarily a convservative score of RP91.

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