The 2021 Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz fruit is from Marananga in the Barossa Valley (east of Seppeltsfield, south of Greenock). The oak—a combination of French and American (each component featuring 29% new)—is sitting atop the fruit here.
The essence of Marananga is disguised by this element aromatically. In the mouth, the fruit starts to show: mulberry, raspberry, ferrous, iodine, roast meat, beetroot, peppercorns and liquorice.
I would suggest this wine needs time in the cellar; the oak is effusive here. The fruit is better. Have patience. 14.5% alcohol, sealed under natural cork.
Drink 2023 - 2051
Erin Larkin, Wine Advocate (July 2023)
Marananga is very close to the centre of the Barossa Valley, with red clay and sandy loam soils. Winter rainfall was 20% below the long-term average, but a wetter-than-average August contributed to healthy soil moisture for the start of the growing season.
Spring temperatures were slightly warmer than average, and the area experienced mild conditions over harvest. Aged for 18 months in French oak (29% new) and American oak (29% new) hogsheads and large puncheons. TA 6.9 g/l, pH 3.65.
Much more geographical specificity than usual for Penfolds! But oddly enough, it almost smells like Cabernet in this vintage; there’s a certain pyrazine character. But good balance, fully ripe fruit and only a little pinched and drying on the end. Wait a while.
Drink 2025 - 2040
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (July 2023)
A brooding, full-bodied wine with gushing fruit effortlessly compressed and refined by seams of cedar oak tannins. Damson, Christmas cake dried fruits, earthenware and boozy spice, all thrown into the mix. Yet that rail of tannic refinement bridges the attack to the long, sumptuous, almost dusty finish.
Drink or hold
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (July 2023)
Marananga is a small hamlet in the heart of the Barossa Valley, which regularly delivers one of Penfolds’ most traditional, old-school styles of Shiraz. It is muscular, steely and imposing – chief winemaker Peter Gago recommends decanting it even at this stage of its life to coax out its personality.
Once opened, it reluctantly showcases ripe brambles and hedgerow, plum jam, roasted beetroot, currants, tar and sweet baking spices, which follow on the rich, chunky palate. Chewy, chalky tannins make a big statement, but a Campari-like brightness lifts the finish—a lovable brute.
Drink 2025 - 2055
Tina Gellie, Decanter.com (June 2023)
The 2021 Shiraz Bin 150, from the Western Barossa, will have many fans thanks to its powerful style. It radiates with mocha, earth, old spices, dark chocolate and cocoa aromas with an overcoat of sweet oak.
The palate then kicks on with explosive flavours of juicy dark cherry and blackberry supported by deep-set ferrous tannins, flavours just backing off a touch toward the finish. This is a good but not outstanding Bin 150.
Drink 2026 - 2035
Angus Hughson, Vinous.com (July 2023)
About this WINE
Penfolds enjoys an iconic status that few New World producers have achieved. Established in 1844 at the Magill Estate near Adelaide, it laid the foundation for fine wine production in Australia.
The winemaking team is led by the masterful Peter Gago; it has the herculean task of blending the best wines from a multitude of different plots, vineyards and regions to create a consistent and outstanding range of wines. Its flagship wine, Grange, is firmly established as one of the finest red wines in the world.
Under Gago’s stewardship, the Penfolds range has evolved over time. Winemaking has moved away from New World heat and the sort of larger-than-life style that can mask individuality; the contemporary wines instead favour fine balance and typicity for the region or grape.
Barossa Valley is the South Australia's wine industry's birthplace. Currently into its fifth generation, it dates back to 1839 when George Fife Angas’ South Australian Company purchased 28,000 acres at a £1 per acre and sold them onto landed gentry, mostly German Lutherans. The first vines were planted in 1843 in Bethany, and by the 1870s – with Europe ravaged by war and Phylloxera - Gladstone’s British government complemented its colonies with preferential duties.
Fortified wines, strong enough to survive the 20,000km journey, flooded the British market. Churchill followed, between the Wars, re-affirming Australia’s position as a leading supplier of ‘Empire wines’. After the Second World War, mass European immigration saw a move to lighter wines, as confirmed by Grange Hermitage’s creation during the 1950s. Stainless-steel vats and refrigeration improved the quality of the dry table wines on offer, with table wine consumption exceeding fortified for the first time in 1970.
Averaging 200 to 400 metres’ altitude, the region covers 6,500 hectares of mainly terra rossa loam over limestone, as well as some warmer, sandier sites – the Cambrian limestone being far more visible along the eastern boundary (the Barossa Ranges) with Eden Valley. Following a diagonal shape, Lyndoch at the southern end nearest Gulf St Vincent is the region’s coolest spot, benefiting from sea fogs, while Nuriootpa (further north) is warmer; hot northerlies can be offset by sea breezes. The region is also home to the country’s largest concentration of 100-year-old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre.
Barossa Valley Shiraz is one of the country’s most identifiable and famous red wine styles, produced to a high quality by the likes of Rockford, Elderton, Torbreck and Dean Hewitson. Grenache and Mourvèdre are two of the region’s hidden gems, often blended with Shiraz, yet occasionally released as single vineyard styles such as Hewitson’s ‘Old Garden’, whose vines date back to 1853. Cabernet Sauvignon is a less highly-regarded cultivar.
Wines are traditionally vinified in open concrete fermenters before being cleaned up and finished in American and French oak barrels or ‘puncheons’ of approximately 600 litres. Barossa Shiraz should be rich, spicy and suave, with hints of leather and pepper.
A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.
It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.
South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.