Coonawarra had a dry start to the growing season with a notably warm spring and no frost damage reported. Overall, the summer and autumn conditions were cooler than average, allowing slow ripening. Aged for 12 months in French oak hogsheads (21% new, 22% one-year-old). TA 6.6 g/l, pH 3.6.
Dark purplish crimson. Light but the zesty, refreshing nose. Drying finish. Quite a punishing, tannic drink at the moment. It may well blossom, but I wouldn’t open it for a while.
Drink 2025 - 2035
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (July 2023)
The 2021 Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz is blue-fruited and spicy, with blueberry compote, salted liquorice, blackberry bramble and olive tapenade.
In the mouth, the fruit is powered by an effusive wall of soft, pillowy tannin, and there's lovely length through the finish (shaved fennel/garden mint through here). It's pure and blue and spicy.
It matured for 12 months in French oak hogsheads (21% new). 14.5% alcohol, sealed under natural cork.
Drink 2023 - 2035
Erin Larkin, Wine Advocate (July 2023)
Loads of flavour and chomp to this full-weighted, highly regional expression. Black currant, blue fruits, clove, verdant herbs, charcuterie and a waft of menthol across a finish framed by malty oak. Yet nothing obtuse.
The finish is warm, poised and nourishing—a highly satisfying expression with a strong track record.
Drink or hold
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (July 2023)
A cool-climate Coonawarra counterpoint to the multi-region Bin 28 Shiraz (much like Bin 169 Cabernet Sauvignon is to Bin 707 further up the ladder).
And in this vintage, it is very much the superior wine, displaying real elegance, delicacy and lift through the flavours of blueberry, damson skin and sweet frangipane countering savoury, meaty notes, black pepper spice and tapenade.
The acidity is refreshing, and the supple tannins are well-knit, while the oak (12 months in French hogsheads, 21% new) lends support without intruding.
Drink 2023 - 2038
Tina Gellie, Decanter.com (June 2023)
The 2021 Shiraz Bin 128 is a stunning release and shows a superb mix of power and refinement. It delivers all sorts of enticing aromas, including roasted meats, soy sauce, white pepper and just-ripe blackberry fruits, with killer poise. Toasty oak provides the perfect backdrop.
Dry, mid-weight and well-pitched, engaging flavours of dark cherry are laced with layers of spice and charcuterie before a strong, sustained finish. This exceptional value wine is hard to put down.
Drink 2025 - 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.
Coonawarra is a famous wine region located on South Australia's Limestone Coast, an hour's drive (37 miles) east from the ocean. Populated by Scottish and Irish immigrants during the mid-19th century, it was John Riddoch's love of horticulture that led him to set up a fruit farm on the terra rossa soils of Katnook, later renamed as Coonawarra in 1897.Although Riddoch managed to plant vines and make wine before his death in 1901, it wasn't until the 1950s that the Wynn family relaunched the Coonawarra name with the purchase of his winery. A trickle of corporate investment then followed (ie Mildara), before turning into a flood during the 1960s and 1970s. Now approximately 4,000 hectares, the controversial Coonawarra Geographical Indication zone encompasses prized terra rossa soils (free-draining red loam over limestone over an aquifer), as well as not-so-noble turf consisting of red, sandy, brown loam and poorly-drained black loam.
A low-lying cool area with a Mediterranean climate, it has moderate, relative humidity (49 percent); at 59 metres, it has a similar altitude to the Médoc (47m), is drier and 10 percent cooler – probably due to the notable cloud-cover during the key months. Non-detail/hedge pruning shapes the vineyards, resulting in large canopies and relatively high-pH juice. Cabernet Sauvignon is king, blended with Merlot matured in American oak with the capacity to age for up to 10 years.
Recommended Producers: Wynns, Coonawarra, Bowen Estate
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.