Australia’s most widely recognized wine brand, Penfolds, have generally made their wines in three different styles. There’s the single vineyard approach (like the Magill Estate Shiraz), the single region (aka Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz) and the multi region blends such as their iconic Grange and Bin 707. But since 2008, winemaker Peter Gago has also been trying his hand at a subregional wine using grapes sourced solely from a village in the middle of South Australia’s Barossa Valley.
I had never tried the latest addition to the Penfolds stable until during a recent visit to the Melbourne CBD I stumbled across a bottle of the 2010 release of the Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz. It’s as dark in the glass as you’d expect of a big Barossa red, and on the nose, there are aromas of burnt coffee and sun softened mulberries. As 2010 was such an outstanding season for the Barossa, I was expecting the first sip to result in an explosion of dark berry flavours on my taste buds but alas, what appeared to be an inky beast in the glass was more of poodle on a leash once it reached the palate. Sure, there are some austere hints of chocolate and blackberry but not the veritable kaleidoscope of jammy bold berries that I had anticipated. It’s not washed out, but perhaps subdued by the weight of French and American oak that exert their tannic influence at the back end.
There’s no doubt that the Bin 150 will stand the test of time in the cellar, but for mine, after a cracking 2010 season in the vineyard, I’d prefer to have seen the Marananga fruit unleashed and allowed to express itself for what it is.
Regrettably, I suspect that the Penfolds Bin 150 is overworked in the winery and at around $70 a bottle, overpriced on the shelf.