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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Wine Entry : Penfolds 389 Cabernet Shiraz Vintage 1999 (Australian)

C.K’s bro got him this bottle of Penfolds 389. I checked out the price at Marketplace by Cold Storage and the 2001 vintage was going for S$68.50. (the 2001 vintage was reviewed by Club Sunset) I must say that the wine was pretty good and comparable with a French Classified Growth or Cru Bourgeois, except leaning more towards the fruit bomb aspects. In the glass the wine was an opaque dark ruby red.

Smell : Strong intense fragrant blackcurrent berries flavour with a little oak and sweetness at the end.

Taste : Smooth with good fruity berry taste followed by the tannins. Surprisingly not much spice for a Shiraz blend.

After taste : Good-medium length of tannins, indications of a wine that could age gracefully.

Description at back of bottle : The blend of Cabernet and Shiraz is classic Penfolds rich ripe fruit and well integrated oak with firm tannins tight structure and great balance will reward medium to long term cellaring.

Write-up of Bin 389 :
First made in 1960, Bin 389 quickly became known as 'Poor Man's Grange', a dual reference to its far cheaper price and to the fact that the new barrels employed to make Grange were passed on after one use to mature Bin 389. In fact, new oak is also used in the making of Bin 389, though never extravagantly - around 20%.
While the varietal blend has remained more or less 60% cabernet sauvignon and 40% shiraz - varying slightly from one vintage to the next - the regional base has changed significantly over the years. The first wines were made from grapes produced on the defunct Auldana Vineyard, but the net gradually spread across the Barossa Valley and beyond.

For some years now the wine has been sourced from vineyards in the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Padthaway, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and the Clare Valley. This spread has added to, rather than detracted from, the quality and complexity of the wine. It gives the winemakers greater scope to deal with seasonal variation, and to achieve balance by blending rather than chemical manipulation - a central tenet of Max Schubert's winemaking philosophy.

While Bin 389 does not have the exceptional longevity of Grange, the best vintages age superbly for 20 years or more. And if anyone should ponder on the question of the synergy from the blend of cabernet and shiraz, Bin 389 provides the answer.



  • At 12:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    if he bought it as a new release then, he woulda paid either high $40's or at worse mid-$50's for the wine. the 28, 128, 389 and 407 prices ahev steadily escalated over the past 10 years.

    i remember i sued to have the 389 ('94 vtg) at only $18.00. but tht was in Oz. but even now, the prices in oz have risen.

    if you can, get your hands on the '98. the '99 wasn't that good a vintage imho. the '98 was a classic. check out the '97, it was crap!

    this is afterall, the poor man's grange, so where celaring potential is concerned, do not under estimate it.

    btw, ow was the colour? youthful?

  • At 10:37 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Next time jio me mah... hope you enjoyed your drink. :)w

  • At 8:04 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Yeah the colour was still very vibrant and bright, and dark opaque too..


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