Friday, April 1, 2011


- Barossa Valley, SA
- $18-$35
- Screwcap
- 14.5%alc

Paying $17.55 for Penfolds 2009 Bin 138 actually had me feeling kinda guilty, like I was doing my bit to assist the slow destruction of Australia's wine business. Andrew Caillard MW gave the wine 96pts in an eye-catching newspaper ad, but I was more taken by the honest opinion of another Andrew.

From what's shaping up to be a good year for South Australian grenache, Penfolds has produced an archetypal Barossa GSM of immense drinkability. It's floral, joyously ripened and fruity, with an air of cinnamon stick providing a lightly spiced lift to deep set, plummy scents of blueberries, raspberries, chocolate and even tar, without a shred of over-ripeness evident. Brightness and harmony exude throughout the palate, as everything just seems to fall into place seamlessly, like melting chocolate in your mouth. Expect juicy plum, choc-raisin and raspberry flavours; expressed with ideal ripeness, and pushed along a medium-medium/full body (which is far from heavy) by gentle spices and a charmingly resistant extract of gritty tannin, causing the wine to move in a more rustic manner down the back palate, before leaving the mouth with a faint taste of sweet and sour meaty flavour. Its judgement in the vineyard and winery seems..... beyond perfection for what I paid.

ü+ As a relatively recent entrant to the Bin range (the first Bin 138 came from the 1998 vintage, although Penfolds first made an 'Old Vine' Southern Rhône blend from 1992) I'm happy to say this is the best Bin 138 I've had; and I'm not usually a big fan. It's so on the money for the label. Drink to 2021.
93 points


  1. I'm torn. Want to try the Pen's Bins, think they're over priced at RRP, but I refuse to shop at Dan's or 1st etc

    There's so much other good (read artisan, small scale) juice out there that they rarely get to the top of the list.

    That said, nice note.

  2. Good call on all accounts Stu. I attended one of those release day tastings with no intentions of buying anything, but was so impressed with the quality of the 138 (and shocked by its price really) that I gave in to temptation :(

  3. ^Hey Stu,

    Try eBay if Dan Murpheys bothers you so much. Though I found a Dan Murpheys in Brisbane Stocked some exquisite 2006 Bin 138's after they were long sold out of even my local independent (because of myself mainly). I have watched this wine rise in price over the last 6 years, roughly about $16-20. That's a bit disappointing as the rise has been pretty sharp. That being said it still tempts me, though $33+ is pretty exxy. I would like to point out, that 2003 that I tried once was one of the most lovely wines I have ever had. I'm not sure if it was it was because it was my first time trying a nice wine or it was truly outstanding. Perhaps a combination.

    Great blog though.