x
  • Country ranking ?

    48
  • Producer ranking ?

    27
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The Story

Bin 389 is often referred to as ‘Poor Man’s Grange’ or ‘Baby Grange’, in part because components of the wine are matured in the same barrels that held the previous vintage of Grange. First made in 1960, by the legendary Max Schubert, this was the wine that helped to build Penfolds solid reputation with red wine drinkers.

Combining the structure of Cabernet with the richness of Shiraz, Bin 389 also exemplifies Penfolds skill in judiciously balancing fruit and oak. 

Bin 389 is one of Australia’s great cellaring red wines.  First produced in 1960, its history is connected with the development of Grange and Max Schubert’s ambition of creating a ‘dynasty of wines which all bear an unmistakable resemblance to each other’.  

Named after its original binning compartment at Magill cellars, Bin 389 is the most popular wine in the Australian secondary wine market because of its heritage, consistency and reputation. 

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Vintage 2017

AUSTRALIA VINTAGE REPORT: The 2017 winegrape crush is estimated to be 1.93 million tonnes, based on responses received by the Wine Sector Survey 2017. This crush is 5 per cent higher than the 2016 final crush figure of 1.84 million tonnes (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Levies recorded figure). It is the third consecutive vintage where the tonnes crushed have increased.

Additional tonnes this year came relatively equally from the cool and temperate regions of Australia and the warm inland regions (Riverina, Murray Darling-Swan Hill and Riverland). However, the tonnes from the cool and temperate regions increased by 9 per cent compared to a 3 per cent increase in the warm inland regions.

Most regions recorded an increase in tonnes crushed including: Riverland, Riverina, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, Wrattonbully, Margaret River, King Valley, Eden Valley, Heathcote, Tasmania, Orange, Gundagai, Grampians, Hunter Valley, Hilltops, Alpine Valleys and Rutherglen.

 

Regions where the tonnes crushed declined in 2017 included Murray Darling-Swan Hill, Langhorne Creek, Padthaway, Adelaide Hills, Currency Creek, Goulburn Valley, Cowra, Swan District, Mount Benson, Robe and Mudgee.

The 2017 red variety crush is estimated to be 1,062,660 tonnes – an increase of 112,000 tonnes (up 12 per cent) compared with 2016. The white variety crush is estimated to be 866,970 tonnes, a decrease of 19,000 tonnes (down 2 per cent) compared with 2016. Red varieties increased their share of the crush to 55 per cent, compared with 52 per cent in 2016.

The top three red varieties by volume were Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, together accounting for 85 per cent of the total red crush. Shiraz accounted for 47 per cent of the red crush (up slightly from 2016) while the Cabernet Sauvignon share fell from 27 per cent to 26 per cent and Merlot remained at 12 per cent.

Among the whites, Chardonnay remains the dominant variety. However, its share fell from 47 per cent in 2016 to 42 per cent this year with the Chardonnay crush down 13 per cent.

 

2017 will also be a good year for Grenache. It’s a grape whose time has come, and has indeed been coming for a few years. It’s a warm-climate grape that does particularly well in regions such as McLaren Vale. Now that consumers have got over their strange obsession with dark colour and lots of structure in their red wines, Grenache is allowed to do what it does best: make elegant, perfumed, somewhat lighter-coloured reds that are the equivalent of the Pinot Noir of the warmer climates.

Pinot Noir is also going from strength to strength, and superb examples are coming from Tasmania, Mornington Peninsular, Macedon Ranges and cooler parts of the Yarra Valley. 2017 will be a good year for Pinot, and also for Australian wines’ cool climate regions generally.

Chardonnay is one grape where there has been a shift in style, and 2017 could see it become even more interesting. ‘As you’re well aware there’s been a trend for quite a few years for "size zero” Chardonnay, early picked, skinny and with a very strong sulphidy character,’ says Wildman. ‘The better examples of these wines have dominated at the wine shows and therefore have further driven the style (think Vasse Felix Heytesbury, Penfolds Bin A, Oakridge 864). ’However, this style of Chardonnay has come under criticism because it’s almost as if the foot has been made to fit the slipper, and they aren’t actually all that nice to drink. As a consequence, Wildman notes, there are now fewer wines in this skinny-sulphidy style being seen. ‘The pendulum seems to have swung back (rapidly) towards the middle ground, where the wines have some weight, texture and ripeness, are not afraid of some new oak, and the sulphides have been dialed back to just a whisper of struck match, making the wines not too skinny, not too fat, but "just right”.’ He reckons that as the 2016 wines hit the shelves next year this trend for more balanced wines will increase.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

2017 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz ($100) - 389 is always one of the top wines of
the release and inevitably a contender for best value, even though it, along
with pretty much the entire range, has risen considerably in price in recent
years. Known, somewhat derisively, as 'Baby Grange', for years, it was
created by Max Schubert in 1960. There would be few serious cellars in
Australia without several vintages represented.

The '17 is 54% Cabernet and 46% Shiraz, from McLaren Vale, the Barossa,
Wrattonbully and Padthaway. It spent a year in American hogsheads, 29% of
which were new. Offers a delightful nose, ripe with intense chocolate notes,
cassis, vanilla pods, hints of cherries and dry herbs. The merest hint of
mint - I know that mint in wines can be divisive but here, I thought it just
one more factor adding to the complexity. Completely seamless with excellent
length and the finest of tannins. This is a really good wine, but if one
wished to be derogatory, you could say that it is not quite the match of the
2016. 96.

  • 96p

Like most of its siblings, is complex and compelling, the bouquet setting the scene, and the palate filling it. Black fruits, gently vanillan oak, superfine but persistent tannins are but the start.

  • 97p

Ruby. Blackberries, scented, violets, some spices, detailed nose, cassis, nuanced. Opens up nicely with more floral notes with air. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, juicy, dark fruits and spices, elegant texture, detailed and layered, nuanced and long. Bright yet rich, long. 94

  • 94p
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Information

Origin

Magill, South Australia

Other wines from this producer

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