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  • Country ranking ?

    205
  • Producer ranking ?

    136
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035

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The Story

Bin 311 is considered one of the very finest, best-value cool-climate Chardonnays in Australia. In the context of Penfolds’ Chardonnay, Bin 311 is to Yattarna as Bin 389 is to Grange. The wine is made from declassified parcels of A1-graded Chardonnay grapes that would otherwise go into Yattarna and matured in the same French oak barrels that previously held Yattarna.

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Vintage 2021

2021 Barossa Valley Vintage Report

Following two particularly dry seasons, many were hoping for Mother Nature to be much kinder, and mostly she was. Winter rainfall in 2020 recorded 148mm, the same as winter 2019, (22% below average). The majority of this rainfall was in the latter half of August, with the rain continuing into September and October. This was ideal timing to replenish soil profiles to field capacity moving into budburst in October. However, dry conditions ensued throughout November and into summer with the growing season rainfall from October to March measuring 129mm, 42% below average. The calendar year of 2020 recorded 455.8mm, 160mm higher than 2019.

Some frost damage occurred on 27 September, when temperatures plunged to -0.3°C. However, many varieties were only just emerging and widespread damage thankfully was avoided.

November recorded 4 days above 35°C, pushing the monthly maximum temperature to 28°C - 4°C warmer than previous years. However, conditions throughout summer were relatively mild with December recording its lowest maximum temperature since 2014, and all months recording monthly maximums below average. Cool, dewy mornings and maximum temperatures below 30°C for the majority of January provided optimal ripening conditions.

Conditions were quite favourable during flowering, allowing bunches to set and good fruit development. Veraison started in late January-early February and the cooler conditions and some rain in early February helped to plump up berries and provide some relief to soil moisture profiles. Minimum temperatures for February were 1.4°C below average and maximums were 1.2°C below average.

Whilst yield varied between vineyards, it was welcome relief to achieve close to average crops in comparison to the last two seasons.

There was much anticipation that labour resources required for hand picking would not be available this vintage due to border closures, but with the cooler weather slowing ripening, vintage was less compressed than previous years and it was much easier to source labour than first thought. Harvest continued well into April as the dry Indian summer continued to ripen the grapes.

Quality is exceptional across the varieties and styles from 2021. Reds have intense, rich and balanced flavours and colours; whites have lovely aromatics, finesse and great natural acidity.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Bin 311 Chardonnay 2021 (A$50) – A multi-regional blend which sees barrel fermentation and then maturation for nine months in a mix of oak – 38% new and 28% one year old, with the rest being seasoned older oak. There is a high percentage of Adelaide Hills fruit this vintage (82%), with Tasmania also contributing (14%), and a dollop from Tumbarumba (3%). On this occasion, it does seem that there is a slightly heavy hand with the use of oak. Plenty of very fine fruit behind it, but the question is whether that oak will dissipate into the wine before the fruit does. Looking beyond the oak, we have notes of melons, spices, oatmeal, apricot stonefruit and cashew/nutmeg characters. Lovely creamy texture and there is already some appealing complexity. Whilst there is a good balance between the acidity, flavours and length, we do have that oak intruding. That said, there are still plenty of consumers who love a good dollop of oak in their Chardy and they will adore this wine for that. Others may not be so enamoured, but it would be worth giving the wine the benefit of the doubt and returning to it in two to three years to monitor progress. 90.

  • 90p

Pale colour. Very expressive lime, grapefruit aromas with flinty, tonic water notes. Generously flavoured palate with plentiful lime squash, grapefruit notes, fine slinky textures, lovely mid-palate creaminess, underlying toasty complexity and long fresh quartz-like acidity. Superb mineral length. Very much in the idiom of a Premier Cru. Delicious drinking. 66% of the blend is aged for nine months in new (38%) and seasoned one-year-old (28%) oak.  Drink now – 2028. 12.5% alc 95 points

  • 95p
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Information

Origin

Magill, South Australia

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