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A new addition to the Penfolds lineup, the 2016 Bin 111A Shiraz is a blend of Clare (51%) and Barossa (49%) fruit from vineyards that have previously contributed to Grange. Aged in 100% new French oak, it's a rich, luxuriously textured wine that's packed with ripe fruit and finely textured tannins. Hints of grilled meat and exotic dried spices accent red raspberries and redcurrants in this full-bodied but exceptionally silky and elegant red that meets the high expectations for such a pricey bottling.

Score: 100 Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, August 2019


The Story

Made only in extraordinary circumstances, Special Bin wines represent the pinnacle of winemaking endeavour, using only the most exceptional fruit parcels from the very best regional sources. It has been almost a decade since Penfolds last released a Special Bin wine, a testament to the quality, criterion and craftmanship required to craft a wine of this stature. 

Special Bin 111A is a superb example of contemporary Penfolds winemaking philosophy; an impressively concentrated wine with balance and character, feasibly destined to become an Australian classic. Blended from not one but two esteemed South Australian Shiraz vineyards, the wine is an altogether new style and at once ‘special’: aromatically, structurally, texturally, cerebrally.

Following in the footsteps of the fabled 1962 Bin 60A, perhaps Penfolds most renowned Special Bin, the new release has already caught the attention of wine critics globally, lauded a perfect 100-point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. 

“Bin 111A is an authentic Penfolds Special Bin, rare and true to the Penfolds ‘House Style’. Special Bins are pathfinding vintages and are only released if they offer something extra, different and unique. These wines make a very important statement about Penfolds and they also represent a heritage of curiosity, experimentation and Australian wine making innovation first started by Penfolds 175 years ago,” said Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker. 

Named after the wine’s oak maturation stack number, Special Bin 111A is the first Special Bin blend of Clare Valley and Barossa Valley. Grapes were carefully selected from the Botanic Vineyard in Clare Valley and the Gersch Vineyard in Barossa, South Australia. Botanic Vineyard fruit has been included in five of the last six Grange blends.  The Botanic Vineyard lies between Auburn and Leasingham at the southern end of Clare Valley. Grapes were handpicked from Blocks 4B and 8. 

In 2020, the Gersch Vineyard in the Moppa district of the North-Western Barossa Valley will commemorate an uninterrupted centenary of supplying grapes to Penfolds.  Gersch Vineyard fruit has been included in four of the last ten Grange blends. Fruit from Blocks 2 and 7 were selected for this wine.  Independent grape growers have been supplying Penfolds for over one and a half centuries.  While Penfolds owns substantial vineyard properties across South Australia its relationship with growers, sometimes extending to several generations, is of key importance. 


Wine Information

The 2016 vintage provided an ideal opportunity to create a bonafide Penfolds Special Bin, rare and true to the Penfolds ‘House Style’. Two special Shiraz single-vineyard parcels were blended to create something beguilingly beautiful and different. The impact of the much- touted 2016 South Australian vintage on two vineyards from time-proven Grange growers has produced a Penfolds Shiraz of superb structure, balance and varietal definition. Both single-vineyard parcels reveal their own regional truths, highlighting the spoils of Clare Valley and Barossa Valley. This wine sensorial and structurally delivers more than the sum of its parts. Framed by French oak, the assemblage of Shiraz is altogether different. Indeed, an authentic Penfolds Special Bin that will reward and evolve with careful cellaring.


Tasting note

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Written Notes

Bin 111A 2016 - The Special Bin wines are some of the finest, and most
heavily in demand, wines ever made in Australia, none more so than the
legendary Bin 60A 1962, a blend of Coonawarra Cabernet and Shiraz from the
Kalimna Vineyard in the Barossa. Never released commercially, and apparently
only serval hundred bottles made, it still drinks beautifully. At the recent
175th dinner celebrations, held in the drives at Magill Estate, Penfold's
winemaker, John Bird, who has been with Penfold's for around 60 years, told
me that the wall to our backs was the one against which the cases of Bin 60A
were stored for decades. It was a bit of a goosebump moment.

The last chance I had to see the wine was at the Helsinki "Fine Wine Time
Machine" blind tasting a few years ago. Up against some of the finest wines
ever to grace a table - '49 and '52 Petrus, Mouton from 1900 and 1929,
Cheval Blanc from '49, '50, '52 and '75, Margaux from '47 and '59, a slew of
Richebourgs and Musignys from the '20s, '40s and '50s, endless great
champagnes, the '49 Yquem and so much more, when the dust cleared and the
scores tallied, Bin 60A emerged triumphant, to the considerable surprise
(and possible disgust?) of several European and American judges. These days,
bottles tend to be cork-dependent.

Special Bins are only released when Penfold's believes it has something
truly stellar. They are very small production and naturally priced as one
would imagine. Bin 111A has been released at A$1,500.

The wine is a blend of two single vineyard parcels of Shiraz, one from the
Clare Valley and one from the Barossa (a 51/49 split), the first time such a
blend has made this grade. The wine spent a year in new French hogsheads.

My first take on this wine was one of surprise. The wine is tending to the
monster category, not quite what I had anticipated. But that said, it is
finely balanced, all in place and showing to advantage. A second chance to
look at the wine, even more recently, confirmed the initial impression.
Black olives and cloves, aniseed, black fruits, spices, dark chocolate,
saturated blackberry flavours. A hint of iodine/seaweed.

For me, at this early stage, the contribution of the Clare seems dominant.
Real power here. Excellent length and serious grip, this is a wine demanding
a very long spell in the cellar. I'd be putting it away for at least a
decade. Naturally, there will be comparisons made with the latest Grange.
Two very different and wonderful wines, but I'll confess to a slight
preference to the Grange. 97.

  • 97p

A deep, alluring perfume of dark berries, cassis and dark plums knit with smoky, tight-gained French oak slowly unfolds meaty, chocolatey and ferrous undertones backed by suggestions of mint and iodide. Underpinned by a textural, gravelly spine, its layered, densely packed palate of black, red and blue fruits extends with energy, harmony and style towards a measured, lingering finish. There’s an underlying hint of dark chocolate and roasting tray. It will age slowly, developing remarkable grace and elegance.      
19.5/20, 98/100, drink 2046-2056+

  • 98p

100% Shiraz. TA 7.4 g/l, pH 3.67. 18 months in 100% new French oak hogsheads. From two vineyards: one a grower (Gersch in Barossa – next year will be their 100th consecutive delivery of grapes to Penfolds) and another that they have just bought which is a frequent ingredient in Grange (Botanic Vineyard in Clare, from a 70-year-old owner who was ready to sell). 18 months in 100% new French oak hogsheads. This is the debut vintage – ‘No compromising the other Penfolds’ wines.’
Dark purple and really rather modern. Not quite Grange, not quite anything else. Lots of tannins. Great patience needed for this wine but it does benefit from the Clare gloss and relative freshness.

14.5%Drink2028 –2045
£850 RRP

  • 94p

Deep ruby. Dark fruity, blueberries and nuances, floral, layered, detailed, highly scented, almost leaps out of the glass, from floral through all sorts of dark fruits down to minerals and spices. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruity, detailed, layered, nuanced, bright and just keeps on giving. Incredible depth and layers yet not too powerful. Just doesn’t stop giving. 100

  • 100p
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Magill, South Australia

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Inside Information

Taste by Peter Gago: 

Via reference: 54% Clare Valley, 46% Barossa Valley. Via glass: 100% Penfolds.
Clare aromatics immediately evident ...iodine, caper berries and grated dark chocolate.

In parallel ... a concession of powerful, generous Barossa bread and butter pudding and blueberry fruits.
‘Cross-over’ Moroccan spices – cumin, fresh cardamom, turmeric – may have entwined to reinterpret source, but not variety.

Oak? Conceded. Just

Velvety. Completely engulfs. Tempers palate ... doesn’t attack or intimidate with alcohol or extract.
A mix of bitter chocolate dust, wet bitumen and a maelstrom of dark fruits reflect the wine’s age and confirm derivation.

And just what is that underlying almost molasses, not quite maplesyrup richness? Best guess – a sweet soy, kecap manis shiraz flavour.Oak? Crafted and assembled so deftly, somehow perceptually dovetailed into tannins and infused into acidity. No gaps, no rough edges. Harmonious.

Lingers, retreating on its own terms

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