Australian Allure

Highlights from Penfolds Collection 2023

Australian Allure

The Penfolds Collection 2023 was launched internationally last July but has only just been made available to wine lovers in Ontario. This province is often one of the last markets to release the range, which includes Grange, Bin 707 and Yattarna. The LCBO is offering a large part of the Australian portfolio with new releases from Penfolds winemaking operation in California. Not surprisingly the allocation of Grange 2019 and Yattarna 2021 was snapped up within minutes, but there are many other desirable labels to consider. Here are my five recommendations based on tastings in New York City in October 2023. 

Penfolds Bin 28 Shiraz 2021
South Australia $48 (422782)

First made in 1959, Bin 28 originally produced from Kalimna vineyard in the Barossa. Multiregion blend of Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, Clare Valley. 12 Months, American Oak Hogsheads (7% New)

Expressive rich and rewarding style, a stunning example of Bin 28’s sweet and savoury character. Beautifully balanced and long, this is a wine that’s ready to drink with tremendous potential to develop over the long time. Drink now-2050. (94/100)

Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay 2022
South Australia $48 (12014)

A multiregion blend since 2017, Bin 311 has really come into its own. Chardonnay from Tasmania, Tumbarumba, Adelaide Hills. Eight months in French oak barriques (34% new) 

Expressive and inviting style; refreshment has won out over richness as Bin 311 evolves. Appealing cereal and citrus aromas, with attractive texture and flinty character. Serious and delicious style. Drink now-2029. (94/100)

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2021
South Australia $98 (309625)

First produced in 1960 by Max Shubert, dubbed “Baby Grange” based on Shubert’s involvement and the fact that components of the blend are aged in same barrels that were used in the previous vintage of Grange. 

The exceptional 2021 vintage, which is available in the conventional 750 ml bottle formats (approximately $100 in markets across the country) as well as a  limited 1.5 ml magnum Year of the Dragon release, includes grapes grown in McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and Barossa. Bin 389 is a wine praised for its rich and generous character as well as offering the best quality versus price ratio in the Penfolds portfolio. The 2021 vintage is a great year for the style, with impressive structure and complexity that suggest cellaring to enjoy during Year of the Dragon celebrations in 2036. Drink 2026 to 2048. (95/100)

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2021
South Australia $108 (12015)

Multregion blend of cabernet from Coonawarra, Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills. 

First vintage was 1990, Bin 407 aims to be textbook cabernet sauvignon. 12 months in French (25% new) and American (12% new) oak hogsheads, with the balance in one year old French and American oak hogsheads

Love seeing the complexity (mix of spicy, minty and fruity notes on the nose) in this youthful cabernet. The balance and integration show Penfolds precision. One could drink now, but the investment gets repaid if you’re willing to wait (at least 10 to 15 years to my taste.) Drink 2026-2050. (95/100)

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2020
South Australia $153 (12016)

A tribute to a style created in 1890, first commercial release 1957. 100% Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley. 12 months in large oak vats.

Spicy, savoury and supple, St. Henri is always the value for money prospect in the Penfolds portfolio. (It’s certainly a sentimental favourite for me.) More refined; not as showy as the other South Australian shirazes, but undeniably delicious at every stage of evolution. Drink now-2045. (97/100)

Orders will be accepted through April 18, while supplies last. Click here for more information.


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About the Author

Christopher Waters

Christopher Waters

Christopher Waters has been writing about wine for two decades. He is the wine and spirits columnist at The Globe and Mail, education director of IWEG Drinks Academy and a WSET certified instructor at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, Brock University.
For 21 years, he was the editor/co-founder of Canada's largest circulation wine publication, VINES, and author of the nationally syndicated column, Waters & Wine.
An internationally recognized wine judge, Christopher represents Canada for the Six Nations Wine Challenge and served as head judge and organizer of the InterVin International Wine Awards from 2009-2019. He was awarded the Business Citizen of the Year at the 2011 Niagara Grape and Wine Festival and was received the VQA Promoters Award for Education, also in 2011.
Christopher has been organizing and conducting unforgettable corporate and private fine wine events for 20+ years. He has developed and conducted masterclasses and seminars and moderated panels for organizations, such as The Wine Marketing Association of Ontario, Wines of British Columbia, Wines of Chile, Wines of Germany and Wines of South Africa.