Penfolds Bin 169 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting Chateau Latour 2000 in Bordeaux at the end of 2001 was one of the defining moments of my cabernet experience, and my first taste of 2010 Bin 169 last year brought flashbacks to that moment like no other tasting since. The colour is phenomenal, pitch black, with a vibrant purple rim. The bouquet is the epitome of cabernet definition, with cassis, blackcurrant, mint and lifted violets of profound purity, yet concentration I have only seen in the great vintages of Bordeaux. The palate is wound up tight, yet still displays crunchy fruit character, cabernet florals, personality and power at unfathomable levels, within a style that retains airspace and elegant refinement. The ability of this wine to encapsulate sheer concentration yet utterly poised and pristine structure is a paradox of the highest order. Its purity is unreserved and its fine, firm yet already beautifully integrated tannin profile declare this among the greatest cabernets to emerge from Penfolds yet. Like the truly great wines of the world, it shows balance and approachability now and yet will live effortlessly for half a century. Perhaps most remarkable of all is that the master blenders of Penfolds have achieved this feat from a single Coonawarra vineyard, simply named Block 10.