Penfolds Bin 170 Kalimna Vineyard Block 3C Barossa Valley Shiraz
Penfolds’ first experimental Bin 170 was born in 1973 from Block 3C of its 19th century Kalimna Vineyard, almost blended with Bin 169 Cabernet, were it not for a last minute directive to keep it separate. In 2010, the same 3C component that would normally contribute to Grange was identified as something very special aromatically during fermentation, and released under the same Bin number to commemorate Penfold’s 170th in 2014. Early identification permitted fermentation in 100% new French oak rather than the American oak Grange program. I first encountered this wine in the Rewards of Patience tastings eighteen months ago, where I rated it among the top half dozen Penfolds Special Bins of the past five decades. It’s an impossibly impenetrable, deep black, with a fluorescent purple rim. The bouquet is potently concentrated and breathtakingly focused, with lifted violets, textbook precise blackberries and plums, becoming black olives, liquorice and coal dust with time in bottle. The palate is a sheer epiphany of epically built power and integrity, with purity of unremitting precision, astonishingly generous and open fruit, yet at every moment coiled and tightly sprung, with beautifully fine, intoxicatingly pronounced tannins. Dark chocolate and coffee oak is already supremely integrated. The ultimate expression of that mesmerising character of 2010 to marry approachable integration with enduring longevity. Is it worth $1,800? It would be, were it First Growth Bordeaux or Grand Cru Burgundy. Bin 170 is every bit in the same league. Cork sealed, sadly. Available 1 May 2014.
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