Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz

Penfolds celebrated the fiftieth consecutive release of Bin 389 yesterday by delving deep into its cellars and lining up the benchmark vintages of 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996 and 2006. At the end of the day, I was amazed to look back and discover that my scores averaged higher than those of four decades of Grange that followed later! In this company, 2009 Bin 389 held its own. A tightly wound vintage, with understated fruit density, persistence and firm, textural, mouth filling tannins. Primary black plum, black cherry and blueberry fruit lurk just below the surface, spiced up with pepper and liquorice. Twelve months in American oak hogsheads (21% new) provides a note of dark chocolate, tucking neatly behind the fruit. 51% cabernet sauvignon and 49% shiraz from Padthaway, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Robe. 389 remains the most consistent bargain of Penfolds, even after a $10 price rise. Happy birthday 389!