Wine review: Penfolds Bin 128 2008 Shiraz Coonawarra

Most consumers have heard of Penfold’s, and unfortunately have mostly tasted their somewhat generic, everyday Cabernet and Shiraz blends. But their Bin Series bottlings, made from a more exclusive, higher tier of fruit, are simply breathtaking (and worth the extra $8 or so). Established in 1962, Penfold’s Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz series is made from grapes grown on Penfold’s-owned land and produces a consistently tasty wine vintage after vintage. Watch the winemakers’ video on the 2009 release.

This wine is loaded with complexity and layers of flavors: Ripe plum, black cherry, licorice, black pepper, espresso, concentrated tar, black currants, dusty soft couch leather and wet herbs. Basically, something for everybody but in a koom bahyah sort of way. (Expressive fruit? Check. Manly tannins? Check. Food-friendly acidity? Check.) Impressive in its balance of acidity, alcohol and tannins, with none of these components overwhelming the senses. Simply a beautiful red wine worth seeking out.

Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Price: $18 – $26
Where tasted: Blind tasted at a wine party
Availability: Independent wine shops and online
Food pairing: Grilled red meats, pot roast, roasted lamb, chili con carne

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