Wine Advocate 91 points - Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2009 Bin 169 Cabernet Sauvignon presents an intensely minty nose with undertones of ripe cassis, eucalyptus, cedar and a touch of herbs. Ripe and expressive in the mouth it has bright acid and medium levels of very fine tannins, it finishes concentrated and long. Drink it from 2014 to 2024+. (Feb 2013)
Wine Spectator 91 points - Fresh and focused, with a welcome sense of restraint to the black cherry and spice flavors, finishing with a mild grip of tannins and a hint of dill. Offers depth and ripeness, but wraps it all in an elegant package. Best from 2014 through 2017.—H.S. (Jun 12 2013)
Bin 169 was created to reflect Penfolds contemporary winemaking approach emphasising both regionality and maturation of Cabernet Sauvignon in fine grained French oak. The Penfolds Bin 169 is a style that is immediately Penfolds, whilst simultaneously illustrative of its ongoing search for diversity and style separation. An honest reflection of the region and a testament of Penfolds’ longstanding commitment to the vineyards of Coonawarra.
|Coorong mullet cooked over vines, Tasmanian black truffle and baby herbs
|Australia’s winemaking history of less than two hundred years is brief by European measures though, like Europe, punctuated by periods of extreme success and difficult times. From the earliest winemaking days Penfolds has figured prominently and few would argue the importance of Penfolds’ influence on Australia’s winemaking psyche.
Without the influence of Penfolds the modern Australian wine industry would look very different indeed. Sitting comfortably outside of fad and fashion, Penfolds has taken Australian wine to the world on a grand stage and forged a reputation for quality that is without peer.
Penfolds’ reputation for making wines of provenance and cellaring potential might suggest a mantle of tradition and formality is the preferred attire of a company with so much history to defend. But to label Penfolds as simply an established and conventional winemaker, would be to confuse tradition with consideration and to overlook the innovative spirit that has driven Penfolds since its foundation, and continues to find expression in modern times.
If there is anything traditional about Penfolds, it is the practice of constantly reviewing the wines it already does well, and continuously evolving and refining styles as vineyards mature and access to ever older and more varied vineyard sites improves.