Dark garnet with wide amber edges. Hell, it’s brown, let’s not mince words. Heavy sediment and perfect cork. Initial pent-up bottle-funk gave a serious “Uh-oh” moment for about 5 minutes and then this thing just starts SINGING. Caramel-apple Scotch-tape mint and eucalyptus lent lightness to the deep brooding cherry syrup and cassis–still with a bit of heat.
This is from my decent vertical of Bin 28–most of which was acquired while I lived in Sacramento. Now, I live in the great PENFOLD’S-FREE ZONE commonly known as the Central Coast of California. Actually, it is pretty much an Australian-free zone but Penfold’s seems to be the hardest hit–at least for this long-time fan and collector. Kalimna Bin 28 is my absolute favorite Penfold’s and there just ISN’T anywhere to buy it around here. A huge gaping marketing hole exists locally between Koonunga and Grange. NOTHING in between. [EDIT 1/2/2021: This has changed. As of this edit, Bin 28 is available locally at SLO Wine & Beer, Madeline’s and Cookie Crock in Cambria, and Target (what???) is SLO] I stopped buying 28 in about 2004 and that’s just about where my vertical ends. But gems like this 20 year-old are so fun to open.
In the mouth, bacon-wrapped porchetta and bright raspberry with stunning acid. Coffee grounds play against the leather and earth of the nose. Fruit thins a bit in finish, revealing wet-wool tannins–miserably polished–but (in typical Bin 28 fashion) FAR from elegant or flabby. Rustic and woodsy, forest fern and dripping conifer, this thing will never achieve the brassy–almost pruney–concentration of St. Henri or the lush velvet of Grange, but it is a winner in my book.
1996 PENFOLD’S Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz South Australia 14.0