I don’t have to tell you about this wine. I mean unless you lived under a rock for the last 40 years I don’t have to tell you about this wine: you already know about this wine. I will tell you, again–as I have many times–this is my favorite wine Penfold’s makes. Okay sure 389 and 707 are maybe a bigger lusher flash-in-the-pan and 128 maybe a little lusher and Grange… well we won’t even talk about. And then there’s St. Henri… I have been very disappointed in the last three or four vintages I’ve had and some of the older wines I’ve opened have not progressed the way I had hoped so what does that leave? That leaves Kalimna. Now arguments have gone on forever about which one is Poor Man’s Grange: St. Henri or Bin 28 and I’ve always felt that Bin 28 was poor man’s Grange, just because of the raw fruit and spirit. I realize St. Henri was a small side project of Max’s which probably more readily fits the confines of Poor Man’s Grange, and Kalimna and St. Henri USED to be the same price, but recently the latter has doubled.
This thing is no exception to the classic Bin 28’s… Dark and gorgeous, beautifully colored, cranking gobs and gobs of the richest most decadent floral, wood and crazy geeen-briar minty barnyard fruit, sex and lust and other unspeakable holy’s spraying in all directions. Just absolute heaven to smell and then you taste it. The structure, spice and acid take fore-frame, as the ridiculous black cherry cinnamon white pepper fight for their life. Chalky and dense and stunning in ways the tannin makes you forget almost immediately about, it has the thinness of character I WANT to see in a wine like this–NOT some flabby tourist-plonk lush-life.
A few of these wines I had in the late 2000’s had me worried that there was a style change going on which was producing a more user-friendly wine for the masses at this price point. Delving into this 2014 has me retreating firmly from that opinion–this is straight up beautiful classic Bin 28 and something everything I’ve had through the 80s and 90s can identify with and be proud of. And like all of my Kalimna’s, something you can put in your cellar for 20 years.
2014 PENFOLDS Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28 South Australia 14.5