Well, THIS one’s been pretty highly anticipated around my house the past several months. Treasury finally kicked down–snuggling these babies in with a bunch of fresh Snoop Dog samples. Black purple-ruby in the glass: purple rim, purple foam, a core black and staining. Juicy and refined in the nose, just enough fruit-forwardness to capture the *yummy* crowd, but with a backbone of Cab fruit writhing with elegance and bombastic restraint. It’s young–‘green’ almost–slight mint and briary herbaceousness flowing nicely off stony petrichor and perfect oak placement. Although ripe and rich, it pulls back from both massive California cabs or Australian crowd-pleasers. It measures out its bouquet in balanced shares, and smells of a very well-made wine with a nod to–not only–a wide swath of palates, but with the guts to shine in snobbier circles and an aching ability to age. Decanted enthusiastically.
In the mouth, more stunning beauty. I mean: this is just flat-out gorgeous wine. It smells like great wine–it tastes like great wine. I hate to sound surprised, but I honestly didn’t expect quite this much *cabbiness* and refined structure. I didn’t expect it to be this *geeky*. Clean and juicy on entry, the ridiculous infanticide shaming you on all sides, it goes almost immediately pithy and dry but the bitter shine of structure can’t even TOUCH the overwhelming glow of tasty cherry fruit. The stemmy briar attempts to rip your face off; the rasp of tannin insults you; the tight minerality grates at your nerves; and everywhere and all-the-while your sores are slathered with thick blackberry, nectarine and pomegranate deliciousness. But it’s not just candied fruit.
This wine means business. This is no slacker, also-ran or supermarket-pleaser in the cab-syrah atmosphere. This wine is REALLY nicely put together, and for the money?–you need to sit up and take notice. I don’t know what the blend is, but guessin 25% Syrah and probably your typical Aussie “14-5”. I keep asking myself if the Syrah shows. It honestly drinks more like a hi-end BDX Meritage than a Cab-Shiraz blend. I could totally see this being Merlot and CF and PV in the smaller percentage and not something we typically look at as a chubby proprietary fluffer. The finish is rich and vibrant, while playing all the chords in a classic postlude. I’m going to give it the highest rating I ever give a wine: Buy two cases and drink one per year.
2018 PENFOLD’S ‘Bin 600’ Cab/SY 78/22 California 14.5