798 will get you 5

Impenetrable black-purple, and quite staining. Heady nose, flush with grimy concentration of leather- and chocolate-tinged black cherry. A brushy green pepper inundates all–but stopping far short of eucalyptus–a vegetal vibrancy I find enticing and welcome in a wine of this size and pedigree. Layers and layers of rich berry peel off: exposing all but never calming in complexity or exposing the whole hand. Gorgeous barrel-age is obvious, and the whole bouquet impresses me with both its user-friendliness, its crazy sophistication, and its detail to edginess in pure Syrah characteristics. Still, it smells big and round, but tips of stone and pepper add a chalky earth to the rosy glow–an important side-bar to wines this *big*.

And OMG is it beautiful on the tongue. The afore-mentioned peppery vegetal takes center-stage entry, middle, and finish, granting an almost BDX- or old school Napa Cab-ishness to the complete package. But it’s Syrah. There is no mistaking. Yorkville Highlands in texture, the green grit creates a bitter rash throughout and morphs seamlessly to tannin. The berry is so dry, so abrasive, so parched with velvety satin bristle, you are both wiping every surface with juicy abandon and begging for another splash for contemplation. Stupidly, SINFULLY young–it drinks like a barrel-sample: the green vigor up-ending and balancing the fresh dark berry in a dance guaranteeing a 20-year lifespan in the cellar.

This wine is not cheap, but represents pretty much the pinnacle of Shiraz for this label. Where Kalimna may offer the bargain bang; and St. Henri the old-world polish; THIS wine is the modern take on luxury Syrah. Buy as much as you can afford and forget about it in the basement.

2017 PENFOLD’S Bin 798 ‘RWT’ Shiraz Barossa Australia 14.5

https://www.penfolds.com/en-us/

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