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WTN: Penfolds Bin 90A

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Robert Helms

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WTN: Penfolds Bin 90A

by Robert Helms » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:29 am

Penfolds Bin 90A
Along with Bin 920 and the 1990 Grange, this is one of the three truly great Penfolds reds from 1990. I first had these three wines together at a horizontal tasting of great 1990 Australians organized by La Vigneronne about 8-10 years ago. At that time there was little to pick between the three Penfolds reds, all were big, muscular but with exceptional fruit, spice. All exceptionally well balanced for such big wines with tremendous mouth coverage and exceptional length. There were comfortably superior to every other wine including Hill of Grace and Rockford.

The only thing that has changed is that the wine has matured perfectly. The tannins which were quite aggressive then are now completely smoothed out with just enough left to provide a spine. The fruit is still as compelling as ever. Since this is largely Coonawarra fruit, there is a fairly prominent menthol or eucalyptus aspect to the flavours but not in an off-putting or excessive way. Lovely nose, waves of fruit and tremendous length, what's not to like? Outstanding and Classic

Parker only rates this a 91; it must not have enough alcohol for him. Personally, I rate this at 100 points and comfortably better than a lot of wines he rates at 100.
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Re: WTN: Penfolds Bin 90A

by Jenise » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:34 pm

Robert, I own a bottle or two of this and have so far been unable to convince myself that it's time to take the plunge. You might have just pushed me over the edge.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Penfolds Bin 90A

by Robert Helms » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:51 am

Jenise, it was seriously good. Having said that, there is no reason to rush into anything; this wine is going to hold for quite a while.

Regards,

Robert
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Re: WTN: Penfolds Bin 90A

by Jenise » Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:25 pm

Robert Helms wrote:Jenise, it was seriously good. Having said that, there is no reason to rush into anything; this wine is going to hold for quite a while.

Regards,

Robert


Well, I've got it on quite the pedestal, knowing that they only bottled one A lot of the Grange before, and that was in the 60's. It's hard to decide what occasion is good enough for bottles that rare.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Penfolds Bin 90A

by Jay Jewell » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:57 pm

Jenise wrote:
Robert Helms wrote:Jenise, it was seriously good. Having said that, there is no reason to rush into anything; this wine is going to hold for quite a while.

Regards,

Robert


Well, I've got it on quite the pedestal, knowing that they only bottled one A lot of the Grange before, and that was in the 60's. It's hard to decide what occasion is good enough for bottles that rare.


Your birthday? :wink:

Penfolds bottled the same Coonawarra Cab / Kalimna Shiraz blend as -
- Bin 60A in 1962 (one of the greatest wines ever, anywhere)
- 1967 Bin 7
- 1980 Bin 80A
- 1990 Bin 90A of course and again ...
- Bin 60A in 2004.

For an insider tip, I would buy up on the Penfolds Cellar Reserve Cab-Shiraz 2005 which is the same blend, at a fraction the price in the US.
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Re: WTN: Penfolds Bin 90A

by Jenise » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:22 am

Jay Jewell wrote:Your birthday? :wink:


Of course you jest, but friends who came up to celebrate brought an 87 Grange--would have been the perfect occasion to open that 90A, wouldn't it?

Penfolds bottled the same Coonawarra Cab / Kalimna Shiraz blend as -
- Bin 60A in 1962 (one of the greatest wines ever, anywhere)
- 1967 Bin 7
- 1980 Bin 80A
- 1990 Bin 90A of course and again ...
- Bin 60A in 2004.

For an insider tip, I would buy up on the Penfolds Cellar Reserve Cab-Shiraz 2005 which is the same blend, at a fraction the price in the US.


Huh Jay, that's interesting. Why does the name/designation jump around? I guess I don't understand their bin system.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Penfolds Bin 90A

by Jay Jewell » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:42 pm

The bin system started in the fifties and was never meant to be a marketing tool i.e. it was pretty random. Penfolds made lots of Special Bins from the fifties through to the seventies, as experiments and show wines. Some were spectacular, like the Bin 60A 1962, and Bin 7 1967 so the Coonawarra Cabernet / Kalimna Shiraz blend continued as a "concept" wine from the best vintages. Also the Bin 620 Coonawarra Cab / Coonawarra Shiraz was very successful.

The ones they continued with, Penfolds used the X"0A" and X"20" tag e.g. 820, 920, 80A, 90A in the eighties and nineties.

Recently, they appear to be fixing the name now so I believe Special Bin 60A will be used going forward, and there is a Special Bin 620 for the 2008 vintage which will hit the market in a year or two - I reckon

Finally, just to keep you on your toes, the very top Penfolds Cabernet does not carry a Bin reference and is called "Block 42" as it's from - reputedly - the oldest set of continuously producing cabernet vines in the world, Block 42 or the Golf Course Block. 2004 was rated by Tanzer at 98 from memory which is about as good as it gets, it's a First Growth level wine which unfortunately costs about that! I only wish I had bought more on release ...
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Re: WTN: Penfolds Bin 90A

by Mikko R » Mon May 30, 2011 4:22 am

Jay Jewell wrote:Your birthday? :wink:

Penfolds bottled the same Coonawarra Cab / Kalimna Shiraz blend as -
- Bin 60A in 1962 (one of the greatest wines ever, anywhere)
- 1967 Bin 7
- 1980 Bin 80A
- 1990 Bin 90A of course and again ...
- Bin 60A in 2004.

For an insider tip, I would buy up on the Penfolds Cellar Reserve Cab-Shiraz 2005 which is the same blend, at a fraction the price in the US.


That is such a great tip! I went to Magill Estate's Cellardoor last February and tasted 2005 Cellar Reserve Cabernet and RWT. They were both just excellent wines. Man behind the counter told me that Cabernet was supposed to be in Bin 60A but because it did not qualify 100% to the qualifications of Bin 60A they downgraded it to Cellar Reserve. In my opinion that is very respectable that they downgrade it instead of selling it as "a bit crappy" Bin 60A.

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