Wine review — Penfolds, Punt Road and West End

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $33–$50
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2006 $40–$60

The bargain-basement pricing’s gone, but these are world-class wines with proven long-term cellaring ability. Bin 407 – sourced from Robe and nearby Coonawarra on the Limestone Coast, Langhorne Creek and the Barossa Valley – is as ripe, graceful and pure an expression of cabernet as you’re likely to find. It’s lovely to drink and sure to evolve well. Bin 389 from the Barossa, Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra and McLaren Vale regions is fuller and more powerful with a chewier, more assertive tannic grip than the Bin 407. It’s harmonious, despite the power, but needs a few years in the cellar.

Punt Road ‘Airlie Bank’ range $15–$20
The drink-now range of the Napoleone family’s Punt Road winery includes Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Chardonnay 2007, Pinot Noir 2007, Shiraz Viognier 2007 and Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2006 – all from the Yarra Valley. There’s an appealing fine-ness and elegance across the range from the brisk, citrusy sauvignon to the rich, fresh, refined chardonnay to the zippy, fruity pinot to the fragrant, peppery, supple shiraz viognier to the dusty, fine-grained cabernet merlot. These are really delightful regional varietals – terrific stuff from winemaker Kate Goodman. See for more info.

West End Canberra District Riesling 2008 $13.50–$15
West End Richland Cabernet Merlot 2008 $10.80–$12
West End 3 Bridges Durif 2007 $20–$23

Bill Calabria’s West End Estate at Griffith, NSW, produces a wide range of wine styles including some of the Shaw Vineyard Estate Wines from Canberra. I’m assuming that’s the source of West End’s own keenly priced Canberra Riesling, a pleasing, floral, fruity and delicate style for current drinking. Richland Cabernet Merlot is full of primary, grapey flavours a touch of warming alcohol and a background, mildly astringent bite of tannin. The hugely fruity Durif (a cross of shiraz and peloursin) is layered with soft tannins and has an aftertaste reminiscent of Pascal blackcurrant jubes – something to love or hate.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009