Of all the traditional Penfolds Bin reds, 389 is the one that consistently year after year arrives ready to enjoy straight out of the blocks. It’s a winemaking masterclass in balance and integration of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz from multiple South Australian wine regions. In 2019, five regions provide the basic materials led by Padthaway and McLaren Vale. Usually more prominent, Coonawarra and the Barossa Valley come in last, an indication maybe of the summer heat waves that they endured.
If anything, the 389 a la 2019 is a little forward but it nevertheless comes fully formed resplendent in the scent of violets, sage, spiced black berries, licorice and fresh coffee grounds.
The percentage of new American oak has been pulled back a smidge to reveal a mere dusting of pencil shavings, vanillin overlay. It makes for an attractive background to the vibrancy of fruit. Dried herbs, blue fruits, black berries, earth are all tight and focused on a palate drawn tight by fine tannins.