Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vintage 2003)

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Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vintage 2003)

Postby Ian Sutton » Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:16 pm

A trial run, but everyone is welcomed and encouraged to join in!

Palate Callibration is a more precise version of the Open Mike concept. We aim to get the same wine in the same vintage and drink it at roughly the same time. In doing so we can compare how we view a wine and indeed our use of descriptive words (something that isn't always intuitive, or in fact easy). I understand our illustrious leader (that's Robin :wink: ) was the instigator of this practice back in the days where he used to run around in short trousers (aka short pants).

For this trial run, we aimed for a wine that has a wide distribution and is typical of both it's producer and of it's region. It's a wine with a track record for cellaring, so to a degree we're committing vinfanticide, but hopefully it will show well in it's youth (as it often does).

The wine is Penfolds Bin 28 from the 2003 vintage, which should be the current vintage in most locations. If you can't see the 2003 vintage, but want to join in, we have at least one person who's only got access to a 2002, so if you have a 2002 vintage (but no 2003) then crack that instead.

The wine is subtitled Kalimna, which is one of Penfolds best vineyard resources. When the wine was first released in 1962, it was sourced solely from this vineyard. Over time, other fruit was included and these days it's not certain whether any Kalimna vineyard fruit goes into the wine. Some may think this odd (a bit like a Barolo La Morra containing no fruit from La Morra), however there's no law against it in Australia and this is far from the only example. For those that want to taste a wine made from the Kalimna vineyard grapes, either source an older bottle, or look out for the very expensive special bin bottlings from Penfolds.

For me Bin 28 is a great cellarbuilder (i.e. it's not massively expensive, but will mature well in the cellar).

So there it is. I'm, planning to crack open my bottle either friday or saturday, but also to leave enough for a retaste on sunday, where if there's interest we can close the discussion during the sunday chat. Open yours whenever you like over the weekend and post a tasting note, an opinion and any other discussion related to this wine under this thread

I've also included further information below (sourced from Penfolds Web site) as well as a link to even more info on their site.

Hope you have fun with this!

Ian

Penfolds Bin 28 (all from Penfolds web site)

Penfolds Bin 28 is a showcase for warm-climate Australian Shiraz - ripe, robust and generously flavoured without reliance on new oak or excessive alcohol. First made in 1962, Bin 28 is named after the famous Barossa Valley Kalimna vineyard purchased by
Penfolds in 1945 and from which the wine was originally sourced.

Today, Bin 28 is a multi-region, multi-vineyard blend that shows very clear, ripe fruit definition when young, with plenty of concentration and fruit sweetness, and minimal oak influence.

2003 Vintage of this wine
Vineyard region: Mclaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Barossa Valley.

Vintage Conditions: The 2003 growing season in South Australia was generally regarded as warm, starting with a dry winter and a warm, clear spring. This was followed by some episodes of heat through the summer, whilst cooler weather towards the end of the season relieved the vines in the run up to harvest.

Grape Variety: Shiraz (Syrah)

Maturation: This wine was matured for 12 months in older american oak hogsheads.

Wine analysis
alc/Vol: 14.50%
acidity: 6.70g/l
ph: 3.54
peak drinking 2007 – 2013

Food Matches: ideally suited to Beef, Duck & game, lamb

Further History (including older vintages info)
http://www.penfolds.com.au/library/rewa ... shiraz.pdf
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Palate Callibration - up and running

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:25 pm

Well I'll take the plunge first.

I can only hope you have better bottles than mine...

Cork closure, tasted in Riedel vinum Syrah glass with no decanting.

Eye: Dense somewhat dull purple, showing no age at the rim.

Nose: Somewhat pungent on opening, this blew off leaving the nose majoring on typical blackberries and plums together with white pepper. There was just a touch of 'cheap' confection about the fruit on the nose. There is relatively subtle but still prominent oak influence.

Palate: Quite different to previous bin28's I've had. Although there's good breadth to the palate, it's initially sweet fruit moves swiftly towards more savoury/peppery and falls away on the finish too quickly. Tannins are firm enough but far from oppressive and the fruit at this stage is more than a match for it. Acidity is ok at this stage in it's life, but might be a bit on the light side for anything but short-term ageing (3-5 years). There's a slightly bitter, almost salty edge to the wine, taking the savouriness towards sourness/bitterness and this doesn't do much for me in this wine.

Overall impression: For me, quite a big disappointment. I've found this a good-value label in previous years, but this (hot vintage) wine just isn't impressing me. The finish is short and it feels quite disjointed. As Michelle said, enjoyable as a £6-8 table wine, but poor at it's standard £10-11 price or measured against previous bottles.

Half bottle despatched back to the wine grotto to be revisited on sunday.

I suspect the 2002 will show much better (cooler year) so will be very keen to see what others nake of this wine and the previous vintage.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Otto » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:11 pm

Scene 1: The Nieminen palace. OtC makes a smashing dinner (though he say it himself) and opens up a 2002:

Guest 1 (takes a sniff from the glass): Ooooh, aaaah!

Guest 2 (takes a sniff from the glass): Aaaah, ooooh!

Guest 3 (takes a sniff from the glass): Wheeeee!

Otto the Curmudgeon (takes a sniff from the glass): Erm?


Narrator: Ergo, the 2002 was a pretty decent drop if you happen to like the style: It showed a spicy Shiraz character, very sweet but not jammy. The palate was big, spicy and balanced despite the high (14,5%) alcohol. Though very thick, it is transparent. I'm sure most would find this great stuff for the price. OtC must be some sort of bloody fool.

Scene 2: Like scene 1, but with a 2003

Guest 1 (takes a sniff from the glass): Ooooh, aaaah!

Guest 2 (takes a sniff from the glass): Aaaah, ooooh!

Guest 3 (takes a sniff from the glass): Wheeeee!

Otto the Curmudgeon (takes a sniff from the glass): Erm?

Narrator: It is spicy, typical Shiraz, but less balanced than the 2002 and sickly sweet to boot. It lacks the brighter, savoury, red-toned notes of the 2002 and is darker, more monolithic, more inelegant. The palate does have quite a bit of acidity, but even the acidity seems spoofy making OtC think it is added - the acidity doesn't make the wine fresh at all. OtC is more forgiving than Ian in that there is true depth to the nose. It isn't all bad; just a style that the cook doesn't like. Guests adored this stuff and finally saw why doubling the price of the average wine bottle is (on occasion) worth it! The alcohol is a bit too prominent, but it isn't totally out of whack.

-OtC-(one reason I hate 14,5% wines is that half a bottle, and I'm pissed!)
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:56 pm

Otto
Interesting. I certainly did slate it (and that from someone that likes the wine normally). In general the nose was ok for me and the confection was more of a hint than anything worse. Still a little disappointing though.

Interesting to see some similarities on the palate (imbalance and the lack of 'freshness' from the acidity). It seems however that I got something much worse than you in terms of a bitter/sour edge (which might be attributable to added acidity, but I can't split the components out that easily). It almost felt like there might have been two layers of acidity, the initial (but too gentle) pleasant stuff and the subsequent more sour acidity with that latter sensation difficult to attribute with certainty to acidity. I can't be certain, but I'm contemplating whether the natural acidity and added acidity could be so clearly de-lineated. This would surprise me, especially from a clued-up producer like Penfolds.

Just revisited it and it's still got that disturbing finish.

Interestingly both Michelle and I felt no great desire to drink any more than a glass.

Now here's an interesting thought. We opened this about 10 mins after we'd had a light meal (pastrami and Brie de Meaux sandwich - very tasty in case you were wondering). Both of us stopped drinking because we felt it was likely to give us a headache. Maybe this wine would have gone better with food?

I'm not surprised the 2002 was better (even though leading aussie critic Jeremy Oliver has them the other way round - what were we saying about ignoring critics :lol: )

At least your guests found something they liked which is a good bonus!

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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:41 pm

Oh dear oh dear Ian!! Guess you should have thought of the `02 which on opening might deliver the goods here!! Otto had the right idea, side-by-side. Anyhows will let breathe, have to go.

BTW what are people paying for this?? $33 Cdn here.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:54 pm

Bob
Just over £10, but it's not unusual to find it as low as £8 in the regular special offers. I might just crack one of the 98's if it's still dire on sunday.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Nov 18, 2006 3:32 am

I took this wine into the Grill this evening and shared with some knowledgeable servers!! Comments brief as a very busy night for everyone and not all comments are mine!!! A sort of unofficial panel so to speak.

WTN: `02 Penfolds Shiraz Bin 28 Kalimna, S. Australia.

Opened an hour, not decanted, no travel shock!! The color was a purple/red with inky centre, not quite opaque but close. On the nose, jammy dark fruits, chocolate, cedar and spicy. All remarked how much they were impressed...so far!!
Various remarks about the palate (no food), ranging from bit youthful, needs time to nice blackberry and some blackcurrant. The tannins were noted and I found some plum as it breathed. It sure needs some time to mature fully but I liked the puckery finish and the dryness. In a way, it was smooth and medium bodied but would like to retaste under less hectic circs.

Cost was $33 Cdn, ouch.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Ian Sutton » Sat Nov 18, 2006 8:07 am

Nice one Bob
This sounds more in line with previous expectations for the label. As for the price, I think you still got the bargain out of the two of us :lol:

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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Randy Buckner » Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:30 pm

Here's my note from June:

2003 Penfolds, Shiraz, Kalimna Bin 28, South Australia, $22. Aromas of black cherries, milk chocolate, violets and oak radiate from this deep ruby Shiraz. Medium to full in the mouth, the wine is crisp, rounded, with plum and berry fruit; 85/85.

Not bad; not exciting.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Ian Sutton » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:14 pm

Thanks Randy
Despite the older oak used on this wine (is it Bin389 cast-offs?) it seems there's still a noticeable (if not intrusive) oak influence, though that was the least of my problems! Seems like you didn't encounter any issues with the acidity which is good.

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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:45 pm

Well, I have struck out, alas. I went to another wine shop today, one I don't usually visit, and counted 15 Penfolds' bottlings, but there was no Bin 28. I almost succumbed to a Bin *128*, also a Shiraz and in the same general price range, but it's from Coonawarra and thus likely to be significantly different (and also was an '02), and I felt this would do violence to what should be strict limits on Palate Calibration substitutions.

Let's do this again, though, and I hope I can play the next time.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Ian Sutton » Sat Nov 18, 2006 3:09 pm

Robin
It sounds like you've tried harder than any of us, so that's a real shame, but your effort is appreciated.

Maybe we could take the lead for the next wine from a North American perspective and go for a wine that should be easily accessible to the majority of the forumites, learning from this PCE to make that one as accessible as possible.

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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vi

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:34 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:take the lead for the next wine from a North American perspective and go for a wine that should be easily accessible to the majority of the forumites, learning from this PCE to make that one as accessible as possible.


Ian, the odd thing, though, is that Southcorp is truly worldwide, and with well over a dozen Penfolds bottlings on the shelves locally, it seems that Bin 28 was just a bad-luck item for me, this week, in this particular community.

Most US wines, sadly, will be hard to find overseas unless we choose mass-market lables.

But maybe something French? Decent but lower-end bottlings from Jadot, Drouhin, the Perrin family or Trimbach ought to be very widely available. I'm sure we could come up with at least a few Italian producers in the same easy-to-get but respectable niche - Chiantis from Gabbiano or Cecchi or others?
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Re: Palate Callibration - up and running

Postby Ian Sutton » Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:36 pm

Revisited tonight, two days after opening (having decanted to and stoppered a handy half-bottle).

Relatively subtle nose of sweet blackberries and pepper. Still good strength to the fruit, perhaps it's even showing stronger tonight, albeit with a slightly syrupy taste. In doing so, this helps reduce the disjointedness noticed on the 1st night, though it's still there. The same finish is noted (someone suggested a better descriptor - Soy Sauce, which I think is much more appropriate) and perhaps there's a hint of caramel now. I think the extra air time has helped this wine a little, but it's still not a good example of the label. Tonight it's palateable, albeit clumsy.

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Re: Palate Callibration - up and running

Postby Otto » Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:41 pm

Ian, did you not find that it became flabby with so much air? I saved a bit of the 02 and 03 for the next night but both had become very flabby. I tend to find the utter loss of structure all too common in cheap and mid-range Aussie wines when left overnight.
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Re: Palate Callibration - up and running

Postby Jenise » Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:41 pm

Ian, I tried a third store today myself. No luck. Well-meaning salespeople tried to sell me Koonunga instead, and I even saw a 407, something I haven't seen in years (only $18, price hasn't gone up). But 28? I would have sworn it around if not downright ubiquitous, but no, that's not proven to be the case.
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Re: Palate Callibration - up and running

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:20 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:Ian, did you not find that it became flabby with so much air? I saved a bit of the 02 and 03 for the next night but both had become very flabby. I tend to find the utter loss of structure all too common in cheap and mid-range Aussie wines when left overnight.


Have to agree here as I was not impressed with what was left in the bottle overnight. Vacu-vin seal usually works, it sure did with the Crasto which is singing now after 3 days!!
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vintage 2003)

Postby Jenise » Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:16 pm

Hey guys, guess what. Ran into a bottle of the 02 today, so I purchased it and decanted it about two hours ago.

The only other Bin 28 I've had was a zillion years ago, the 92, which was a big, extracted, blue-black style compared to the red-black of the Bin 386 which I tasted at the same time. Though I didn't mind it at the time (I was in that newby phase where bigger was better and blue fruit fascinated), that would repel me now. So I am quite happy to find this wine less of all that, and happily so. The nose speaks to the grape, and though the mid-palate fruit has a bit of a caramel nose there is some herb and roast beef on the tongue, and the wine finishes dry (though with a mild alcohol burn). It's a very well-made wine; not quite my usual thing but I don't mind this one bit.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vintage 2003)

Postby Jenise » Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:13 pm

And a report from two hours after the last one, four hours decanted total: It's changed. The wine obviously wasn't open yet before, there's a lot more fruit now and it dominates. Sweet oak more prominent, black fruit and some vanilla. I liked the savoury aspects of the closed version better. Bob (who is tasting blind) loves this, though. I asked him to guess what a wine like this would cost: $20. Spot on, and that sums it up well: it's very good for it's style, it doesn't taste like a cheap wine, but neither does it taste like any more than a moderately good wine.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vintage 2003)

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:07 pm

Pretty well echoes my notes. $33 across the border!!!

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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vintage 2003)

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:09 pm

Sorry I couldn't reply earlier - 2 days working in York plays havoc :(

In response to Otto, I wouldn't say flabby, though it's possible that flabby would have been an improvement :lol:

Jenise: A great guess from Bob. In the past I reckon this label would have fooled a few people into thinking it was more expensive (than it is). I'm not sure we'll see that too often now.

Thanks for all who took part (and indeed those that tried hard to take part, but couldn't source it).

Any comments on PCE off the back of this?

For instance:
- We had two different vintages - was this a positive or a negative? For me it was a positive as it demonstrated the difference between vintages. That we had an even spread made it feel like a matched pair of PCE's. IMO I reckon offering a pair of alternative vintages would be a useful idea for future PCE's.

- Wine availability. I think this shocked a few of us. We'd assumed it was ubiquitous, but it clearly wasn't. Perhaps wine merchants had actually tasted the 2003 and decided not to stock it? :wink: I think we might need a longer run at future PCE's to allow people to validate whether it was available near them. I reckon a bit more prep on suitable wines (perhaps even using a poll) would help.

- Timing. For me this worked quite well over the weekend. Trying to tie it to a single night seems too difficult.

- Advance notice. Personally I reckon giving people a month to plan might improve chances of people finding a bottle.

- Tie-ins. I wonder whether tying a PCE into one of the monthly themes might be useful. E.g. When tasting Rhone, choose a widely available benchmark wine (e.g Guigal) for a PCE.

Opinions welcomed!

regards

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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vintage 2003)

Postby Jenise » Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:06 pm

Yes, it was a good guess from Bob. I was surprised he didn't go $30--that's certainly the average cost of most bottles we drink, and it was flawless at being what it was supposed to be. Certainly if it were Californian it would have been over $30, and I liked it better than I would like most California syrahs--especially before it fully opened up.

Regarding getting Pal Cals to get more participation: when you think about it, this wasn't too bad. I haven't read back through the thread to count if there's more than I remember, but offhand though we had only four real-time participants, and six including Bucko who had tasted it a few months ago and didn't need to go buy a bottle and Robin who looked real hard and couldn't find one, we had--and this is impressive--four countries!

How to improve on that is dicey--we've worked on the Pal Cal concept one way or the other for years and haven't found the key. For one, a certain number of people just can't be talked into it. There are two curves at cross purposes here: you can't have participation unless the wine is widely available, but the more widely available the wine, the less interesting it is to the type of person who hangs out on this wine board. More time might not solve the inherent problem of naming a wine anyone can find that everyone would WANT to find. That is one of the cool things about the Open Mike concept--it's a completely un-institutionalized PCE, all it takes is two to succeed. More is good, but two is no less successful than four or six, where Pal Cal on a broad level has always seemed somewhat doomed to fail because to a large extent it seems the attributes of availability are not the attributes of appeal.

When looked at from that point of view, your effort was fairly successful. So, thank you.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vintage 2003)

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:25 pm

Jenise
Wise words.
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Re: Palate Callibration - this weekend - Penfolds Bin 28 (vintage 2003)

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:54 pm

Yeah. all good points. I was surprised more did not take part but look at the Open Mike idea for this. Some great participation on this thread in the past, Malbec especially. Myself, I go out and seek a certain wine but guess many do not have that chance for quite a few reasons.
I say do an Antinori or Guigal and see what happens, have to go.
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