Penfolds Collection: 2020 Release

Penfolds Collection: 2020 Release

Barry Weinman: 31st  July 2020

Penfolds is a brand that needs no introductions. From the humble Koonunga Hill through to Grange, generations of Australians have built their cellars around these iconic wines.

The wines are reliable year in and year-out, but in the good years, they take on a special quality.

So the launch of a new vintage is something to get excited about, especially when the vintages concerned (2016 – 2018) were all very good years in South Australia.

To celebrate the 2020 release, I tasted a few of the wines, and was left profoundly impressed. The Bin 28 and Bin 389 are excellent, whilst the St Henri is a truly outstanding wine.

The surprise of the tasting was the 2019 Bin 311 Chardonnay – a beautiful expression of cool climate Chardonnay.  The Bin 19A Chardonnay was even better, similar to the profound 2017.

I have a growing respect for McLaren Vale Cabernet, and I was interested to note this featuring in Bin 707, Bin 389 and Bin 407.

Prices for the Bin wines continue to creep up, but, in the context of Australian wine, remain fairly priced.

What about Grange? For the elite few who can afford to buy (and drink) this wine, Peter Gago is comparing it to the great 1986 and 1996. An iconic wine with a price and pedigree to match.


Penfolds – Chardonnay – Bin 311 – 2019 (18.5/20pts – $50).  Perfectly ripe stone fruit aromas are supported by gentle pineapple, lemon pith and grapefruit notes. The palate has laser-like precision, with elegant fruit the star. Oak and lees work add depth and texture without impeding the flavour profile. Develops minerality and complex lees/barrel ferment aromas and curry leaf with air. Quite beautiful.

Penfolds – Shiraz – Bin 28 – 2018 (18.6/20pts – $50).  Intense, powerful and very long, with a degree of suppleness that is irresistible. The plum/berry fruit is vibrant and supple, with fine tannins masking its full effect just now. Savoury, with refreshing acidity, this is quite delicious, but is capable of aging for at least 20 years. The most complete wine in the line-up right now.

Penfolds – Cabernet/Shiraz – Bin 389 – 2018 (18.7/20pts – $100). Vibrant colour and a nose that is supple, succulent and refined, showing perfumed blueberry fruit, with gentle mint highlights. The concentration of fruit is a highlight, as are the very fine savoury notes courtesy of the oak and fine tannins on a long, silky finish that is refined and polished. Needs years yet drinking well now.

Penfolds – Shiraz – St Henri – 2017 (18.8/20pts – $135). Quite closed, with intense fruit and savoury menthol and dried herb notes. With air, the precise fruit gets better and better. The palate is outstanding. The fruit stunningly concentrated, yet remarkably elegant and refined. The velvety tannins build ultimately shutting down the fruit on the close. Balanced, long and extremely age-worthy, this is a great wine!