Penfolds first stand-alone Barossa sub-regional wine: Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2008

Last November I tasted  a couple of new kids on the block from Penfolds, as well as some glorious old vintages of iconic wines Penfolds St Henri Shiraz (the 78, 86, 91 & 2006) and Grange (1978 and 1990). 

I’ve felt a little ambivalent about writing up my tasting notes because my nose and palate were in less than good form thanks to a very prolonged period of painting and decoration work at home.  However, I’ve noticed that one of the newbies, Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz, has recently featured significantly in key word searches on my site.  Since it’s Penfolds’ first stand-alone Barossa sub-region wine there’s good reason to be curious about it, so I thought I’d share with you Chief Winemaker Peter Gago’s comments about the background to wine and my tasting note, albeit with caveat.

Penfolds are famous for their multi-regional blends and have sourced fruit from Marananga and the neighbouring Greenock and Kalimna regions since the 1940s to that end.  So what prompted them to release Marananga, a sub-regional wine from the north western fringe of the Barossa Valley?  As Gago put it, “we want to have our cakle and eat it,” though he was quick to point out that “we cannot deny Grange or Bin 707 [referring to a new regional Coonawarra release, also in 2008]…we just never had enough vineyard resource before.” 

Penfolds’ 317ha The Waltons Vineyard has provided the resource.  Planted in 1999, Gago describes as a “textbook vineyard” and, in 2008 which he describes as a great Penfolds’ vintage, Marananga Shiraz was a stand-out performer.  So Shiraz from The Waltons Vineyard was combined with (predominantly) older vine material from blocks which Senior Red Winemaker Steve Lienert says produce fruit quality which is “about as good as you can possibly get around here.” 

After vinification in headed down stainless steel fermenters, the wine primarily completes fermentation in 50% new and seasoned American and French oak hogsheads (roughly 50% of each).  The wine is then matured in the same barrels for 18 months.  Here’s my tasting note:

Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2008

A very youthful wine, with succulent, luscious even, cinnamon-edged sweet black cherry to the fore supported by a sinewy backbone of tannin which suggests this will go some distance.  Mocha oak nuances come through on the finish.  Bright, polished and deceptively powerful. 

According to Gago it’s pitched at Bin 389’s price point (UK RRP £19.99).  

See here and here for tasting notes on last year’s iconic and luxury Penfolds’ releases and Peter Gago’s masterclass on Grange-v-Bin 389.

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