1986 Penfolds Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28


Back a few years ago, I was tasting a lot of Penfolds and was fortunate enough to participate in a few epic verticals of this iconic Australian producer. Sadly, commitments towards Bordeaux and Burgundy mean I taste bottles less frequently; however, I was reminded of their unerring longevity at a recent BYO at the Harwood Arms to celebrate my birthday.

The 1986 Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28 is still youthful in color. The bouquet is precisely what you would expect from a Barossa Shiraz, though, Penfolds was sourcing from different regions by this time. Black plums, camphor and dark chocolate scents don’t hold back; they’re still quite precocious and primal with appealing purity. The palate is well-balanced but no blockbuster, perhaps partly because, in this period, they had introduced air bags for gentler pressings. Pliant tannins, sweet with candied orange peel, mint and leather, there is just a little savouriness towards the finish. Moderate length. Pretty delicious. The wine prompted discussion about whether its youthfulness should be considered a negative since it begs the question about secondary aromas and flavors, exemplified by a gorgeous 1990 Pichon-Baron served in tandem. Yet it is undeniably a Shiraz built to give pleasure after 37 years and, on this spritely showing, will easily trot along for another 37 years. 92/Drink 2023-2060.

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