Penfolds Quantum Bin 98 is the continuation of a twenty-year endeavor from when Australian vine cuttings were planted in Californian soil. A Wine of the World that encapsulates a bold blending alliance, Quantum reveals a wine that shows wisdom, crafted with conviction but also embedded in the “quality-first” philosophy that underpins Penfolds flagships. The wine serves as the most powerful expression of our blending style and leads the charge in Penfolds ambition to seek out parcels of intense flavor, structural tannins and equal parts grace and complexity. Northern and southern hemispheres bring prized cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley and pedigreed shiraz from South Australia, respectively, into each other’s realm. Not adhering to expectations and de rigueur.
The aromatic building blocks are clear; rich malt, bone marrow and a ripe berried core.
A complex dark-berried spectrum commands immediate focus and with further attention blackberry, blueberry and boysenberry can be teased out.
Over time and with energetic swirls, the berries fuse with sugared pastry and cinnamon/apple bakes.
“Piquant punches” season the aromatic profile – mild horseradish cream and Dijon mustard.
Familiar markers can be identified, a formic stamp and a VA bounce, yet the northern hemisphere narrative requires sensory re-orientation.
A blue-berried wash and glistening film covers the palate with conviction.
Viscous/marbled texture combines with suppleness and acid succulence.
Respectful acidity tightens the palate, clenching/compressing around a core of graphite and hazelnut:
Graphite confirms varietal and identity.
Hazelnut confirms oak maturation.
A plush texture which cushions the palate. Exotic intrigue. Sweetness that dials up over time with air. All boxes ticked.
Deep red, magenta brightness at the rim.
- GRAPE VARIETY:
- 87% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 13% Shiraz
- VINEYARD REGION:
- Napa Valley
- South Australia
- MATURATION: 16 months in American oak (80% new) and French oak (20% new)
- Alc/Vol: 14.5%
- Acidity: 7.07 g/L
- pH: 3.70
- ** Only 2 in Stock **
The first release of this new iconoclastic label, the 2018 Quantum Bin 98 is labeled as a ”Wine of the World,” although the AVA is the United States and technically 87% is American wine (Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley), while 13% is Australian (”Grade A1” Shiraz from South Australia). The wine spent 16 months in oak, 100% new, 80% American oak and 20% French. In fact, the wine is made very much like Grange, in that it completes fermentation in new, mainly American oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, it needs a good amount of swirling to unlock slowly emerging scents of chocolate-covered cherries, plum preserves, blueberry compote and cassis with fragrant suggestions of vanilla pod, violets, coconut, crushed rocks, pencil lead and clove oil. Medium to full-bodied, the generously fruited palate explodes in the mouth with ripe, juicy black and blue fruits, supported by firm, grainy tannins and a lovely burst of freshness, finishing long and spicy. It is mostly all fruit and American oak at this youthful stage, but I imagine that like Grange, its real appeal comes with bottle age. I would give it at least five years to allow the oak to marry and tertiary nuances to emerge, then drink it over the next 20 years or more. To manage expectations-this doesn’t taste like Napa or South Australia. It doesn’t even taste like the 2018 vintage here in Napa. It really is its own thing, which I suppose is the point. 1,749 cases were made. - Robert Parker 97 points