In two words: “crowd pleaser”. The 2003 vintage of Penfolds’ Bin 389 is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, their respective proportions unspecified, and aged for 12 months in new and old American oak. Described as an “early drinking” style in the winemaker’s notes, you will not be disappointed drinking this wine in 2012. I think the winemaker was being a little modest. 9 years on, the wine is great. Sure, it may not improve from here and so is ready to drink, but my view is that it has the fruit and structure to hold together for a few more years yet.
The wine is a medium(+) intensity expression of ruby in terms of colour. On the nose, the aroma is developed and has medium intensity notes of plums, cloves, dried herbs, cedar, anise and dried currants. Nice dried currants too, not the cloying ones. On the palate, unsurprisingly, the wine is full bodied, with medium tannins, and quite long length. Plums, char, spice (nutmeg, and perhaps cinnamon) and cedar intermingle well. A second (or third) glass of this wine is in order, and this wine is highly recommended. It could easily sell for much more on quality grounds. 93 points (extremely good)