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 Filed as : Australia

Bin There, Done That

May 29, 2012
Bin There, Done That
Aussie wine by the numbers

bin.The other day, while sorting through our stash of great Australian wines in search of something spring-like to sip, we realized that many of the wines were named Bin this number or Bin that number. No other country names wines according to bin. Just Aussie spin?

A little research revealed that bin numbers have been put on Australian wine labels since the 1930s. Contemporary Australian winemakers think that the numbers were historically the way winemakers in the past kept track of wines through blending and aging. Also, pre air conditioning, the numbers probably referred to the underground bin or place where a certain wine was typically stored.

Bin numbers are used by many top Australian wine companies. Penfolds, for example, makes three cabernet sauvignons—Bin 407 ($48), Bin 389 ($50), and Bin 707 ($200)--each of which is a different blend. Probably the most recognized bin number is Lindeman’s Bin 65 chardonnay (the 2011 is about $6 ), one of the biggest selling brands of chardonnay in the world.

Of the four bins just mentioned, our favorite wine is Bin 389, sometimes known as “baby Grange,” a reference to its sister wine Penfold’s Grange, one of the leading and most expensive wines in Australia. Here is Penfold’s chief winemaker Peter Gago talking about Bin 389 and our thoughts on the wine after tasting it recently.

PENFOLDS Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2008 (South Australia) $50
Here’s a cabernet with power yet grace. The exciting, savory, spicy, smoky notes lift the wine out of mere fruitiness (though the fruit is dramatic and powerful), and transform it into a flavor far more intriguing and complex. Best of all is the way this wine soars on the palate. Like it’s just broken free in every direction.

What's your favorite Australian "Bin" wine? Share with us below!


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