Penfolds Bin 707 is widely regarded as the 'benchmark' Australian Cabernet Sauvignon. The comparative scarcity of Cabernet Sauvignon of the desired standard sets a limit to the amount of Bin 707 made in any one vintage. Bin 707, a multi region blend, is the cabernet equivalent of Grange. Together, the two wines represent the Penfolds red wine style at its most rich and powerful. Bin 707 seeks to express cabernet in a way that balances flavours derived from concentrated, fully-ripe fruit with equally strong flavours derived from fermentation and maturation for 18 months in new American oak. This results in a wine of big, sometimes immense, structure, ripe, pronounced tannins, sweet, dark berry and dark chocolate fruit laced with liquorice, and smoky oak that is usually swallowed up by the fruit in the wine’s first few years.
Everything about Bin 707 (and Grange) is large-scale. All the many facets and dimensions of the wine change and develop, of course, as it moves further into its long lifecycle, and both Bin 707 and Grange are idiosyncratic in that they focus on complexity and scale rather than varietal or regional character or definition. It may seem ironic, but Bin 407 may well show more Cabernet character than Bin 707, and Bin 28 often shows more Shiraz character than Grange.
Bin 707 was among Australia’s first varietal cabernets but it looked to be all over in 1969, after just six vintages, when it was discontinued because quality cabernet was not consistently available and it was decided that what there was should be allocated to Bin 389, which at the time was a more successful wine. Since its return with the splendid 1976 vintage (the first to make use of Coonawarra fruit), Bin 707 has become an Australian benchmark for the variety and a well respected wine internationally.
In 1981 and 1995 the decision not to make Bin 707 was taken because of unwillingness to compromise the label in years when cabernet of the right style and quality was not available. Coonawarra and the Barossa Valley dominate the Bin 707s of today, with sometimes one, sometimes the other in the leading role, depending on vintage conditions. Bin 707 has shone brighter than ever since the mid-1980s, when more selective fruit sourcing and careful attention to acid balance began to give the wine both greater intensity and greater vivacity.