This is 19 years older than the Penfolds Bin 28 and 17 years older than Mast Rare Reserve so it's not a fair comparison. The difference in nuance and complexity, though, is overwhelming and noted by nearly everyone at the table. This is a special wine (as Hermitage is supposed to be).
Lighter in color than either of the Australian wines. Scents of black fruits, spice, leather, juniper berries. (In 1985, it was probably aged in old seasoned barrels.) Same on the palate. But almost no black pepper. More delicate in texture but richer in flavor than either of the Australian wines. Flavors reverberate and dance. Long, long finish. A memorable experience.
My experience with Hermitage is limited--the 1980, 1982, 1983 and 1984 Hermitage La Chapelle, the 1984 Chave and the 1985 and 1988 Sorrel. But this is definitely the best I have had--a superlative example of French Syrah, mature and drinking at its best.