Penfolds Grange is probably the only Australian wine that holds a candle globally to revered names such as Mouton Rothchild, Lafite, Pertrus, Romanee Conte, and D’Yquem to name a just a few. Not just in quality, but in the iconic standing that allow Penfolds to command amazing prices consistently year after year.
Of course, there are many Australian wines that equal, and in some cases are better wines than Grange, but none equal status. Every year wine enthusiasts wait eagerly for the new release. Even those hardened sceptics who believe it’s all just “piss and wind” can’t help but steel a little sip at a tasting here and there. As hard as they try, it’s difficult to cast much doubt over the wine’s consistency, style, and superior character to many other similar wines.
So has it all been bluff since Max Shubert painstakingly produced the first Grange in 1951? No. Penfolds still have access to some of the oldest quality driven vineyards in the country to draw fruit from, in the Barossa, and no expense is spared on production costs such as barrels and ageing, least of all marketing. Although it really markets itself these days.
So really it’s not magic, Max Schubert merely was before his time, at least in Australia, realising that the best fruit in the right region will consistently make quality wine with substance vintage after vintage.
The current release 2005 is 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and reflects the warm dry season, creating overt intensity seen rarely in the magnitude. This wine is quite huge, but subtle enough to be well rounded and structured.
You won’t be disappointed.