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Community Tasting Notes (average 57 notes) - and median of 94 pts. in hiding notes with no text
| ||Tasted by cooberp on 8/17/2014 & rated 91 points: Translucent crimson. Very dark, plummy core, with anise and cedar overtones. A little stewed/overripe berry character in the mouth. Texturally at peak--the tannins are no longer astringent, but bind the wine to the tongue for an extremely lengthy finish. This isn't my preferred fruit profile, but it's definitely a fine wine. (833 views)|
| ||Tasted by Cigar nuke on 11/30/2013 & rated 95 points: Decanted over 1.5 hours. Blackcurrent. Plum. Silky tannins. Cinnamon. Complex and beautifully balanced. Different layers emerging over the 3 hours of tasting this bottle. (2980 views)|
| ||Tasted by Burgundy Al on 11/25/2013 & rated 90 points: Double Blind 1993s From Around the World (Chez Hughes - Chicago IL): Tasted double blind in what turned out to be a flight of 1993s. Dense black fruit, huge spice, lots of dill and eucalyptus. Sweet tannins with dense black fruit. Seemed much younger than a '93, so lots of upside from here. (3292 views)|
| ||Tasted by DoubleD1969 on 5/11/2013 & rated 96 points: In a great night with good friends and bottles of '90 Lafite, '97 Ridge Monte Bello, and '05 Cayuse Bionic Frog, the Grange held its ground. Both the Lafite and Grange were WOTN.|
I've had the '93 Grange a couple of years ago from the same purchase. This showing was even better than the first bottle. Decanted for about an hour and a half, the nose had an intense raspberry liquer, sweet cherries, eucalyptus, and vanilla. On the palate, the fruit and spice mixes well with the fine, silky tannin. Definitely heavier than the '90 Lafite but everything was in balance. (4194 views)
| ||Tasted by Goldstone on 4/12/2013 & rated 94 points: Dinner at the White House (Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong): Decanted for 12 hours before serving...... worryingly crumbled cork and lean, thin acidic taste on opening, but that's not unusual for a Grange of this or older vintages. Deep black-red opaque colour just lightening to watery transparency at the extreme edge of the glass. Nose is uber-concentrated blackcurrant, warm eucalyptus tree and Koala bear shit....a superb shitty element.....new bicycle tyres....warm fresh-laid black ashphalt (that also made me remember red ashphalt driveways which were popular with our wealthier neighbours in my childhood). Yep, it's got that classic Grange complexity and mesmeric element and we haven't even tasted it yet. Palate is perfect-poised black and red ashphalt...red berries, Chinese small red dates.....with a drying red dates finish. Huuuge resonance and reverberance on the finish. Lovely....... for all of us, it significantly beat the preceding Ch. Lynch Bages 1989 in terms of complexity and sheer enjoyment. Actually, I was enjoying it too much to even think to compare it to older Granges. (4268 views)|
| ||Tasted by CamWheeler on 2/1/2013 & rated 91 points: Seppelt (Colin Preece) Sparkling Burgundy, 2x100yo Seppelt Paras and many more! (Sydney, Australia): 86% Shiraz and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon. Blackcurrant, plum, vanilla and cinnamon aromas. Palate has good powerful fruit and very good length, but the depth of a top Grange isn't quite there. Drinking well now and over the next 5 years. (4334 views)|
| ||Tasted by Julia7ich on 10/18/2012 & rated 90 points: Dark garnet ruby. Chocolate malt, dried fig and minty cedar make a rather exotic impression on the nose and are further complimented by balsamic-drenched raspberries and smoky graphite in the mouth. The tannin is now fully evolved and the wine is at the ultimate of its peak and should be drunk now and within the next 3 years (until 2013). (3640 views)|
| ||Tasted by Goldstone on 5/4/2012 & rated 95 points: Farewell Runny....at least for now! (Chez Patrick Restaurant, 2/F, Garden East, 222 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong): Dense purple-red colour just lightening slightly at the meniscus. Nose is very closed...new cycle tyre rubber...hard to coax much out. Oddly, the palate is then much more open than the preceding Grange 1995...more rounded, plummy, fleshy plums,some plum stone, sweetness, distinct fresh-ground nutmeg....followed by a growling and growing resonance of slowly-advancing thunder. WOW!......the finale just builds and keeps building. This wine is a work in progress but I am transported.......it has huge potential to develop more over the next 10+ years. (4798 views)|
| ||Tasted by Fordjf on 4/8/2012: Not as good as I expected. Suspect this bottle had peaked a couple of years ago (3646 views)|
| ||Tasted by GaryHOhio on 12/31/2011 & rated 88 points: Another New Year's Eve with Grange, this is my last bottle of 93, based on my experience last year I did NOT decant but rather let it breathe in my Riedel Sommelier glass over the course of the evening. Sweet cherries and oak on the nose with some heat on the palate. Medium finish. Seemed a bit tired and soft. Not the usual Grange power. Disappointing. Clearly on the downside. I bought this bottle in January 2009 from a reputable wine dealer but not 100% sure of the entire provenance for this bottle. Maybe that is the problem as it seems many of the other notes indicate a much better experience with the 93. (4620 views)|
| ||Tasted by DoubleD1969 on 10/8/2011 & rated 94 points: It's hard to give a numerical number when it is the first experience. Expectations were high given the name. Opened and poured into a decanter and let it sat for about an hour. While pouring, the aromas smelled delicious with baked red and blue fruits and sweet spices. Very youthful inky color. Medium-to-full bodied. This was smooth and fresh with just a bit of tannins and oak on the finish. (4348 views)|
| ||Tasted by petitblanc on 8/6/2011 & rated 90 points: This showed best after 2 hours of air. Medium-dark but looking a bit advanced, almost garnet at the rim. Classic Grange eucalyptus and oak on the nose, along with sweet Chambord, bacon fat, and buttery tawny notes. On the palate, the intense wood is less elegant than usual, over a core of sweet berry fruit. Fine tannins and juicy acidity, almost sour. Alcohol in balance but somewhat bitter. Unusually stemmy, tart finish. Lots going on here, an atypical Grange or off bottle, with its sweet-sour profile. I would like to try this again in 5 years. (4431 views)|
| ||Tasted by Anonymous on 6/5/2011 & rated 91 points: Nez d'eucalyptus et de cassis, qui me fait davantage penser à du Cabernet qu'à la Syrah. Profil aromatique assez Nouveau monde, en pur aveugle j'aurais probablement identifité un Cali Cab ou même chilien de haut calibre. Le vin est parfaitement intégré selon moi, avec des tanins bien intégrés et une belle finesse en bouche qui contrebalance le nez plus banal. (4764 views)|
| ||Tasted by chatters on 4/1/2011: Smells and tastes like it's two years old. preposterous. I think someone may have siphoned off the original wine and filled the bottle up with this but there are no marks on the cork. I must be going mad in my dotage. for those that care:|
Black fruit, vanilla, leather and black pepper dominate accompanied by a lush back drop of greenness on the nose...Huge wine in the mouth, not jammy just massive, high acidity and medium tannin, a finish that just doesn't quit. How can a wine this old taste this youthful. Under cork (which is in good condition) as well. I'll leave the 96 for my retirement... (5059 views)
| ||Tasted by tooch on 3/16/2011 & rated 90 points: Australian Gem Tasting (Smith & Wollensky - Washington, DC): Let me start off saying this, this WILL be a great wine. Is it a great wine today? No. Just far too young. Incredibly dense nose of black fruit, rich spice and meat. The palate had a lot of class to it with subtle cassis, hints of black cherry, leather, subtle cherry tobacco, and animal hide. Sadly, these flavors were hopelessly woven together so tightly that they only peaked out from behind their massive wall of tannin. I think that this wine had the composition to land in the 93-96 range (for my palate). (5629 views)|
| ||Tasted by gblacave on 3/16/2011 & rated 93 points: Aussie Gems (Smith & Wollensky - Washington, DC): This is a very young 18 year old wine, but quite a delicious one. The nose sporting cassis, blackberry, blueberry, eucalyptus, with hints of brighter red cherry fruit, baking spice, and touches of cedar, leather and campfire. There is evident tannin that is yet to resolve, but I still found the wine to be fairly expressive. On the palate, there is substantial tannic structure with less in the way of secondary notes. I found primarily dark blue and black fruits with just hints of tobacco, meat drippings and leather. Long finish and complex finish, but evident tannin giving this some room to grow. I would love to revisit this in 10 more years, lots of potential for improvement when this is fully mature. (5715 views)|
| ||Tasted by MarkC on 3/11/2011 & rated 93 points: Pretty good stuff. Amazingly young tasting for an 18-year old bottle, but such is to be expected with Grange. This wine would have benefited from a decant of about an hour because it steadily improved over the course of 3 hours. Initially there were tart fruit notes (cherry mainly) that overshadowed the blueberry and blackberry core. These came into balance over time, and the whole thing is wrapped in fine tannins that indicate there is plenty of life left in this (I'd say 3-5 years at this level). It wasn't as complex as I would have guessed based on the last bottle (5 years ago) but it is maturing nicely. (PE: 90) (5487 views)|
| ||Tasted by GaryHOhio on 12/31/2010 & rated 94 points: Carrying on my NYE tradition of Grange, decanted for 2 hours, the wine improved over the evening, typical Grange, dark purple out of the bottle, great complexity, strong berries on the nose, 30 second finish was amazing, some cherries as well, slightly more acidic than usual Grange, based on other Grange years I would say this wine has peaked, go ahead and drink any 93s you have been saving for that special day, I would suggest at least a 4 hour decant, still not as good as the 2001 which is my favorite all time Grange (5492 views)|
| ||Tasted by PinkMoonWinery on 10/15/2010 & rated 92 points: Chocolate, herbs, mint, blackberries and Stilton cheese in the nose which sounds disgusting but it is actually really good as the Stilton is not dominating. Bold in the palate with some chestnuts. Long finish. It is a good wine but not one of my favorite Grange vintages. (5943 views)|
| ||Tasted by Phredd on 8/27/2010 & rated 97 points: NC Cindy Tasting. Amazingly dark when poured into the decanter, we vigorously swirled for 45 minutes or so, then gave this a whirl. On the nose, this is spicy cherries. Unlike the Sassicaia we opened just prior, this wine did smell like kirsch, along with cinnamon and a touch of clove. Just tremendous fruits on the nose, but also some underlying caramel. On the palate, this wine opens with cherries and then just takes off with layers of tons of red fruits - cherries, raspberries, red currant. At the same time, there are blackberry and plum notes, as well. As the mid-palate intensifies, layers of kale, allspice and pine needle or fir tree are all present. The finish is huge, lasting for 60 seconds easily, and revealing secondary layers of smoked meat and a mineral core. This wine just continues to develop over time. The complexity is amazing. This wine certainly does have the wow factor - it may be the best wine I've ever had. It is almost a shame to take this wine off my bucket list, since I'm not sure how else I can justify buying one at modern prices. I can certainly see why this is the wine that put Australia on the oenological map. Just fabulous! I am honored to be one of a very small group for whom this was opened. Thanks, Bill. (6009 views)|
| ||Tasted by docwines on 8/12/2010 & rated 96 points: better than expected. took 2-3 hours to open up (5965 views)|
| ||Tasted by psmith on 6/12/2010: Red fruits. Brick dust and sour cherry notes. Spice. Bold flavors, and still seems very young. Nice wine. (6155 views)|
| ||Tasted by popasq on 4/24/2010 & rated 98 points: Decanted 90 minutes. Exceptional! (6220 views)|
| ||Tasted by wenderoth on 1/14/2010 & rated 89 points: Christmas Dinner 2009. Opened and double decanted 6 hours prior to drinking. -5 for value as per my modification on the ratings in protest over investor-driven price hikes! Typical, if less well known, Grange vintage. Dark red/purple colour starting to fade to brick at the edges. Nose of mocha, leather, white pepper and cloves. Palate retains its austere tannic backbone after 17 years in the bottle, but the lingering cherry, raisins, blackberry and mocha flesh it out so as to bring it into perfect balance. Long, lingering red fruit and light acid finish. Supremely elegant wine, drinking at its peak. Pity about the price! (6724 views)|
| ||Tasted by Anonymous on 1/10/2010 & rated 97 points: BD wine. Signs of aging with a brick outer robe. It closely resembles a brownish amber color. Earthy aromas include olives, dried currant, port, mint, hints of red berry spice. It keeps changing. Medium full body with defined acid and a bold structure. Velvet on the palate and meaningful this juice has drive and ambition. Like a lean prize fighter (float like a butterfly, sting like a bee). Concentrated with layers and layers of earth, mushrooms, cigar tobacco, truffles, bitter cocoa, coffee bean, black currant, mint, traces of red fruit with a very lengthy finish. Excellent fruit to earth ratio. Decanted for about three hours to perfection. This really lives up to it's reputation. A treasure! (6624 views)|
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NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of James Halliday Australian Wine Companion and Winedoctor. (manage subscription channels)
|By James Halliday|
James Halliday Australian Wine Companion (2/1/1998)
(Penfolds Grange) Subscribe to see review text.
|By Chris Kissack|
Winedoctor, March 2001
(Penfolds Grange ) Very dense and opaque. A stinky, complex, vegetal and undergrowth nose. Aromas of beetroot and spices, with a layer of rich, sweet blackcurrant fruit. This is a huge, multifaceted wine. The palate has big tannins, firm acidity, and is very rich, with layers of fruit. Undoubtedly this is Grange. 18.5 points
Penfolds Producer website
Producer Location - Barossa (Google Maps)
Australia's winemaking history of less than two hundred years is brief by European measures though, like Europe, punctuated by periods of extreme success and difficult times. From the earliest winemaking days Penfolds has figured prominently and few would argue the importance of Penfolds’ influence on Australia’s winemaking psyche.
Without the influence of Penfolds the modern Australian wine industry would look very different indeed. Sitting comfortably outside of fad and fashion, Penfolds has taken Australian wine to the world on a grand stage and forged a reputation for quality that is without peer.
Penfolds’ reputation for making wines of provenance and cellaring potential might suggest a mantle of tradition and formality is the preferred attire of a company with so much history to defend. But to label Penfolds as simply an established and conventional winemaker, would be to confuse tradition with consideration and to overlook the innovative spirit that has driven Penfolds since its foundation, and continues to find expression in modern times.
If there is anything traditional about Penfolds, it is the practice of constantly reviewing the wines it already does well, and continuously evolving and refining styles as vineyards mature and access to ever older and more varied vineyard sites improves.
Making The Best Possible Wine
At Penfolds, the role of the winemaker is to make the best possible wine within the constraints of each vintage. Penfolds’ house style emerged from a fortified-wine producing culture and evolved as a winemaking philosophy – a way of making wine – which has had a profound effect on the entire Australian wine industry.
The concept of multi-regional and vineyard blending, a feature of the Penfolds house style, is an amplification of the ‘all-round wine’. Without the constraints of a single vineyard, winemakers could choose the best possible fruit with the outstanding characteristics of each vineyard.
While American oak has played a central role in the development of Penfolds red wines, French oak has been increasingly used in the evolution of new wines – particularly RWT and Yattarna. Maturation in oak, which follows fermentation, is also key to the Penfolds house style.
The Penfolds approach to winemaking has percolated through the entire Australian wine industry over the last 50 years. The techniques employed in research and development of Penfolds wines are remarkable and many of the discoveries and innovations have had a lasting impact on winemaking thinking.
In Max Schubert, Don Ditter, John Duval and Peter Gago, Penfolds has nurtured four of Australia's great winemakers. They have passed the Chief Winemaker’s baton of responsibility for crafting some of Australia's most iconic wines, down through the past six decades.
Joining Peter Gago in the Penfolds winemaking team are Senior Red Winemaker Steve Lienert, Senior White Winemaker Kym Schroeter, and Red Winemakers Andrew Baldwin, Adam Clay, Stephanie Dutton and Matt Woo - also the Penfolds Fortified Winemaker. All members of the Penfolds winemaking team ensure that Penfolds’ reputation for outstanding quality is upheld.
Penfolds draws fruit from a combined vineyard area of 618 hectares in the Barossa region of South Australia. The Barossa is about 70 kilometres north of Adelaide and in 1911 Penfolds established a winery at Nuriootpa, completed in time for the 1913 vintage. The Barossa region is known for its relatively low rainfall with many vineyards dry grown on single wire trellising.
The historic and heritage-protected Magill Estate Vineyard was established in 1844 by Dr Christopher Rawson and Mary Penfold—just eight years after the foundation of Adelaide. It was originally known as the Grange Vineyard, named after their new homestead ‘The Grange’, a cottage which still stands intact amongst the vines.
Joseph Gilbert planted the first vines in the Eden Valley in 1842 and since that time the region has become synonymous with producing elegant riesling and complex shiraz. While its name suggests a concave nature, Eden Valley is actually a wide ridge, situated east of the Barossa Valley with an altitude ranging from 440 – 550 metres.
McLaren Vale is located approximately 40km to the south of Adelaide, with the vineyards in the region located between 6 and 15 kilometres from the Gulf of St Vincent. The elevation ranges from 50 to 350 metres above sea level. Penfolds has company owned vineyards throughout the region, using the fruit as blending components for premium red wines such as Grange and Bin 389.
Penfolds has had a long history with the Coonawarra region, dating back to their first vineyard purchase in 1960. It is one of the most famous red wine regions in Australia with weathered limestone terra rossa soils, relatively cool climate and overall water availability. Coonawarra has played a significant role in many of Penfolds' multi-regional wines as well as the single region wines such as Bin 128.
James Halliday Australian Wine Companion Winery Of The Year 2014: Penfolds
Penfolds is Australia’s foremost winemaker, with an unbroken line dating back to its establishment in 1844 when medical practitioner Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold and wife Mary purchased ‘the delightfully situated and truly valuable of Mackgill … Comprising 500 acres (202 hectares) of the choicest land’. Here they built the house that still stands today, and within a few years had begun the winery and cellar on the site of today’s buildings at Magill Estate.
Mary took charge of winemaking, initially producing grenache prescribed by her husband as a tonic for anaemic patients. By 1870 she, son-in-law Thomas Hyland and cellar manager/winemaker Joseph Gillard had formed Penfolds & Co. With markets in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, their wine production was over one-third of South Australia’s total.
Growth continued unabated, and in 1945 Penfolds acquired the jewel of the Magill Vineyard, at that time the largest vineyard in South Australia. It now has 2100 hectares of vineyards, the largest share of Australia’s total. Two men came together in the 1950s to lay the foundation of Penfolds today: winemaker Max Schubert, and research chemist Ray Beckwith (who died shortly after his 100th birthday in 2012); indeed, their contribution transcended Penfolds to the entire Australian wine industry.
The architecture for the Penfolds wine portfolio of the twenty-first century was established in the 1960s, half a century ago. There has been growth, both in the range of labels and their price points, but it has been cleverly – indeed sensitively – managed; demand-driven growth has been achieved without any quality compromise whatsoever.
There is no possibility that the pre-eminence of Penfolds will ever be challenged by any other Australian wine business. Equally certain is that the Penfolds brand value will continue to gain ground on the world stage of all consumable products. If proof be needed, the overall quality of the wines in this Wine Companion is the best Penfolds has ever presented to the markets of the globe.
Author: James Halliday Jul 2013
1993 Penfolds GrangeBin 95 Grange
Penfolds GrangeLangton's The Definitive Grange Guide (includes 2006 vintage)
The Rewards of Patience (7th Edition)
Vintage Label Shiraz Cabernet
2010 Bin 95 Grange 96% 4%
2009 Bin 95 Grange 98% 2%
2008 Bin 95 Grange 98% 2%
2007 Bin 95 Grange 98% 2%
2006 Bin 95 Grange 98% 2%
2005 Bin 95 Grange 96% 4%
2004 Bin 95 Grange 96% 4%
2003 Bin 95 Grange 97% 3%
2002 Bin 95 Grange 98.5% 1.5%
2001 Bin 95 Grange 99% 1%
2000 Bin 95 Grange 100%
1999 Bin 95 Grange 100%
1998 Bin 95 Grange 97% 3%
1997 Bin 95 Grange 96% 4%
1996 Bin 95 Grange 94% 6%
1995 Bin 95 Grange 94% 6%
1994 Bin 95 Grange 89% 11%
1993 Bin 95 Grange 86% 14%
1992 Bin 95 Grange 90% 10%
1991 Bin 95 Grange 95% 5%
1990 Bin 95 Grange 95% 5%
1989 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 91% 9%
1988 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 94% 6%
1987 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 90% 10%
1986 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 87% 13%
1985 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 99% 1%
1984 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 95% 5%
1983 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 94% 6%
1982 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 94% 6%
1981 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 89% 11%
1980 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 96% 4%
1979 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 87% 13%
1978 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 90% 10%
1977 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 91% 9%
1976 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 89% 11%
1975 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 90% 10%
1974 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 93% 7%
1973 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 98% 2%
1972 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 90% 10%
1971 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 87% 13%
1970 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 90% 10%
1969 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 95% 5%
1969 Bin 826 Grange Hermitage
1968 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 94% 6%
1968 Bin 826 Grange Hermitage
1967 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 94% 6%
1967 Bin 74 Grange Hermitage
1966 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 88% 12%
1966 Bin 72 Grange Hermitage
1966 Bin 71 Grange Hermitage
1965 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 95% 5%
1965 Bin 71 Grange Hermitage
1965 Bin 70 Grange Hermitage
1965 Bin 69 Grange Hermitage
1964 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 90% 10%
1964 Bin 68 Grange Hermitage
1964 Bin 67 Grange Hermitage
1964 Bin 66 Grange Hermitage
1964 Bin 395 Grange Hermitage
1963 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 100%
1963 Bin 65 Grange Hermitage
1962 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 87% 13%
1962 Bin 456 Grange Hermitage
1962 Bin 59A Grange Hermitage
1962 Bin 59 Grange Hermitage
1961 Bin 395 Grange Hermitage 88% 12%
1961 Bin 395 Grange Hermitage
1960 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 92% 8%
1960 Bin 45 Grange Hermitage
1959 Bin 46 Grange Hermitage 90% 10%
1959 Bin 49 Grange Hermitage
1959 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage
1958 Bin 46 Grange Hermitage 94% 6%
1957 Bin 50 Grange Hermitage 88% 12%
1956 Bin 14 Grange Hermitage 96% 4%
1955 Bin 95 Grange Hermitage 90% 10%
1955 Bin 148A Grange Hermitage
1955 Bin 54 Grange Hermitage
1955 Bin 53 Grange Hermitage
1955 Bin 14 Grange Hermitage
1955 Bin 13 Grange Hermitage
1954 Bin 12 Grange Hermitage 98% 2%
1954 Bin 11 Grange Hermitage
1953 Bin 2 Grange Hermitage 87% 13%
1953 Bin 145 Grange Hermitage
1953 Bin 86C Grange Hermitage
1953 Bin 10 Grange Hermitage
1953 Bin 9 Grange Cabernet Sauvignon (Block 42) 100%
1952 Bin 4 Grange Hermitage 100%
1952 Bin 4A Grange Hermitage
1951 Bin 1 Grange Hermitage 100%
GrangePenfold's Rewards Of Patience
Australia Wine Australia (Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation) | Australian Wines (Wikipedia)
South Australia South Australian Wine Industry Association | South Australian Wines (Wikipedia)