Had to go 100 pts on this one as after 1,525 tasting notes on CT since 3/24/06 I have not had a better wine. Debated giving it 99 but this wine had no flaws so how can I not score it perfect? Of course it was my first and only Grange so possibly the '98 or '04 would have rated higher if I had the privilege to taste such vintages but alas this was all my modest cellar contained.
I had sourced this on 6/1/05 for a bargain $165 and when I tagged it I wrote "for Retirement" on the bottle not quite knowing at that time when the day would come and stuffed it away in the wine cooler. Fast forward 10 years and a month and retirement day has arrived. Walked out after 30+ years without my laptop and company phone and I could have floated across the parking lot!
I knew this needed a serious decant so opened it at 3pm and tried a first sip and the tannins let themselves be known so into the decanter it went. Finally around 6:30 time for the first pour with my wife into our Riedel glasses and a joyous clink of the glasses on the deck. Color was a dark crimson with some bricking in the color, very unlike young Aussie' Shriaz. Swirling brought out aromas of cigar box, forest, dried fruit. First sip was mouth coating with cranberries, earthy notes, allspice. After we got to "know" the wine it exhibited many personalities. A times it had the elegance of an aged Bordeaux, other times it had the power of a Napa Cab. Kind of odd was that it never had the extracted Shiraz flavor found in many wines from down under. No this was all about class and balance. The finish would go on and on for 50-60 seconds (that was a benefit as it made every sip last and slowed down the consumption of this marvelous wine)! Paired it with prime filet and fresh corn and baked potato, the perfect accompaniment for this bottle. I told my wife that it would have been awesome if I had a bigger wine budget in 2005 and bought all 3 bottles my local wine shop had because it would be fascinating to try this one in 5 then 10 years. You could just tell it had the stuffing to last. A remarkable wine on a remarkable day in our lives. Cheers!
Tasting 1996 Penfolds Grange (during private dinner) (Restaurante Cuenllas - Madrid): Bottle was opened six hours before consumption. Double decanted in order to filter abundant sediments. It took hours to open on the nose. At first wood covered everything except that elegance. The palate was silky and wide. Very long drink. Incredible aftertaste. When finally nose appears, mouth fell at the same rate. Unbalanced in my modest opinion. Perhaps its origin was not as flawless as we presumed 'cause poor storage. Lack of harmony, we said. However the last glass, the better. Below my expectations.
Botella abierta seis horas antes de su consumo. Doblemente decantada para filtrarla de abundantes sedimentos. Tardó horas en abrirse en nariz. Al principio la madera lo tapaba todo excepto la elegancia. En boca era más sedosa y amplia. De trago muy largo. Postgusto increíble. Cuando la nariz finalmente se manifestó, la boca cayó en la misma proporción. Desequilibrada en mi modesta opinión. Quizás su origen no era tan impecable como presumíamos con un almacenaje deficiente. Dijimos que padecía de falta total de armonía. No obstante, la última copa, la mejor. Por debajo de mis expectativas.
Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant. 78 Penfold Road Rosslyn Park, South Australia, 5072, Australia.
Double decanted by our sommelier Patrick.
94% Shiraz 6% Cabernet. 14% alcohol.
Black opaque heart, dark garnet rim, showing less age than expected. Well cellared and youthful. Heady nose of cassis fruit, blackberry spice, caramel mocha undertones, new leather. Silky mouthfeel, bold fruit flavour without the heaviness of lessor marques. Chocolate, vanilla, balanced and delicious.
Two hours open, blood plum, blackberry, expresso, chocolatey tannins mid palate, mild acidity freshens through the long stalky tannin, blueberry finish. Plush fruit and black pepper spice to the last drop!
Penfolds Grange Wine Dinner at Botrini's (Botrini's Restaurant Athens): First Grange of the night and things are looking up. A very complex wine, open and quite mature. Medicinal aromas on a background of dark fruit, ground coffee, lifted with tones of eukalyptus, mint and camphor. Excellent wine, typically Australian and now at a stage of nice maturity even if it has lots of life ahead.
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