Bonhams Pre-Auction Tasting (Bonham's - San Francisco, CA): Tasting, brief note. I haven't had this in many years and recall not enjoying the first I had it back in the day. Tonight it was rockstar, with huge fruit in balance with spice and structure. Clearly a more modern styled Grange vs some of my favorites from a few decades back (e.g., 1986), but this powerhouse will continue to improve for decades.
Penfolds Grange Wine Dinner at Botrini's (Botrini's Restaurant Athens): Dark garnet colored with pronounced aromatics of VA, camphor, eukalyptus, leather, rubber, balsamic notes, chocolate. Full bodied, plush and sweet. Lingering finish, the mark of a very fine wine. Second wine of the night, it was tasted together with the 1996. Both are great wines, 97 being earthier in character.
Penfolds Grange Wine Dinner at Botrini's (Botrini Restaurant, Athens, Greece): Served alongside the 1996 with which it was quite similar. In fact this was the only couple with obvious similarity. Eukalyptus, leather, camphor, some barnyard scents and blueberry on the nose. Medium to full-bodied, sweet fruit, silky tannins and balancing acidity. Long aftertaste. The most typical aussie shiraz of the line-up.
Upon first opening, it was clear this was in need of serious aeration (or another 7-8 years in the cellar), so I'm glad I opened it 2 days before service, giving it a quick pour in decanter and returning to bottle after 30 minutes. Indeed, the secret chambers revealed themselves two nights later whereas upon opening, the wine seemed rather linear and vague. Medium-bodied, with some gently compelling structure and engaging perfumes. Fun to drink, but falls woefully short of its pricetag; this bottle, anyway.
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