I am not one who advocates to keep bottles for special occasions. Often, they never come, and bottles become undrinkable. But conversely, if a special occasion happens, it is good to be able to open a special bottle. This happened to me a couple of days ago, and the special bottle was a 1998 Penfolds Grange.
Excellent cork, medium to high shoulder
The colour of this wine was still dark purple. This was encouraging. The nose was a bit subdued, smells of cranberry rising slowly.
But on the palate, it all happened. Primary fruit was still there; cranberry, red- and blackcurrant paste, forest berry jam . There were mocca flavours and a whiff of eucalypt, but overall, secondary notes dominated; cedar, tobacco, cigarbox, charcoaled meat. All these flavours evolved in a layered fashion in this big wine.
This Grange was still quite lively and fresh in the mouth - quite remarkable. The structure is monumental and still strong. This is unmistakably Grange. Muscular dry tannins lead to a very long finish.
It is a good time to drink the 1998. At 23 years, it probably delivers maximum complexity. No doubt, it will drink well for another 10 years if stored correctly. This wine needs protein.