Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Penfolds Grange

I have been thinking that the 1990s are perhaps the golden decade of Penfolds Grange. Why? Since the 1990 Grange, there has been a slight shift to more fruit orientation at the expense of oak. No doubt, this has been a positive. Secondly, during this period, Penfolds has had access to quite a number of outstanding grower vineyards. Subsequently, many have moved to bottle their own wine or shifted, when they came out of contract. Penfolds have since planted the very large Waltons vineyard, but it will take a long time before the vines reach maturity.

The 1991 Penfolds Grange certainly supports my assertion. This is close to a perfect wine, and a fantastic follow-up to the legendary 1990. Cherry and wild berry aromas jump out of the bottle/glass. This is an excellent bottle. I took several Grange bottles to the recent Penfolds re-corking clinic, but not this one. At 25 years, it still had a very high shoulder.

This wine ticks all the right boxes on the palate. Upfront, it is still fresh, with a complex mix of blackberry and plum flavours. Secondary bacon and spice flavours are present as well. The wine delivers a very satisfying, generous and full-bodied mouthfeel on the mid-palate, and is very long and persistent on the finish. The fruit is intense and penetrating, but there is enough acidity to avoid any fruitcake characteristics. The tannins have softened and are quite silky.

Score: 98/+++  


Anonymous said...

Hello Thomas,
In relation to the sentiment of your comments in the first paragraph, you have previously applied this theory also to Bin 389, which incidentally I whole heartedly agree.
Fifty dollars plus for just another red wine from the Barossa is a bit hard to take. As a consequence I am no longer a Bin 389 purchaser.
What is your opinion on how St.Henri has fared over the same period?


Alontin said...

Hi Colin,

Nice to hear from you again.

At first I thought you got me. There is no doubt St. Henri had some fantastic vintages lately, for example 2010 and 2012. I don't have much experience drinking this wine from the 90s, but this is the difference to Grange, I think: St. Henri does not get the top grapes, although it gets very good grapes. Access to this quality has probably not changed. Then you have generally improved winemaking and great vintages, bingo.