Penfolds Grange Shiraz Bin 95 2018
Penfolds Grange Shiraz Bin 95 2018
100 pts – James Suckling
The most powerful expression of Penfolds multi-vineyard, multi-district blending philosophy, Grange is arguably Australia’s most celebrated wine and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Crafted utilising fully ripe, intensely flavoured and structured shiraz grapes, the result is a unique Australian style that is now recognised as one of the most consistent of the world’s great wines. With an unbroken line of vintages from the experimental 1951, Grange clearly demonstrates the synergy between shiraz and the soils and climates of South Australia.
Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley.
Alc/Vol: 14.5%, Acidity: 7.0 g/L, pH: 3.56
18 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads.
Near long-term winter rainfall ensured the vines reached spring with full soil moisture profiles. Elevated spring temperatures, driven by higher than usual lows, indicated an early start to the growing season. Warm and sunny weather prevailed throughout most of spring, providing optimal conditions for flowering and fruit-set. The Barossa Valley experienced a dry summer, only recording 50% of the longterm average rainfall. The region experienced 22 days of temperature greater than 35°C during summer, while to the south, McLaren Vale experienced 17 days greater than 35°C. This warm and dry pattern also prevailed in Clare Valley with only one significant rain event in early December. The hot spells slowed grape phenology, delaying harvest by a couple of weeks. Milder conditions in autumn provided optimal conditions for ripening grapes to their fullest potential. An outstanding vintage.
Radiant deep red, on rim, black core
Maybe it’s freshness, brashness but it’s so … well, it’s so definitively Grange-y!
Instantly, an assault of piercing V.A. (seemingly quite masterfully dialled-up!), a portal of pulsating formics … tempered by relaxed barrel-ferment notes.
Conveying what is then revealed via waves of lingering and layered aromatics:
• First the fruit – ripe blackberries/blackcurrant reduction, laced with spices – notably fennel and anise.
• Then a sprinkle of dark chocolate, cocoa-powder … and cola.
• Without prying, unabashed scents akin to charcoaled lamb fat, and raw wagyu carpaccio (amid caper berries) arise to authenticate shiraz DNA.
• A modicum of modesty, attempting to conceal all beneath a blackened veil of hydrocarbon shoe-polish/sootiness/coal dust and slate.
• Conceded, the presence of an ever-so-subtle yet complexing higher-tone mahogany/piano-polish/ lacquer – no doubt derived from the earth, not oak.
• A trepidant tension unfolds – youthful fruitiness wrestling an inky and dense powerhouse
Balance and shape … classy and poised, YET Grange.
Familial flavours of a deconstructed Black Forest Cake/trifle – chocolate, custard, bright wild raspberry; redcurrant. So many other less-obvious flavour ‘distractions’ – mushroom pâté/duxelles, replete with a beefy accompaniment. Notes of sarsaparilla whirled into the mix.
Also, an assortment of fresh red and black liquorice – ‘straight out of the bag’.
A tactile overdose – omnipresent and even tannins. Mouthcoating – a confluence of tannin/acidity/oak/fruit – all joyously meshed together.
A convex mid-palate (dare it be said, ‘a strong core’!) that generously supports upfront palate grip and a continuum of delight all the way to lengthy, lingering finish.
Truly ‘alive’, Upon sitting and with air, all transforms. A second revised tasting-note, however, can definitely wait. There will be ample opportunity over the next half-century!
2028 – 2068