96 Points James Halliday Wine Companion 2011
Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Barossa McLaren Coonawarra South Australia
Grange is a unique Australian style, officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. When the late, great Max Schubert embarked on his odyssey to define the nation's ultimate red wine, his efforts were met by adversity and derision from peers. Today Grange is recognised as one of the world's great wines, each vintage is eagerly awaited round the globe. The small 2005 vintage release makes no quality compromise. A Grange that is balanced, firm and polished. The first sip welcomes, the second sip asserts, the third entreats submission.
One of the great strengths of Grange is that it does not rely on the performance of a single vineyard. Penfolds enduring winemaking philosophy ensures each vintage of Grange has its own vintage character, which continually evolves and surprises. A mostly Barossa wine this year with components from McLaren Vale and Coonawarra. 2005 saw a solid budburst and fruit set, followed by favourable growing conditions. Harvest was early by about two weeks but temperate conditions allowed for steady, continuous ripening. Warm, dry conditions prevailed during the harvest period producing grapes of exceptional flavour and structure. Matured for eighteen months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. Alcohol 14.5%
Deep, dark garnet. The nose immediately says Grange, a tightly wrapped projection from the glass of dark berried Barossa fruits coupled with a myriad of barrel ferment complexities. Thereafter, a burst of honey cured jamon/ pancetta aromatically thrust above, with a rich mix of generously basted roasted meats, peat and nutmeg anchored beneath. Upon airing, these characters descend, revealing beguiling elements of freshly turned volcanic earth and a suggestion of old growth forest floor underlay. The flavour pool primarily highlights satsuma plum conserve alongside rhubarb/ aniseed/ fennel, with liqueur chocolate shyly awaiting mid palate. Oak absorbed and hidden, not so the muscular tannins.