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Penfolds Grange 2003

Winemaker's Notes:

Deep red. Captivating, complex, complete. Unravelling aromatics unfurl with air - blue fruit notes entwined with barrel ferment and maturation elements; nothing singular, always in tandem. Sweet soy, cola and quince paste high notes escape from an ethereal layer (aniseed, fennel and fresh treacle ginger pudding) wafting above. Dark and liqueur chocolate, laced with Moroccan spices. An underlying tar/graphite blackness is lifted by derived fruit/quince pie flavours - a few years earlier they may have been more brashly varietal and elemental. Pronounced tannins sweep across the palate, although they are certainly part of the wine, never obtrusive. Long, layered and compelling, this wine is at the spicier end of the Grange spectrum.

Penfolds Wines:
  Tired of boring old wines from Australia? No? Then you can probably thank Penfolds Wines. Penfolds, founded in 1844 by Mary and Dr. Penfold (Mary gets top billing since she took care of most of the early management and winemaking responsibilities), has completely revolutionized not only its own product lines throughout the years, but also many wines in Australia as a whole. The wine ... Read more
  Tired of boring old wines from Australia? No? Then you can probably thank Penfolds Wines. Penfolds, founded in 1844 by Mary and Dr. Penfold (Mary gets top billing since she took care of most of the early management and winemaking responsibilities), has completely revolutionized not only its own product lines throughout the years, but also many wines in Australia as a whole. The wine produced by Penfolds was originally prescribed as tonic wines for anaemic patients, with the wine made from Grenache. By 1870, with 60 acres under vine, they were producing many more wines. In the 1920s and 1930s, Penfolds was known for its fortified wine, like many other wineries in the area. 1943 marked the start of a massive expansion for Penfolds Winery, with first the acquisition of Auldana Vineyard and its winery, and then the purchase of Kalimna Vineyard in 1945. By the end of the decade, they owned vineyards in McLaren Vale, Griffith, the Hunter Valley, and Minchinbury. Around the same time, winemaker Max Schubert returned from oversees with a completely new vision for the future of the winery. In the 50s, he started experimenting with the red wine he called Grange, which is a mix of primarily Shiraz and a little Cabernet Sauvignon, and by the 1960s the wine had spread across the Australian wine industry. Not wanting to stop with merely one of the most successful wine projects in the history of Australia, Penfolds Wines started the “White Grange” project in the 1990s, leading to the immensely popular and publicized release of the Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay. Peter Gago became their Chief Winemaker in 2002, and he, along with three winemakers in charge of red wine and one in charge of white, continue the tradition of experimentation and evolution. Read less

External Reviews for Penfolds Grange

External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

As if wine collectors weren't already falling over themselves to get precious bottles of Australia's most fabled wine, along comes a vintage like this. It's an astonishing wine, utterly seamless, maybe the best Grange yet. Powerful, aristocratic and impressive in the way it gathers up its flavors and lets them hang on and on and on while the finish lingers. The range starts with black cherry, blackberry, exotic spice and mineral, and moves on to dark licorice, pepper and subtle gamy notes. Then it all comes together and picks up speed on the finish. Best after 2007.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

It is always a treat to taste Australia's most famous wine, Penfolds' Grange cuvee (the word Hermitage has been dropped because of legal issues). The 2001 Grange is one of the few vintages of this cuvee to be composed of 100% Shiraz (the others being 1951, 1952, 1963, 1999, and 2000). Aged 17 months in 100% American oak, and tipping the scales at 14.5% alcohol, the 2001 is undeniably one of the top examples of this wine. At this stage, it appears to eclipse the 1998 and 1996. Inky/blue/purple to the rim, with a stunning perfume of blueberries, blackberries, chocolate, graphite, and earth, it boasts good acidity, huge tannins, magnificent concentration, and a multilayered, textured mouthfeel. It is a big, but impeccably well-balanced Shiraz that should shed some of its structure and tannin over the next 4-5 years, and be at its best between 2010-2030+.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

The 2004 vintage was outstanding in Barossa, McLaren Vale, and Magill, the regions where the grapes were sourced for the marvelous 2004 Grange. It contains 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and was aged for 16 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it displays a superb nose of wood smoke, Asian spices, incense, game, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. Medium to full-bodied, satin textured, with deeply layered, succulent blackberry, plum, and chocolate flavors, it has the structure and complexity to merit extended cellaring of a decade and more. The winery estimates a drinking curve of 2016 to 2050; I'd be a bit more conservative on the long end of the range. It will ultimately be seen as one of the great vintages of Grange.


External Review
09/27/2011

The summer of 2002 was one of the coldest on record, the autumn warm and dry. The season clearly branded this vintage of Grange with beautiful cool fruit and extremely long flavors. The fireworks that Grange can produce are subtle in ë02, exploding out in all directions while leaving a sense of elegance. Its power continues to build over the course of several days, almost electric with coffee, mocha, plum and red berry flavors. A graceful Grange? Yes, and sure to be long-lived as well.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

Last but not least is Australia's most famous wine, the 2002 Shiraz "Grange". The 2002 version was sourced from 77.5% Barossa Valley and 22.5% from McLaren Vale. Included in the blend is 1.5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It spent 17 months in 100% new American oak. Opaque purple, it gives off an ethereal bouquet of violets, saddle leather, blueberry, blackberry, pencil lead, and chocolate. This is followed by a full-bodied wine with tremendous concentration, multiple layers of flavor, ripe tannins, and great balance. Thick and rich, with a 60-second finish, it will slowly blossom over the next 15-20 years and provide pleasure through 2050. It is a legend in the making!


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

Not quite as broad and generous as riper vintages, but tremendously classy, offering smoky, earthy blackberry, plum and currant flavors that compete effectively against cedary oak on the long finish. The flavors gain with each sip, fanning out impressively. It's tight now, but it could age beautifully. Best after 2009.


External Review
Source: Premier Wine & Spirits
05/18/2011

An excellent wine as it always is, but this vintage of Grange is one that isn't just built for aging, it requires it. Its flavors and aromas required a good 20 minutes in the glass to show themselves, but with time, pretty eucalyptus/mint and anise aromas came through. In the mouth, it feels more feminine and slender than it has in recent years. It's very tightly wound, with tea, biscuit and plum notes peeking through; its tannins are powdery and pretty, and its finish long and juicy. Drink 2012+.


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Deep red. Captivating, complex, complete. Unravelling aromatics unfurl with air - blue fruit notes entwined with barrel ferment and maturation elements; nothing singular, always in tandem. Sweet soy, cola and quince paste high notes escape from an ethereal layer (aniseed, fennel and fresh treacle ginger pudding) wafting above. Dark and liqueur chocolate, laced with Moroccan spices. An underlying tar/graphite blackness is lifted by derived fruit/quince pie flavours - a few years earlier they may have been more brashly varietal and elemental. Pronounced tannins sweep across the palate, although they are certainly part of the wine, never obtrusive. Long, layered and compelling, this wine is at the spicier end of the Grange spectrum.

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