Penfolds Grange 2015
• Domaine: Penfolds
• Appellation: South Australia, Wine of Australia
• Origin: South Australia
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
"1844 to Evermore!"
Penfolds Grange is an Australian icon and a benchmark expression of Shiraz. A true groundbreaking wine that helped put Australia on the map as a prestigious wine producing country, Penfolds Grange had more than its fair share of setbacks and struggles during its long and arduous path to stardom. Yet the innovators behind this densely concentrated and remarkably age worthy expression of Shiraz would not be deterred from their ultimate goal – creating an exemplary icon that captures Australian terroir and highlights all the complexities of this dark and intense varietal.
The history of this estate begins with Doctor Christopher and Mary Penfold, a married couple who had already made a name for themselves in producing fortified wines. Doctor Christopher Penfold believed in wine for its medicinal purposes and in 1844, the couple settled on a 500 acre plot of some of the “choicest land,” in early colonial South Australia. They founded the Magill Estate near Adelaide, and this cooler climate property is now one of Australia’s few urban vineyards. The Magill Estate is considered the “spiritual home,” of Penfolds, though the property has other vineyards located throughout the continent. Christopher prioritized his medical career, and it was Mary Penfold who spent the majority of her time running the vineyard. When Christopher passed, Mary continued to tend to the vines despite the urging of her son-in-law to retire. In 1948 – over a century after the initial vines were planted at the property – Max Schubert was hired as the first chief winemaker at the tender age of 33. Max had set his sights on becoming chief winemaker at the estate and had started as a messenger boy who hungrily worked his way up the ranks at Penfolds.
Max was the visionary mind behind Grange. After traveling to Spain, Portugal, and France, Max was inspired by the European winemakers who were able to produce age worthy wines. Max began experimenting with Shiraz – his grape of choice – and some of the European techniques for aging this wine. The first bottle of Grange was produced in 1951 and during a group tasting in 1957, the wine received universally negative feedback. Max was ordered to stop producing Grange and focus on making Penfolds other wines. Any other winemaker would have quit, but Max Schubert was not one to be deterred. For three years, Max produced Grange in secret, more determined than ever to achieve perfection. In 1960, Penfolds asked Schubert to resume producing Grange, just in time for the vintage. Fortunately, that vintage received more than its fair share of praise, setting Grange on the trajectory to becoming a world-class wine.
Today Penfolds Grange is an iconic wine that is considered one of the greatest wines in the world. In 2008, the excellence of Grange was cemented when the wine received two perfect scores from Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator in addition to receiving its heritage listing from Australia, cementing its iconic reputation and a 177 year legacy. Without a doubt, Grange is a true treasure of the Southern Hemisphere, guaranteed to dazzle for years to come.
"The nose of the 2015 Grange features the wine's characteristic lifted aromas, joined by pronounced American oak influence and bold blackberry fruit, plus hints of red meat, raspberries, asphalt and vanilla. It's dense and concentrated on the palate, full-bodied yet balanced and firm, with a rich, velvety texture and long, plush finish. Don't expect great complexity at this stage—it's much too young to show much more than the primary fruit and oak elements—but this is a Grange that should easily go three or four decades." - Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate, Ratings: 98+, Drink: 2025-2050
"Saturated ruby. Deeply pitched, spice-accented aromas of cassis, smoky minerals, incense and dark chocolate. Large-scaled and broad in the mouth, offering intense blackcurrant, cherry-vanilla, mocha and candied violet flavors that are supported by a core of juicy acidity. Shows superb density and vivacity as well, with no rough edges. Finishes extremely long and precise, with building tannins and resonating bitter chocolate, exotic spice and floral notes." - Josh Reynolds, Vinous (12/2021), Ratings: 98, Drink: 2030-2041
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