Penfolds Grange 1997
Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia
Grange is an icon, being both Australia's and Penfolds' flagship wine. Grange boasts an unbroken line of vintages from the experimental 1951 and clearly demonstrates the synergy between Shiraz and the soils and climate of South Australia
Penfolds Grange displays fully ripe, intensely flavoured and textured Shiraz grapes in combination with new American oak. The result is a unique Australian style that is now recognized as the most consistent of the world's great wines. The Grange style is the original and most powerful expression of Penfolds' multi-vineyard, multi-district blending philosphy.
The Wine Advocate - "The 1997 Grange (a blend of 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon) looks to be a classic Grange, although slightly softer and more forward than the backward 1996. The saturated purple-colored 1997 offers a gorgeously sweet nose of blackberry liqueur, cherries, camphor, chocolate, plums, and mocha. The wine is opulently-textured, extremely soft, layered, and seductive, with Grange's tell-tale personality well-displayed, but in a seamless, seductive style. This is a superb Grange that can hold its own against the more heralded 1996. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2022. "
Australian Wine Companion - "Medium to full red, with just a touch of purple remaining; powerful, complex dark fruits, chocolate and savoury lemon/vanilla oak on the bouquet, then a similarly powerful palate where earth and chocolate join the chorus of flavours promised by the bouquet; persistent tannins, of course. It's hard to suggest this will be regarded as a great Grange in 20 years or so, but it is nonetheless in the mainstream of Grange style."
International Wine Cellar - "Deep, dark ruby-red. Heady, superripe aromas of black plum, blackcurrant, blueberry and treacle, richly endowed with dark chocolate, vanilla and creamy oak; hints of mint and eucalyptus in the background. Silky-smooth, rich and creamy; remarkably approachable given its relative youth. Dripping with ripe black fruits and wrapped in firm but velvety tannins. A very good but not great Grange made without any suggestion of the portiness or overextraction so often shown by many of its imitators."
Wine Spectator - "Not huge, more of a human-scale Grange, with beautiful plum and blueberry fruit that shines right through the long, crisp, fine-grained finish. A lovely wine, though it doesn't quite show the grandeur of great Grange vintages. Drink now through 2010. 10,000 cases made."
Wine Enthusiast - "An excellent wine, but not an outstanding vintage for Grange, the 1997 seems a trifle loose-knit and less “packed” when compared to great vintages in the past. Black plums and blackberries are laced with dried spices and vanilla. Give it some time to knit together and drink from 2005–2015."
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Penfolds Wines Winery
Founded by a young, English doctor in 1844, Penfolds has been producing remarkable wines that have changed the landscape of Australian winemaking. Over the past century, Penfolds has indisputably led the development of Australian fine wine in the modern era. The introduction of Penfolds Grange in 1951 forever changed the landscape of Australian fine wine. Since then, a series of standout wines, both white and red, have been released under the Penfolds masthead. Under the direction of master winemaker, Peter Gago, Penfolds is now found in every major wine market in the country. Extraordinary wines such as Block 42 and Bin 60A have also been released during his tenure. Penfolds wines are now widely celebrated for their diversity and quality across many price-points. The strength of Penfolds is that the wine comes first. Penfolds' range of table wines is utterly Australian, evoking a generosity of spirit and the beauty of the Australian landscape.
About Barossa ValleyView a map of Barossa Valley wineries
The Barossa zone consists of two sections - the Barossa Valley and the Eden Valley. Wines from the Eden Valley can be labelled Barossa or Barossa Valley.
Situated just a bit east of the large city of Adelaide, Barossa is Australia's wine headquarters. Mega producers are based here, boutique wineries call it home and a majority of the habitants claim their income on the wine industry. The valley is strewn with a series of hamlets, small towns spotted throughout the region.
Barossa ValleyBarossa is red-wine territory, with red grapes consisting of about two-thirds of the region's plantings. The reds, Shiraz in particular, are lauded for their rich, concentrated flavors and aging potential. Old vines of Shiraz and Grenache are popular, many up to 80 years old. The valley is home to some of the most famous vineyards of Australia - this is where the first Penfolds Grange was made. Whites are also found, mainly from the Semillon grape – these wines are as full-bodied as the reds although harder to find. Riesling and Chardonnay are also planted.
Eden ValleyRight next to Barossa Valley, but a bit higher in elevation, Eden Valley is an ideal neighbor. Many wineries source vineyards from both areas as the climate difference in Eden Valley leads to wines of a different character. Reds are still mainly Shiraz and Grenache, but the wines are often more restrained and less dense than those in the Barossa Valley proper. Whites are popular here too. Eden Valley Rieslings and Semillons are particularly excellent.
About AustraliaLike the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.