Penfolds Grange 1998
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.
Wine Spectator - "A wine of surprising subtlety for the vintage, playing its ripe cherry, red plum and herb flavors against firm tannins that have a bit of grit to them. But those lively cherry and raspberry flavors burst through, and there's a nice hint of green herbs lingering around the finish, which doesn't subside easily."
International Wine Cellar - "Very deep red-ruby. Smoky, deeply concentrated fruit bomb of a nose: blackberry, dark plum, cassis; creamy vanilla and lightly toasty coconutty oak; and ethereal background notes of white pepper, smoked meats, musky spices, tar and licorice. Profoundly concentrated but velvety-smooth and seamless; impressively muscular and thickly coated with oak, and bound by drying, astringent tannins. Without question the most concentrated Grange of all time, utterly steeped in blackberry flavors; a real show pony. It's also the most alcoholic Grange ever made, and at a declared 14.5% does taste warm and spirity - the first Grange to do so. It also ventures to some degree into the realm of currant and prune. No doubt a brilliant wine, but only time will tell if, with its elevated alcohol and its superripe flavors, this 1998 version ranks with the very best Grange vintages."
Australian Wine Companion - "Deep purple-red, it oozes blackberry, blackcurrant and licorice from every pore, the palate a sumptuously smooth velvet cushion of small black fruits. It will outlive anyone who can afford to buy it."
The Wine Advocate - "Very deep garnet in color, the 1998 Penfolds Grange has shut itself away into a closed stage at this time, offering a subdued core of blackberry preserves and blackcurrant cordial with nuances of smoked bacon, black olives, sandalwood and sweaty leather. The full bodied, taut, muscular palate is firmly structured with chewy tannins and enlivening acidity, finishing long and savory. Consider drinking it 2016 to 2030+.
Wine Enthusiast - "Though the nose on this wine is still somewhat closed, it’s still remarkable. Individual notes (apart from eucalyptus and toast) aren’t discernible; instead, it’s an intense, penetrating sensation that fills the nose. Vanilla and coffee flavors are sumptuous foils to rich blackberries on the palate, which is muscular and plush as all get-out. Finishes long, with big but soft tannins. We can’t wait to revisit it in 10–15 years, when the gems that are locked up tight now will sparkle."
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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.