Penfolds Grange 2006
Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia
The 1990 vintage of this wine was ranked #1 on the Wine Spectator's Top 10 Wines of 1995
Deep blood-red, dense core color. On the nose, very Penfolds, very Barossa, very Grange! Scents, now five years in the making, weave their charm – this aromatic quilt's first-noted brightest colours are panforte fig and quince paste alongside cured/smoked meats (pastrami?). Its fabric is meshed with spice – cinnamon, vanillin pod, nutmeg and black pepper – tempered by teppanyaki sauces, amaretto/almond. A dark thread connects – black liquorice, olive & fresh Arabica coffee-bean and soy. Background nutty oak (Brazil nut) beneath, yet barely noticed. On the palate, freshness and balance are welcomed, yet confuse… a few sips remind of the oft-used reference ‘iron fist in a velvet glove'. All is not as it seems! Firm throughout and across palate – reverent tannins and oak convey & propel flavours of slow-roasted lamb (avec jus), dark chocolate, cola, maraschino, with a menthol/rosemary lift to finish. Alluringly, a plush satin/cashmere mouthfeel compounds the initial confusion – accessible, yet poised to evolve and complex over many decades.
98% Shiraz, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon
The Wine Advocate - "Made from fruit coming predominantly from the Barossa Valley this year (97%) and containing 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2006 Grange has been added to my list of favorite recent vintages. Deep garnet-purple colored, it’s still a little youthfully mute, offering notes of warm cherries, black currants, anise, coffee and toast with underlying hints of soy, yeast extract, black olives and Indian spices. Tight-knit and solidly structured on the medium to full bodied palate, the concentrated fruit is densely coiled around the firm grainy tannins and very crisp acidity at this stage, but promises something very special in the years to come. It finishes very long, complex and layered with the cedar poking though the fruit purity. Patience is required for this vintage; it should begin opening out around 2016 and drink to 2030+.
Australian Wine Companion - "Still deep crimson; its bouquet sets the scene for the strikingly complex array of black characters that run all the way through the wine from the first whiff to the finish and aftertaste: anise, licorice, tar, bitter chocolate, blackberry, prune and peppercorns. The tannins are prominent, and play their part with each successive sip of the steadily building impact on the very long palate, but they are in balance with the fruit and oak of an extremely powerful Grange. Great future."
Wine & Spirits - "As chief winemaker, Peter Gago has made his mark on several of the newer Penfolds wines, including RWT and Yattarna. The style of Grange, with one of the longest track records of any South Australian red, is slower to evolve—but it does change, and the style of this 2006 makes it the clearest Gago Grange yet. Part of that is the vintage; part of that is what Gago did with the vintage. This wine doesn’t shout; it purrs. Nor does it sit still. It rolls around over raspberry bliss, under a supple caress of tannins, through an earthy chocolate and mushroom savor. The dynamic structure involves all the elements in a tangle of youthful energy, the old-vine fruit achieving something close to perfection in its form. New oak dominates at this early stage of its evolution, but this is set to become a great Grange. "
Wine Enthusiast - "Not quite the massive monster that is the 2004 Grange, the 2006 is still no shrinking violet. It's full bodied, muscular and extracted, and while the flavors veer towards expresso and dark chocolate, there's also a ribbon of raspberry fruit running through the wine from start to long, dusty finish. Drink 2015-2025, and probably beyond."
International Wine Cellar - "Deep ruby. Highly aromatic nose offers black raspberry, cherry pit, potpourri and minerals. Dense, lush and sweet but very energetic, offering spicy red and dark berry, dark chocolate, rose pastille and licorice flavors complemented by spicy, sweet oak. Shows bitter chocolate and cherry-cola nuances on the extremely persistent, spice-accented finish. This should be approachable on the young side."
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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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.