Hot on the heels of the 2014, this vintage brings yet another perfect score. Jeb Dunnuck calls it “one of those rare wines that blends power and elegance perfectly,” while James Suckling notes the “immense richness and depth with a super succulent and very long, fleshy, deeply weighted array of dense, velvet-wrapped tannins...” This is a wine that grabs hold of you and, once it gets a grip, you’re going to hope it never lets go!
Penfolds has a very long and meandering history, and represents generations of winemaking knowledge in action. In 1844, Dr. Christopher and Mary Penfold planted vineyards at Magill Estate near Adelaide. The first Penfolds wines, from the 1800s, were made from newly established vineyards around Adelaide and made for the enjoyment of new South Australian colonists. During the first part of the 20th century, Penfolds gradually added significant acreage and became a household name across Australia. It exported table and fortified wines throughout the Commonwealth. After a visit to France in 1950, Penfolds chief winemaker Max Schubert dreamed bigger, wanting to dramatically expand the winery’s export presence, as the French had. The iconic Penfolds Grange came forth in 1951, leading to a remarkable parade of wines that would bring Penfolds wines worldwide acclaim for their richness, consistency, and longevity.
Much anticipated vintage for Grange and it is a powerhouse of concentration and complexity. Aromas of orange and lemon peel to start, then graphite, blackberries, plum paste, black cherries, boundless sweet oak spice, fresh cedar, tar, mahogany, roasted coffee and chocolate - the list goes on. Such complexity. Classic Grange, offering such deep, dark intensity. The palate has immense richness and depth with a super succulent and very long, fleshy, deeply weighted array of dense, velvet-wrapped tannins that run so long. The fruit flavors sit in the blackberry, blood-plum and blueberry zone with succulent, long and assertive structure, carrying through in an utterly seamless mode. The finish is tightly wrenched, in spectacularly powerful style, locking this wine in for a very long haul. Best from 2030.
The flagship 2015 Grange is a monster of wine and one of those rare wines that blends power and elegance perfectly. Revealing a saturated purple color, it’s seemingly more forward and seductive than past great vintages, which I suspect is due to the incredible purity of fruit as well as the wine’s flawless balance than any change in winemaking or stylistic shifts. I also think the acidity is healthy, and the 2015 tips the scales at 14.5% alcohol, which is certainly in the sweet spot, if not tame, for beautifully ripe Syrah these days. A blend of 98% Shiraz and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon that spent 20 months in new American oak hogsheads, it offers an extraordinary perfume of sweet crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, camphor, Asian spices, licorice, and wildflowers. This is followed by a full-bodied, powerful yet incredibly seamless and elegant Shiraz that has no hard edges, a big, dense mid-palate, ripe tannins, and a great finish. Coming close to rivaling the 1986, which has always been a benchmark vintage of Grange for me, the 2015 offers a more polished, elegant, approachable style. Vintage comparisons aside, this is a legendary example of Grange in the making. The savvy wine lovers out there will give this 7-8 years of bottle age (I’ll probably be out of bottles by then) and enjoy over the following 2-3 decades.
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.