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November 12, 2014

New Release of Penfolds Grange 2010

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We are delighted to offer the exclusive and very exciting release of Penfolds Grange 2010, a wine considered to be the best Shiraz in the world. In 2008 Penfolds Grange received its first 100 point score from the Wine Advocate, selling out across the globe and rising to above £2,000 a six bottle case. Unlike most of the world’s great wines, Penfolds releases their whole production in one go, thereafter, allowing the market to naturally set the benchmark price. The exact number of cases produced a year is a closely guarded secret, although in most vintages it is less than 5,000.

The 2010 vintage has become legendary across almost all fine wine producing regions. Penfolds, in the Barossa Valley, has not disappointed with their flagship Grange, producing a wine that received an initial score of 99 points from the Wine Advocate and a stunning first 100 point score from James Suckling. Like the great 2008 vintage, 2010 was also a very warm year in South Australia, however 2010 received a healthier proportion of rain and therefore the wine has more freshness and structure. This along with Suckling’s 100 points, suggests Grange 2010 is their joint greatest ever effort and a wine to secure now before it becomes more expensive and hard to source, circa the current price of the 2008 and beyond.

Penfolds Grange is broadly considered as the greatest Shiraz in the world; the best wine from Australia; its story is fascinating and as special as the wine itself. Penfolds Grange Hermitage, as it was known then, would have been abandoned had it not been for the unrelenting belief of its creator Max Schubert. In the 1950s the Australian wine industry was largely trying to make dry red wine from very raw materials, using grapes cultivated for port style wine production. Most Australians exclusively drank Port or Sherry and table wines made up only 10% of the market.

In 1950 Max spent a vintage in Bordeaux, experiencing their wines and tasting claret as old as 50 years. On his return Max was determined to assemble a wine to rival the Grand Crus of Bordeaux and like its counterparts, age for 50 years. However Max did not use Bordeaux blends, instead opting for Shiraz, moreover he recognised Shiraz’s affinity for American oak and therefore, chose to use American oak barrels in place of French. His other innovation was to use simple refrigeration to slow Grange’s fermentation and thereby mimicking the cold October conditions apparent in Bordeaux wineries.
In 1956 he unveiled his polemic new wine, Grange Hermitage only to be told by a gaggle of senior managers that the wine was unsellable and he was immediately instructed to stop making it: fortunately Max, the visionary, continued in secret. In 1962, after realising its then clandestine quality, Penfolds entered Grange Hermitage into international competitions and since then it has won 50 gold medals. Today it is just known as Grange and has been almost unbeatable in wine shows and competitions ever since. In fact Grange boasts 51 unbroken vintages and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia.

Contrastingly, most cult wines are made from single vineyard plots or blocks, however, Grange is made from grapes harvested over a large area. As such the exact composition changes every year and Penfolds mercilessly picks all the very best grapes from their vineyards. This process also minimises vintage variation and has led to a general acceptance that Grange is one of the most consistent of the world’s greatest wines. The wine spends 18-20 months in 300 litre American oak barrels and is only released to market five years after the vintage. Only 1,800 bottles were made of the 1951 vintage, most of which Max gave away; one of these bottle sold in an auction in 2004 for A$50,000 (£28,000).

Penfolds Grange 2010 - 6×75 - £1,770 IB or £2,138.76 incl duty and VAT 

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 99 points
The 2010 Grange is a 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 96% Shiraz blend made from Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Magill Estate fruit that was aged 17 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. Very deep purple-black in color, this is classic Grange – amongst the finest produced – replete with fresh, vibrant and youthful black fruit notes showing some blueberry aromas and accents of camphor, anise and the slightest floral hint plus a whiff of oak in the background to lend a cedar-laced lift to this textbook Shiraz nose. Medium to full-bodied in the mouth, it is very taut and finely constructed showing typically firm, grainy, uniform tannins, great concentration and wonderful persistence on the finish. If I have any very slight complaint of this near perfect wine it is that it seems a little too clinical and appears to speak less of the land and the heart of South Australia and more of the very skilled winemaking than did the Grange from the magical 2008 vintage. Drink 2022-2040

James Suckling, 100 points
The 2010 Grange arrives with much expectation and does not disappoint. This is a powerhouse, structurally superior to both the 2009 and 2008 vintages and breathtakingly dense, long and precise. The nose has cola, blackberry, vanillin, hard brown spices of all kinds, coal smoke, meaty charcuterie elements and a strong tarry, savory note that speaks of the 85% Barossa Valley componentry. The palate has super deep tannins that fan out through flavorsome black fruits. These are purposeful tannins; they bristle on the palate, tantalizing and assertive yet playful, strong not aggressive. The power here is the thing; this has mouth-coating density and terrific drive, so tightly coiled, it gives enough away to suggest a very, very long cellaring wine is here. This is a classic Grange that will please the serious collectors. A wine of genuine pedigree. Better in 2026

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