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October 10, 2013

The great Penfolds 100% Shiraz wines

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Penfolds Grange 2008, 100 points Wine Advocate – £2050 (6×75) IB
The Barossa Valley is famous for Shiraz; home to Penfolds Grange the greatest new world shiraz and the story of how it rose to such acclaim is noteworthy. In 1951 Max Schubert created an experimental wine by bottling Shiraz after fermenting in American oak, he called it Grange Hermitage. In 1956 he unveiled this polemic new wine but was immediately instructed to stop making it, fortunately, he continued in secret. In 1962, after realising its then clandestine quality Penfolds entered their Grange Hermitage into international competitions and since then it has won 50 Gold medals: today it just known as Grange. Penfolds Grange is hugely popular in Asia, which is its biggest market, benefiting from geographical proximity. In 2008 it scored 100 points from the Wine Advocate and the Wine Spectator and is available for £2,050 for a case of six bottles. This is their greatest ever vintage, in short supply and a must have collectible item. In fact Grange boasts 51 unbroken vintages and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Global demand is quickly outstripping supply, this is a truly great wine and while already expensive it is set to rise in value. It displays extraordinary complexity, concentration and the potential to age for 40 years.

Deep purple-black in color, the 2008 Grange puts forward a very complex nose packed with aromas of mulberries, layers of baking spices, cloves and cinnamon with nuances of minced meat, anise, potpourri and whiffs of dried mint and chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, taut and very spicy in the mouth, it shows touches of sandalwood and Chinese five spice complementing the layers of dark fruit flavors. It is framed by firm, grainy tannins and a refreshing acid line before finishing very long with aniseed and lingering blackberry preserves notes. This is clearly a wonderfully opulent and a magic vintage for this label. Drink it from 2018 to 2035+. Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Penfolds Magill 2010, 94+ points Wine Advocate – £340 (6×75) IB
The Penfolds’ range offers several wines which are set to benefit from Grange’s rise and rise. In particular their Magill Estate is special. This was Penfolds original vineyard established in 1844 by Dr Christopher Rawson and Mary Penfold, like Grange it is heritage protected. The small 5.34 hectare plot is a single vineyard found in the middle of the Adelaide suburbs, the plot has extraordinary red-brown soils and extremely old vines, which are hand pruned and hand harvested. It forms the vanguard of their luxury range and is priced extremely competitively for its quality; like Grange this is sealed with cork and the wine will age for decades. Magill Estate does not disappoint and in 2010 scored 94+ points which with the 2008 is its highest score to date. For £340 for a case of six bottles this offers two things: the opportunity to drink a world class Shiraz which is one of the leading wines in the Penfolds Estate and a wine which is set to appreciate in value, it is presently massively undervalued against it peers and for its quality.

The 2010 Magill Estate Shiraz is deep garnet-purple in color and shows ripe cassis, blackberry and plum preserve aromas highlighted by lifted notes of roses, chocolate box and a touch of cedar. Medium to full-bodied, it is packed with rich, concentrated and refined flavors and framed with medium-firm, grainy tannins through the long finish. It should go on and on for a long time. Drink it from 2014 to 2026+. Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Penfolds Bin150 2010, 91+ point Wine Advocate – £165 (6×75) IB
In terms of value for money Bin 150 ticks all the boxes, it offers a wine that can be bought for under £30 a bottle, a rarity amongst the leading wines in the Penfold Range. The hamlet of Marananga lies close to the centre of the Barossa Valley floor, where dry conditions and rich red soils facilitate a focused and fruit concentrated wine. It is aged in French and American oak, both new and old and produces a wine with a powerful nose of Juniper berry, coffee, tar, smoke, pepper and intense black fruits. The palate has liquorice, chocolate, amaretto and pistachio, finishing with an extraordinary berried pannacotta flavour. This wine will age for at least 5 years but offer immense pleasure now.

Very deep purple-black in color, the 2010 Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz is aged using a 50/50 French and American oak regime. It has a core of crushed blackberries and blueberries fused with aromatic notes of cloves, licorice, spices, chocolate box and a whiff of vanilla. Full-bodied and rich, it is crisp, concentrated and structured with medium to firm, velvety tannins. It finishes spicy and long with a little warmth in the finish. Drink it now to 2022+. Lisa Perrotti-Brown

The Penfolds range can be tricky and confusing; the wines have names like London Buses and come from a mixture of single vineyards, multi-regional blends and sub-regional blends. They are however, some of the greatest Shirazs in the world. If you do not own any Penfolds or have not tried them we have selected what we think to be the greatest they have to offer at three different price points, these are great wines and available in limited quantities so do not miss out.