Penfolds 2008 Grange
Grange is arguably Australia’s most celebrated wine and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Grange boasts an unbroken line of vintages from the experimental 1951 and clearly demonstrates the synergy between Shiraz and the soils and climates of South Australia. Penfolds Grange utilises fully-ripe, intensely-flavoured and textured Shiraz grapes. The result is a unique Australian style that is now recognised as one of 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 philosophy.
2008 was declared a vintage of two distinct halves, with well-balanced fruit at optimum baume levels achievable with an early harvest. A seamless growing season with steady, early season growth and healthy canopy development. Cool and dry conditions during the start of summer meant that vines were poised for a textbook harvest and conditions were conducive to excellent flavour, colour and phenolic development. New Year temperatures would eventually crescendo in ensuing months, dry conditions would persevere and March the 3rd served as a pivot point—cleaving the vintage into the two well defined halves resulting in a profound difference in quality of fruit picked. Old vines with balanced canopies capitalised on the perfect growing conditions preceding the heat spell. “Weighted-average vintage charts may not do justice to the South Australian harvest in 2008. Penfolds reds will.”
The palate features a muscular push/wave/affront—from start to finish. Never oppressive nor ungainly, yet captivatingly forceful. i.e. a vinous lava flow of dark licorice and malt—‘molten’, with a self-saucing chocolate pudding richness and blackberry, elderberry fruits. Pronounced tannins are unleashed, and the Clare component makes its (9%) presence felt, adding to both flavour pool and extract. Power and density naturally respectful of balance and structure.
"The wine contains 98/2% shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, and spent 19 months in new American oak hogsheads in which it finished its fermentation. Densely coloured, it has an ultra-complex bouquet, with black fruits/anise/licorice, easily dealing with the oak; a remarkable wine in every way. The balance, texture and structure are faultless, so much so that the wine achieves elegance now, many years before you would expect that quality to be commented on."
Halliday Wine Companion
98 points - James Halliday