Penfolds 2009 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.
In 2009, near-optimum rainfall over winter, followed by dry, mild conditions over spring provided a good environment for budburst and an ideal start to the growing season with canopies developing well. Climatic conditions favoured flowering and set with mild and calm weather, however there was some shatter in Shiraz across parts of the state resulting in small crops for many regions. Some early to mid-December summer rainfall was followed by conditions drying up very quickly and continuing until the end of February. Summer was hot with some extreme heat but cool conditions returned in February and March, allowing the fruit to ripen across a long harvest with balanced acidities and excellent tannin ripeness. An elegant, yet still powerful follow up to the conditions brought about in the preceding 2008 vintage.
A palate which is captivating/tempting/alluring – yet another subtle variation on the theme/expression of this thing called Grange. Voluptuous and generous, yet poised and harmonious. Assured, and not attempting to overstate its weight/extract/presence. Immediately apparent flavours of chocolate, mocha, cola and juicy plum entwine and converge toward the panforte impression aromatically sensed earlier. Tight and defined, with excellent grip – savoury/tannic. These tannins are both integrated and balanced, colluding with 100% new oak that is all but completely absorbed.
"From the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Magill Estate, 98% shiraz and 2% cabernet sauvignon; it finished its fermentation in 100% new American oak hogsheads and was matured therein for 18 months. Peter Gago has commented it is not as 'Barossa-ish' as the '08, and it's true the bouquet has fragrant sweet and savoury spices, the palate with licorice and black fruits, oak riding high, but guaranteed to be relegated to second place as the wine comes into balance around '30."
Halliday Wine Companion
97 points - James Halliday