Penfolds Grange

The 15 day heatwave of March 2008 will be remembered longer than the 10 day heatwave of February 2009, but their influence was profoundly different. 2008 Grange infamously escaped before the heat, but not so 2009. The result is a lavish and seductive Grange that juxtaposes generous fruit and sweet American oak with confident tannin structure, though without the finesse or longevity of the greatest vintages of the modern era. A powerful and intricately complex style layered with sweet, ripe berry compote, mixed spice, candied orange rind and dark chocolate and coconut oak, opening out to hints of game and coal steam. It’s dense, sweet-fruited and voluptuous, controlled by firm, finely poised, seamless tannins of impressive grip and presence. The first bottle dried out on the finish, while the second shone with wonderfully even line and grand persistence – such is the roulette of natural cork. A blend of 98% shiraz and 2% cabernet, hailing from the Barossa Valley (just over 80%), then McLaren Vale, and a little Clare and Magill Estate, matured for 18 months in 100% new AP John American oak. Production was smaller than 2008 and 2010, though just how much smaller is a tightly-held secret. Still cork sealed, alas. Available 1 May 2014.