Penfolds Collection 2014: Penfolds Grange 2010 (plus a look at the 2008, 2009 and a very special tawny)
To say that there is some hype about this new 2010 Penfolds Grange is putting it mildly.
After trying the wine, I’m wagering that there may be several…
What makes Grange so special is all about consistency – 60 years worth of wines, with even the lesser years typically looking pretty smart. Combine that with an excellent year (2010) that Peter Gago compares favourably with 1990 and you have a recipe for glory.
The Grange consistency was put under the microscope at the Penfolds Collection tasting, with not only the 2010 but also the 2008 and 2009 up for tasting.
Happily, the wines delivered even better than I expected, the 2009 looking notably more lively than I can remember, the 2008 a very different style to the 2010 but still of a very high standard (and really not far behind the 2010).
As a footnote we also had a sneak peak at the brand new 50 Year Old Rare Tawny – a super premium, amazingly packaged tawny drawn from some of the oldest stocks in the Penfolds cellar and bottled in tiny amounts.
Penfolds Grange 2008
98% Shiraz, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Magill Estate. 19 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. 14.5%. pH 3.48. TA 7g/L. $785.
It’s almost affronting how thick and rich this is – more like liquid choc coffee fruit cake than wine. Immensely rich though, carrying that consistent nose of Formic and mocha berry. That nose is just starting to look a little creaky and losing a little vibrancy but the palate intensity is off the charts! This will always be the hedonists grange, all glycerol and molasses and I can utterly appreciate its massiveness. It feels so sweet and yet not overwrought. Length goes on and on. Super impressive. 18.8/20, 95/100
Penfolds Grange 2009
98% Shiraz, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Magill Estate. 18 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. 14.5%. pH 3.53. TA 6.6g/L. $785.
Curiously this feels more raisined and coffeed and flatter than the 08. While 08 Grange has this almost impossible flood of fruit, the 09 seems more conventional, more oak framed, more winey. Still utterly impressive in its intensity and blackness but it’s also a little minty and frayed. Still a big coffeed beast and seriously that tannic length is right up there. 18.5/20, 94/100
Penfolds Grange 2010
96% Shiraz, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Magill Estate. 17 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. 14.5%. pH 3.57. TA 6.9g/L. $785.
Curious nose on this – it’s immediately more kirschy and younger than the wines before it. Like it’s from another world. Extraordinary chewy length, really choc mint fruit and youthful. Hard to believe it is just one year younger than the 09. This is an absolutely exceptional wine, the length is amongst the best Australian reds I can think of. What makes it brilliant is the texture – it’s super plush, along with the persistence of red coffeed fruit, drying tannins, utter polish and that extra layer of intensity. Looks rather more balanced than any Grange in years. 19.1/20, 97/100
Penfolds 50 year old Rare Tawny Series 2
Several of the oldest components date back to 1915. Leather label and hand-blown bottle, the top created from an original cask. Predominantly Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro and Cabernet Sauvignon. 19.7%. pH 2.95. TA 10.1g/L. Be 11.0. Circa $3500
Ahh Pure toffee and caramel treacle. Impossibly concentrated yet still looks fresh. I’m guessing the sugar is bloody huge on this. The intensity is massively off the charts. Pretty incredible wine. 18.7/20, 95/100