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Thursday 5 October 2017

Sensorially saturated: meet the 2013 Penfolds Grange

The release of a new Penfolds Grange and other premium Penfolds wines always creates a lot of hype. In the case of the 2013 Grange - to be released officially on October 19 - that hype is more than justified. 

Spectacular even in its youth, I scored the new Grange 99/100. For someone who is regarded as a low-scorer that is a statement.

A blend of 96% shiraz and 4% cabernet sauvignon, the fruit is sourced from the Barossa, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and the Magill Estate vineyard. The wine spent 20 months in new American oak hogsheads and has 14.5% alcohol. 

My notes: One of the greatest Granges I have tasted; monumentally good on release even when sipped alongside the excellent 2012. A vinous supermodel with not a hair out place but with a disarmingly cheeky grin. Unlike many other young Granges this is enjoyable in its youth, but that should not diminish its cellaring potential. Feisty, black and muscular with superb stucture. This is super-impressive."   

It is anomaly that the new-release shines from an odd year. The vast majority of truly great Granges have been from even years, including 1990, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago (shown below at the tasting) says that the 2013 is one of the finest to be made under his watch.

“The 2012 was very well received by the wine media and trade but, in tastings to date, most are putting the 2013 just a whisker ahead,” he said. His notes, robustly florid as usual, say the wine is "sensorially saturated, verging on the overwhelmingly generous....a flavour tsunami".

The 2013 Grange is the 63rd consecutive vintage of Australia’s most famous wine, which has become a global icon and fiercely sought-after by collectors around the world.

So much in demand are the wines that fakes have become commonplace in China and other places. A selection of wines in the new collection are now conserved in a new signature bottle bearing Penfolds historical markings (shown below) - and Grange will join them next year. 

All the Penfolds premium releases were tasted by wine media (in Australia the tasting was held at Magill Estate) several weeks ago and notes were under embargo until today. 

Nowadays, a bottle of new-release Grange will fetch around $850 a bottle - meaning keen buyers may well find better value among others of the batch of new releases. I'll take a look at the best of these over the weekend. 

The Penfolds Collection 2017 is available at fine wine stores globally and Penfolds cellar doors from October 19. See 

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