Penfolds Bin 95 Grange Shiraz is Australia's most famous wine with a reputation for superb fruit complexity and flavour richness. An exquisitely perfumed, concentrated wine, Penfolds Bin 95 Grange Shiraz combines the intensely rich fruit and ripe tannins of Shiraz with the fragrance and complementary nuances of new, fine-grained American oak. A portion of Cabernet Sauvignon is used in some years to enhance the aromatics and palate structure.
Deep purple crimson colour. Fresh liquorice/ cola/ blackberry/ mocha/ herb garden aromas and malty new oak. Deep set blackberry/ sweet fruit/ mocha/ herb flavours, fine slinky dry - slightly grippy tannins, malty/ toasty oak. Finishes chocolaty al-dente firm. Quite brambly. Very elemental and muscular with underlying sweet fruit. Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Magill Estate. 98% Shiraz 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 21 months maturation in new American oak hogsheads. Andrew Caillard, MW
Dense, powerful and youthful wine that is surprisingly accessible, thanks to luscious sweet fruit and a sensitive structure of ripe tannins. Still has unrevealed depths. 2% Cabernet. 100% new oak.
96 points, The Real Review (February 2012)
Full crimson, with a purple rim; a 98/2% blend of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon that exudes power and authority; the bouquet is already complex, the American oak making an impact as it always does when Grange is in its youth, the palate with multiple layers of predominantly black fruits; the tannins, like the oak, need to soften, and should do so well before the fruit starts to fade. Follows the Grange pattern, with 21 months in the 100% new American oak in which it finished its fermentation. A good grange, but not a great one.
95 points, Wine Companion (February 2012)
Opaque ruby. A heady, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes cherry compote, cassis, violet, pipe tobacco and smoky, vanillin oak. Deeply pitched dark fruit flavors show liqueur-like power, with floral pastille, licorice and spicecake nuances building in the glass. Tannins come up with air but are quickly absorbed by this wine's lush fruit. Smoky and sweet on the finish, which lingers with outstanding persistence.
95 points, Vinous (July 2012)
The hallmark of Grange is assertiveness, and this release is that. It doesn’t take a backward step. Its tannin peddles as hard as it can to thread its way into the fruit. Its oak – spicy, slippery, creamy – has settled beautifully into the dense, robust, blackberry-and-plum fruit. Some pepper notes too – unusually for a young Grange. I wouldn’t call it complex but then, in Grange terms it’s an infant. I guess I liked what I tasted of this release, but not enough to get me excited. It’s not a poor Grange; it’s big on delivery; but it’s not a charming one either. All it’s joy and charm will come, hopefully, when it’s old.
94 points, The Wine Front (April 2012)
21 months in American Oak. Black and garnet coloured. Menacing to look at. Bouquet closed but revealing hints – lots of hints. Wild brambly black currants, cassis, floral notes, cedar, cigar box, the tool shed of exotic spice. Where complex bouquets wish they could go. Richly flavoured palate, supple and elegant almost, yet still a massive mouthcoating presence showing an ilk of medium weight but offers clobbering concentration and intensity. Jumble. Has punching tannins that build and molest and then drag the wine long, and into dusty spice and grip – fruit feels just that bit dried out. A tightly wound wine, needs to open and reveal more. One of the true keepers though. Incredible focus and length, but a wine in stasis. Hard to look at now, but do if you can.
94+ points, The Wine Front (April 2012)
Deep red colour, purple tints and rim. Almost shockingly chocolaty aroma, not detailed or complex, dense and rustic, concentrated and chewy, thick and mouth-coating. Loads of oak, cleverly infused into the wine, which is massive, tannic and thick. Typical Grange density and solidity. A biggie and not terribly subtle, but no doubt will mellow out nicely in time.
93 points, The Real Review (March 2012)
South Australia is the driest state on the world’s driest continent. Covering almost 1 million (984 377km) square kilomteres, it represents 12.8% of the Australian land mass. Sweeping plains are intersected by a spine of relatively low lying ranges, the Mount Lofty/Flinders Ranges which extend through the heart of the State. Over 50% of the state is elevated at under 150 metres. The Great Artesian basin covers almost one-third of the State. The major river is the River Murray which lethargically makes its way into the Southern Ocean. This water mass has a moderating effect on climate, particularly in the southern regions of South Australia where most vines are planted.
Summers are generally hot and dry with relatively mild nights. Winters are cool. Rainfall occurs mostly during late autumn/winter (May, June, July, August). Drought and salinity are major concerns.
The principle wine regions in South Australia are; the Adelaide Hills, Barossa (comprising the Barossa and Eden Valleys), Clare Valley, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Padthaway, Coonawarra and the Riverland. Vineyard expansion has also extended to Wrattonbully, Mount Benson, Bordertown, Robe, Southern Fleurieu and the Flinders Ranges.
It is a tradition for many wine companies to make multi-district blends from South Australian fruit – the idea of house style taking precedence over regional definition. Penfolds pioneered this concept. The vagaries of vintage variation can be evened out by fruit selection, ensuring quality at a high level. However there is debate that this concept comes at the expense of the ‘soul’ of the wine. Penfolds Grange is probably the most famous multi-district blend and is an excellent counter-argument.Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's
Penfolds is probably the most extraordinary of the world’s wine brands with an enviable reputation for quality at every price level. The original Penfold was an English doctor who, in 1844, planted grapes at Magill, now a suburb of Adelaide. However, it was not until the late 1940s that Penfolds began to forge a reputation for red wine.
The Penfolds house style emerged from a fortified wine producing culture and evolved as a winemaking philosophy which has had a profound effect on the entire Australian wine industry. Many of the techniques initially adopted to make Penfolds Grange would become part of the wider Penfolds winemaking culture. The number of techniques employed in the research and development of Penfolds wines is astonishing. Max Schubert and his team pioneered: major advances in yeast technology and paper chromatography; the understanding and use of pH in controlling bacterial spoilage; the use of headed down/submerged cap fermentation and the technique of rack and return; cold fermentation practices; the use of American oak as a maturation vessel and perhaps most critically, partial barrel fermentation. Nowadays, the use of American oak and barrel fermentation for instance is considered traditional Barossa winemaking practice!
Today, Penfolds house style embraces the concept of multi-regional blending, optimum fruit quality, the use of fine-grained American or French oak, barrel fermentation and maturation. Overall, the Penfolds style is about highly-defined fruit aromas, fruit sweetness, ripe tannins, richness, power and concentration. The number of iconic wines that have emerged from the Penfolds stable over the years is remarkable. Bin 389 a Cabernet Shiraz blend released in 1960 is now considered the quintessential Australian wine blend. Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz and Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz released in 1962 pre-empted the contemporary enthusiasm for regional definition by about 25 years. Improved vineyard management, site selection and winemaking brought about subsequent releases of Bin 707 and Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Penfolds Wine Making Philosophy is the accumulation of more than half-a-century of knowledge and winemaking practice initiated by Max Schubert and subsequently refined by Don Ditter, John Duval and Peter Gago. Their collective commitment to multi-regional and vineyard blending contributed to a consistency of style and quality that has cemented Penfolds reputation as the foremost producer of premium age-worthy red wines in Australia.