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 ruby hue. Complex aromas of cedar chest, mulberry, blackberry and liquorice lead into a rich full bodied palate displaying deep set sweet red and black plum with nuances of cedar, liquorice and spice. Powerfully structured and seamless balanced by a backbone of beautifully polished tannins, finishing wonderfully long and persistent. Very young and elemental, yet already showing glimpses of its full potential with a great future ahead. Drink 2030-2050.
Betwixt two great Grange vintages, 2009 will always be seen as a dark horse. It reminds me of the 1963 vintage which was finally recognised during the 1990s as a great year. This is classic Grange with intense dark chocolate, dark berry, panforte, licorice aromas and meaty barrel-ferment complexity. It's robust in style with deep set panforte, dark fruit, Turkish Delight flavours, dense, chalky but sinuous textures, superb mid-palate richness and plenty of new vanilla, coconut oak notes. It finishes chocolaty-firm and sweet-fruited. Its surprisingly approachable, but this has the density, generosity, tension and structure to go the full half-century distance. 96 points, Langton's.
The 2009 Grange Shiraz is a comprised of 84% Barossa, 8% McLaren, and a little Clare Valley and a little Magill fruit with a small 2% of cabernet sauvignon in the blend. At this youthful stage, this deep garnet-purple coloured wine puts forward a vivid expression of blackberry preserve aromas amid underlying cassis, black cherry, spice box, char-grilled meat and chocolate box notes. Surprisingly medium to full-bodied (it smells much fuller!) with taut flavours that are very closed in the mouth, it has firm, chewy tannins to structure through the long and earthy finish. Drink it 2018 to 2035+ 97 points, erobertparker.com
Betwixt two great Grange vintages, 2009 will always be seen as a dark horse. It reminds me of the 1963 vintage which was finally recognised during the 1990s as a great year. This is classic Grange with intense dark chocolate, dark berry, panforte, licorice aromas and meaty barrel ferment complexity. It's robust in style with deep set panforte, dark fruit, Turkish Delight flavours, dense, chalky but sinuous textures, superb mid-palate richness and plenty of new vanilla, coconut oak notes. It finishes chocolatey firm and sweet fruited. Its surprisingly approachable, but this has the density, generosity, tension and structure to go the full half-century distance. 96 points, Langton's.
Clear orange peel notes. Intense fruit. A melt of tannin. Oak makes an impression but is tremendously well integrated. Vanilla, soy, orange, saturated plum, licorice and leather. Super seductive. A sweet-fruited delicacy. Indeed for pure or indeed young-ish drinking pleasure I prefer it over the 2008. I like the highlights, the pillowy softness, the remarkable integration of fruit, oak, and tannin. This is a less caricatured Grange, less obvious, less heavy and more approachable as a result. 95 points, winefront.com.au
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.
97 points, Wine Companion (February 2014)
A tiny 2% Cabernet component in 2009, this is sourced from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Magill Estate and has spent 18 months in exclusively new American oak hogsheads. The depth and complexity on offer is straight up impressive, blue and black fruit aromas unwind, meaty at times, some dark green herbal notes and a cedary layer of oak lurking below. The palate has a core of essence-like flavour with plenty of oak-derived spice framed around blackberry, blood plum and cola. Tannins are smooth and even, flavours are gently glazed around the dark fruit spectrum, some blue fruits too. This is a wistful Grange that, as always, faithfully reflects the vintage.
95 points, jamessuckling.com (March 2014)
Clear orange peel notes. Intense fruit. A melt of tannin. Oak makes an impression but is tremendously well integrated. Vanilla, soy, orange, saturated plum, licorice and leather. Super seductive. A sweet-fruited delicacy. Indeed for pure or indeed young-ish drinking pleasure I prefer it over the 2008. I like the highlights, the pillowy softness, the remarkable integration of fruit, oak, and tannin. This is a less caricatured Grange, less obvious, less “heavy”, and more approachable as a result.
94 points, The Wine Front (February 2014)
(98% shiraz and 2% cabernet sauvignon): Inky ruby. Intense spice- and mineral-accented aromas of cherry pit, blackberry and plum, with smoke and floral qualities adding complexity. Taut and linear on entry, then fleshier in the mid-palate, offering zesty dark fruit and violet pastille flavors and hints of licorice and vanilla. Finishes smoky, spicy and very long, with youthfully firm, building tannins adding grip. In a relatively taut, wound-up style for this wine; by all means give it some age.
94 points, Vinous (July 2014)
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.