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.
Ned Goodwin MW and Langton’s Head of Domestic Buying Ramon Gunasekara discuss the newly released Icons, including Grange and St. Henri, from the Penfolds Collection 2020.
Revealingly, what initially appear to be reticent repressed fruits... soon overtly ascend –- blackberry blackcurrant, fig, rhubarb, quince. A follow-up emission of black olive, shaved truffle, vanillin, boot polish, cola, ristretto coffee... with oak all but soaked up. Proper, pronounced and peripheral grippy tannins input texturally, endorsing what is already a formidable structure, with impressive length, depth and weight. Lively, assured... not trying too hard to be something it isn’t.
Peter Gago, Chief Winemaker, Penfolds.
From the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Magill Estate, 17 months in 100% new American hogsheads. It is balanced, supple and pretty, against all odds at peace with its oak.
93 points, Wine Companion (September 2015)
2011 was of course a difficult, uncharacteristically rainy vintage in South Australia and particularly Barossa, but thanks to Penfolds’ privileged position with access to some of the region’s best fruit, they have nonetheless been able to blend an impressive Grange. Still sourced mainly from Barossa Valley, there’s a good dollop of McLaren Vale fruit (21%) – a region less affected by the rains in 2011 - contributing to this vintage. Interestingly, it is the 6th vintage ever to consist of 100% Shiraz, mainly because the Cabernet Sauvignon didn't make the grade this year. (Note that no Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 2011.) Deep purple colored, in typical fashion the nose of the 2011 Grange is still closed at this youthful stage with broody tar and pepper laced notes over a core of blackberries, black plums, licorice and loam. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is taut and muscular with pepper and baking spice flavors supported by firm, grainy tannins. The finish has great length, contributing a refreshing lift.
93 points, Wine Advocate (September 2015)
(raised in new American oak hogsheads for 17 months): Deep ruby. Fragrant aromas of spice- and smoke-accented dark berries and cherry pit. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering subtly sweet bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors with hints of vanilla and mocha. Fine-grained tannins give structure to the long, penetrating finish, which leaves toasty oak and licorice notes behind. While nobody should confuse this edition of Grange with the legendary bottlings of years past, it's an impressive effort for such a cold, rainy vintage. Production of this Australian icon was 50% of normal in 2011.
93 points, Vinous (March 2016)
A well-executed Grange in what must have been a stressful vintage, this has some good richness and concentration, the oak sits cedary but fruit is up to the task, dark berries in all shapes and sizes here, cola and sarsaparilla too, redder nuances, vanillin and liquorice. The palate's built in layers, really deep-set concentrated powerful fruit with some measure, good balance and depth, stylishly tailored structure and a polite, measured finish. Not a blockbuster in Grange terms, but this is a very good wine with clear Penfolds DNA. Balanced, not forced, Mr. Gago defintely gets an A for effort here.
93 points, jamessuckling.com (January 2016)
It’s certainly shows the wet, cool year in its medium weight and washy texture. The perfume took a while to get going; big swirls shook off some of the peanut-meets-cedar-meets-clove oak and revealed ripe, dark berry scents and some dark chocolate bitter sweetness. Texture is good, tannins settle through the wine in web of chalky pucker. There’s a hollow kind of feeling to the wine though you get the feeling there’s layers and seriousness to it too. It’s dark, deep fruit that echoes through the wine, touch of spice, lots of polished nougat and clove oak presence. In the end, it’s got some class, drinks well now-ish, but also feels a bit underpowered to fit its frame. It’s honest, it’s good.
92+ points, The Wine Front (September 2015)
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.