96% Shiraz, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and Magill Estate, matured for 20 months in new American oak hogsheads. Gloriously, splendiferously complex. There are so many layers of flavour it's labyrinthine, yet you never lose the thread, the path, of the wine. Austerity is not a term often used with Grange, but it's here, and to the benefit of the wine. 99 points, Wine Companion.
An intoxicating Grange, deeply coloured and yet vibrant, and full to the brim with inimitable character that can only be Grange. Layers of satsuma plums, blackberries and black pepper meet dark chocolate, layered with wisps of coal steam, black olive and crushed ant. There is a high sheen polish to this release, and yet it offers space and effortless poise, without a detail out of place, set off magnificently with super-fine yet confidently present tannins of grand endurance. This magic season is the ultimate proof that the even vintage pattern is over. Drink 2033-2048. 98 points, tysonstelzer.com
A blend of 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet, this is a stunning Grange which easily compares in quality to 2010 and 2012. It is big, flamboyant and hedonistic on the nose and palate -- the former is full of kirsch, mulberry, balsam and a generous dollop of purposeful VA to lift the massive aroma from the glass. The latter is equally sweet, rich and dense as it brims with saturated flavours encompassing damson, blackberry, licorice, espresso, tarmac and cola. And so it’s little or no surprise that this is also full to bursting with tannic heft and dry extract mouthfeel, all of which is expertly assuaged by refreshing acidity to keep it lithe and supple. It’s still too young to say where this will sit in the Grange pantheon, but it’s almost certainly going to be one to watch and enjoy for the next 30 to 40 years. Drinking Window 2020-2055. 98 points, John Stimpfig.
Rich, smooth nose with polished mulberry and real lift on the nose. Masses of sweetness – almost bonbons! – and then great rich depth underneath. Red fruits. Bright red powdered spices somehow. Massive chew and weight with the polished fruit struggling to cover the tannins. Something rather ecclesiastical about this. Incense? Certainly spice cabinet. Dry fresh, neat finish. Real kick. Licorice and lift. Gago maintains the 2013s have grown in the bottle. Dried spices. Brooding. 18/20, jancisrobinson.com
Very deep, dense purple/red colour, very youthful and bright. The bouquet is toasty-oaky and smoky, loaded with char oak, the palate is very firm and tight, intense and concentrated, with remarkable density and focus, precision and line. The palate is all concentrated espresso coffee, bitter dark chocolate, black fruits, char oak, the persistence amazingly long. This needs more time and will richly reward those who are patient. (Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Magill Estate. 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. 20 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads.) Drink 2022–2058. 97 points, The Real Review.
'Remember that old Heinz Ketchup “anticipation” ad from the 1970s? The palate of this 2013 Grange does just that. It makes you wait with so much delicious promise being drip fed into the mouth at first—and then it bursts forth and delivers! This vintage is a blend of 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, coming from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and Magill Estate. Very deep inky purple-black colored, the 2013 Grange has a profoundly scented nose of crème de cassis, preserved black plums, blueberry pie and licorice over nuances of baker’s chocolate, smoky bacon and fragrant earth, plus exotic spice wafts of cumin seed, cardamom, fenugreek and star anise. Unfurling and slowly building in the medium to full-bodied mouth with wonderful grace and depth, it reveals an incredible array of ripe black fruit, spice, meat and earth-inspired flavors, with a rock-solid frame to support this beauty (it should easily cellar for 40+ years!), while previously latent flavors emerge fully on the epically long finish, culminating in that ultimate Grange experience. Oh, yes.'
100 points, Lisa Perotti-Brown MW
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.