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.
There is an extraordinary chypre and warm earth note about this wine which leads the way and the fruit follows on minutes behind dutifully allowing the vine and its wood and earth to take centre stage. Like Bin 707, this is a phenomenal wine and it opens so slowly and relentlessly it is amazing. Like a silent, slow-motion, ballet troupe showing power, poise, grace and movement, this is an elite wine and it parades its anti-fruit notes as much as it does its grape-derived flavours. This points to a massive ageing potential and also the patience required to appreciate this wine at its peak which I feel might be in thirty or more years’ time. A difficult wine to assess in a score, I am tempted to give it a near perfect score because there is still the question of whether it will complete its flavour-quest before it starts to tire, but I am confident that there are enough pointers here already to reward it with another perfect score. This means that Penfolds is the first winery in the world to get two 20/20s in one single release. Drink 2040-2070.
20++/20 points, October 2018
"Taking bets now on when the Grange RRP will hit a grand. This release of Penfolds Grange was sourced from a number of South Australian regions and saw, of course, 100% new American oak. This 2014 Grange includes 2% cabernet sauvignon. I won’t go into the details but the press release includes tasting notes and, appropriately enough, the tasting note provided includes its fair share of exclamation marks. This one was my favourite (in context): “Until the next sip!”
My daughter loves baking cakes and as a result I love crushing ants. One sniff and I was in my kitchen with my daughter. There you go. It’s archetypal Grange, smooth, svelte, aristocratic, bright and dense at once, the pride of South Australia and the entire Penfolds red wine line-up all rolled and synergised into one. I see soy and I see spice, I see vanilla and various things nice, but mostly I just see quality nipped and tucked, gathered and applied in such a way that it’s perfect. I didn’t spit it out and I don’t regret it. For a second I was a better man. I read recently that the Richmond football club, on winning the 2017 AFL grand final, went to Rockpool in Melbourne and drank Grange. In fact it was the tattooed-head-to-toe-bad-boy Dustin Martin who related this story. Bay Boy Dustin Martin drinks Grange. I thought of this as I put my glass down. The cliched elite are in for a treat. 2014 Grange will not let anyone down. Drink 2024-2044+"
96 points, Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, October 2018.
Deep, dense youthful red/purple colour. The bouquet is a riot of preserved plums, mocha, smoky toasty oak - less obvious than the Granges of yore - with hints of tar and graphite. The wine is full-bodied but it's not a blockbuster. It's dense and concentrated, but not overpowering. Indeed, the wine is superbly balanced and has even a touch of elegance. The tannins are certainly abundant, with a touch of traditional Grange firmness, but it's a very easy Grange to understand and enjoy. Less likely to intimidate! 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink to 2041.
98 points, Real Review, October 2018
First made in 1951 and released every year since, it’s a blend of six premium South Australian regions led by the Barossa. The bouquet evokes mocha, preserved plum, smoky toasty oak, tar and graphite. Very concentrated, full-bodied and superbly balanced, this Grange is already remarkably accessible. Best 2021-2048+
98 points, Real Review, October 2018
"An erratic season with heat spikes and rain events, saved by cooler conditions from mid-autumn, 2014 is no blockbuster Grange, but unashamedly celebrates a more understated, spicy and structured style. Black cherry and satsuma plum fruit is supported masterfully by a firm, fine chassis of long-enduring tannins. This is no inky, brooding Grange, but rather a vintage that celebrates space and refinement. It’s none the less for it and lacks nothing in consummate line and unrelenting persistence. It won’t make headlines but it will make for a great drink, and for that, I admire it greatly. Drink 2034-2044."
97 points, Tyson Stelzer, October 2018.
Fruit from Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Wrattonbully, Coonawarra, Clare Valley, Magill Estate. 98% Shiraz, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. (2011 was the last vintage to be without Cabernet Sauvignon.) This is the first ever Grange to have Wrattonbully fruit – 8%. They’re celebrating. 20 months in new American oak hogsheads. Good winter rainfall. There were heat spikes through summer, with temperatures reaching 43 ºC on 2 February. By mid-autumn, the weather had settled down to generally cooler conditions, optimal for slow ripening. TA 6.7 g/l, pH 3.6. Smoky barbecue notes. Great grip and intensity and drama. Round and very exciting. Throbs forever. Great top note of dried herbs. Sweetness isn’t the dominant character. Different! Peter Gago is very proud of how distinctive this is and says you can maybe compare it with 2004. Very vibrant.14.5% Drink 2020-2050.
18.5 points, Jancis Robinson MW, October 2018.
"Undeniably Grange in its approach from start to finish, a powerful band of 98 per cent shiraz and 2 per cent cabernet from six SA regions that has spent 20 months in 100 per cent new American oak hogshead barrels. It’s all rich, black fruit flesh seasoned with savoury dark spices and notes of cut down olive bushes and sage in the flavour zone. It’s solid gold Grange in body as well as soul, yet chamfered and measured, even subtly minerally but with no hard edges. It’s a waiting game now like always — drink now in an hour of power or for a special celebration in 10-25 years."
98 points, Tony Love, October 2018.
Rich, concentrated and intense, the 2014 Grange delivers exactly what we've come to expect from this Penfolds icon wine. It's full-bodied, velvety in feel and loaded with plummy fruit, framed in vanilla and cedar. Dense, powerful and tannic, it should prove to be long-lived, even by Grange standards. Gago doesn't rate the vintage overall that highly, but he says the selection this year for Grange was a bit more stringent and that production levels were just average. There are still over 1,000 cases for the United States. Drink 2025-2050.
98 points, Wine Advocate, October 2018.
"Deep colour. Beautiful crushed blackberry, mulberry aromas with roasted chestnut, marzipan, mocha oak and liquorice, crème de caramel nuances. Richly flavoured velvety textured wine with dense blackberry, mulberry, dark plum fruits, fine plentiful chocolaty but vigorous tannins, abundant roasted chestnut, mocha, nougat oak. Finishes chocolaty firm with bittersweet notes, and sustained mineral length. Impressively balanced wine with lovely density, energy and meaty complexity. A classic example of exceptional multi-vineyard sourcing including Wrattonbully for the very first time. Penfolds winemaking philosophy is the ascendant star in this wine. While in the shadow of three successive great years, this “sleeper” Grange vintage has the potential to surprise. 97 points - 14.5% 2025-2060."
97 points, Andrew Caillard MW, October 2018.
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.