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.
Deep, glass-staining red/purple colour with a very walnutty oak-driven aroma, coconutty too. It's raw and singular, with almonds and various types of nuts leading the way. Cinnamon and nutmeg, blueberries and violets, too. It's an elegant Grange, very full-bodied but not the blockbuster we have seen in recent vintages. Tannins are abundant but soft and quite fine-grained, the finish long-lasting and harmonious. A very smart Grange.
96 points, The Real Review (July 2019)
Distinctive and powerful, yet elegant, showing restraint despite the dense and generous flavors. Precise notes of dark chocolate, maraschino cherry and toasted coconut complement the core of wild blackberry and blueberry fruit. The tannins are smooth, and the finish persists as hints of dried lavender and white pepper linger.
97 points, MaryAnn Worobiec (August 2019)
Don’t mind if I do. There are clear notes of coconut here, indeed more than I can ever remember in a young Grange. That will ring alarm bells for some but, in my opinion, it can mention coconut all that it likes; it still manages to get away with it. The combination of richness, length, tannin spread and balance places this straight in the realms of the elite. Individual descriptors: who cares. It’s deep, bold, muscular and dark, and it delivers all this in svelte, satiny, seductive fashion. This 2015 release of Grange is no disappointment. Indeed it’s as good as you’d hope and/or expect. The finish: it soars.
97 points, The Wine Front (August 2019)
The nose of the 2015 Grange features the wine's characteristic lifted aromas, joined by pronounced American oak influence and bold blackberry fruit, plus hints of red meat, raspberries, asphalt and vanilla. It's dense and concentrated on the palate, full-bodied yet balanced and firm, with a rich, velvety texture and long, plush finish. Don't expect great complexity at this stage—it's much too young to show much more than the primary fruit and oak elements—but this is a Grange that should easily go three or four decades.
98+ points, Wine Advocate (August 2019)
Bang. The first whiff cries Grange. A lifted, fragrant, harmonious blend of fruit, oak (American, of course) and finely pitched tannins. Faultless. It’s all relative, but this is starting to relax its grip. And the length is very, very special.
99 points, The Weekend Australian (August 2019)
Deep crimson. Intense blackberry, mulberry aromas with meaty roasted chestnut, vanilla malt notes. Classic Grange with inky blackberry mulberry fruits, dense chocolatey tannins, roasted chestnut, vanilla mocha oak complexity, a touch of crème brulée, superb mid palate richness, velvety tannins building to a firm chocolatey plume at the finish. All the elements are perfectly aligned. A Classic Great Grange with superb colour, density and tannin quality. A wonderful wine of huge presence and palate impact. Should outlive us all. A collector’s vintage. Drink 2030-2060.
100 points, Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's
Much anticipated vintage for Grange and it is a powerhouse of concentration and complexity. Aromas of orange and lemon peel to start, then graphite, blackberries, plum paste, black cherries, boundless sweet oak spice, fresh cedar, tar, mahogany, roasted coffee and chocolate - the list goes on. Such complexity. Classic Grange, offering such deep, dark intensity. The palate has immense richness and depth with a super succulent and very long, fleshy, deeply-weighted array of dense, velvet-wrapped tannins that run so long. The fruit flavors sit in the blackberry, blood-plum and blueberry zone with succulent, long and assertive structure, carrying through in an utterly seamless mode. The finish is tightly wrenched, in spectacularly powerful style, locking this wine in for a very long haul. Best from 2030.
100 points, JamesSuckling.com, August 2019
The flagship 2015 Grange is a monster of wine and one of those rare wines that blends power and elegance perfectly. Revealing a saturated purple color, it’s seemingly more forward and seductive than past great vintages, which I suspect is due to the incredible purity of fruit as well as the wine’s flawless balance than any change in winemaking or stylistic shifts. I also think the acidity is healthy, and the 2015 tips the scales at 14.5% alcohol, which is certainly in the sweet spot, if not tame, for beautifully ripe Syrah these days. A blend of 98% Shiraz and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon that spent 20 months in new American oak hogsheads, it offers an extraordinary perfume of sweet crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, camphor, Asian spices, licorice, and wildflowers. This is followed by a full-bodied, powerful yet incredibly seamless and elegant Shiraz that has no hard edges, a big, dense mid-palate, ripe tannins, and a great finish. Coming close to rivaling the 1986, which has always been a benchmark vintage of Grange for me, the 2015 offers a more polished, elegant, approachable style. Vintage comparisons aside, this is a legendary example of Grange in the making. The savvy wine lovers out there will give this 7-8 years of bottle age (I’ll probably be out of bottles by then) and enjoy over the following 2-3 decades.
99 points, JebDunnuck.com (November 2019)
Based on fruit from Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Magill, and with 2% Cabernet seasoning to the Shiraz, the huge, brooding primary colour of youth is accompanied by the youthful primary black fruit, smokiness and sweet coconut and liquorice-spiced American oak (20 months in new hogsheads) that’s so typical of Grange. The richness and concentration of blackberry fruit opulence on the palate is inextricably bound up with a spice- and coconut-infused textural quality whose tannins, while big and bold, are surprisingly soft and sumptuous on the mid-palate. As the super-ripe blackberry and black cherry jam fruit subsides, the tannins kick in, along with a crispness ensuring that - in line with the Grange style generally - this heady wine will benefit from two decades of ageing.
95 points, Decanter (July 2019)
Very, very dark, concentrated, blackish purple. Almost more of a decongestant than a wine. Goes straight up the nose rather than offering a complex array of different aromas. Very sweet, round and gently textured initially so that only after a while do you become aware of the massive tannins underneath – really massive! But clearly a great deal of work has been done on smoothing the tannins. Concentrated but not exaggerated. Sweet and smooth with a hint of camphor. Salt and spice, and drier than some Granges at this early stage. But such a baby!!! Though if you were really in a hurry, you could decant this into a young-wine decanter and leave it overnight. It is too strong to harm.
18.5++ points, JancisRobinson.com (June 2020)
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.