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 and bright colour; major surprise along the lines of the '00, albeit in very different style; here there is density and structure; the fruit is rich, but not spongy or dead. Ultra careful selection.
95 points, James Halliday (September 2007)
A very ripe, assertive, profoundly structured and traditional warm year Grange whose dark, brooding and brambly fruit and lavish oak are supported by drying, firm and chalky tannin. It's still a bruising young wine, with a surprisingly floral and heady, jasmine-like bouquet and dense layers of blackberries, blueberries, cassis and dark plums backed by smoky, meaty, dark chocolate and cedary influences. As it opens further, nuances of treacle, aniseed and graphite slowly emerge. Firm and dense, its palate simply drips with concentrated flavour, finishing with the length and balance expected of this label.
96 points, Jeremy Oliver
Tasted blind. Vibrant crimson. Mint and some TCA on the nose but the palate is really rather gorgeous! I really like the texture of this wine even if the flavour is a bit spoilt by presumably a tainted cork (less concentrated wines would be worse affected). Rich but restrained. Long. My score ignores the TCA. Salty and firm with great plush richness across the palate and some tannins, doubtless exaggerated by the TCA.
18 points, Jancis Robinson (September 2015)
As with all Grange the aromatics are layered and complex with this vintage offering a whole raft of interesting things to smell. It’s showing a touch of char, brown spices, blackberry, coconut, liquorice, aniseed, soy sauce, camphor and fruit cake in and amongst other things. Seek and ye shall find but the overall impression over three days tasting is of a rich darkly fruited wine backed with liberal high class oak that smells terrific. On the palate full bodied and bulging with powerful dark tarry fruit, mince pie, dark chocolate, dry spices, aniseed and plenty of perfumed cedary oak. It maintains a good level of freshness and has layers of open knit very firm chalky tannins that make their presence felt from start to long finish. The tannins receded and softened over three days but still felt a little raw and blocky at the end. Young wine, no doubt, but I’d suggest it will always be a more rustic example of Grange, although a good one. A remarkable wine considering the vintage too.
94+ points, Gary Walsh (May 2008)
Inky purple. Seductively perfumed nose offers cassis, blueberry, cherry-cola, violet and dried fig scents, with a suave undercurrent of smoky minerals. Deep, finely etched cherry and dark berry flavors are complicated by mocha and candied licorice, becoming riper with air. Cured meat and black cardamom notes arrive with air, adding further interest. Full, fleshy and sweet on the impressively long finish, which is nicely braced by dusty tannins. This is more energetic than most wines from this vintage.
93 points, Josh Raynolds (September 2008)
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.