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.
Made from fruit coming predominantly from the Barossa Valley (97%) and containing 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2006 Grange has been added to my list of favourite recent vintages. Deep garnet-purple coloured... offering notes of warm cherries, blackcurrants, anise, coffee and toast with underlying hints of soy, yeast extract, black olives and Indian spices. Tight-knit and solidly structured on the medium to full bodied palate, the concentrated fruit is densely coiled around the firm grainy tannins and very crisp acidity... promises something very special in the years to come. It finishes very long, complex and layered with the cedar poking though the fruit purity... should begin opening out around 2016... drink to 2030+ erobertparker.com
...this is one hell of a wine! Licorice, plums, coffee, blackberries, tar and assertive new oak -- will need a lot of time to open. A show-stopper! 98 points, Wine100
...made from grapes grown mostly in the Barossa Valley (Shiraz), though there is a small amount of Shiraz from Magill Estate in Adelaide included in the final wine, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra. As always, it's matured in 100% new American oak... a wine with a huge, clean, cutting right hook of flavour as you swallow. It's not a massive release but the ropes of flavour-drenched tannin on the finish pull it on and on. This precision engineering through the finish marks its intense quality. It tastes of blackberry and aniseed, nutmeg and smoky vanilla. It's quite delicious, and yet there's no question that it's powerfully wrought. It's not a particularly heralded vintage, in general terms, but the way this release presents in the glass is, to me, what Grange is all about. Impeccable winemaking, pure fruit, clasps of uncompromising tannin, smokin' barrels, and thrust. It will live for a very long time, because it's so well designed, and because it does its thing so well. WineFront.
Deep crimson; its bouquet has a strikingly complex array of black characters that run all the way from the first whiff to the finish and aftertaste: licorice, tar, bitter chocolate, blackberry, prune and plum. The tannins are prominent, and play their part with each successive sip of the steadily building impact on the very long palate, but they are in balance with the fruit and oak of an extremely powerful Grange.
98 points, Wine Companion (March 2011)
Dense and quite closed wine that is a little hard to read at this stage. Big and powerful red with great power and intensity. Obviously the best years lie ahead but this is clearly an impressive red now. Dark berry, spice, vanilla, dark chocolate and a solid overlay of oak. Hard to say whether it's a classic Grange but it's certainly very, very good
98 points, The Real Review (May 2011)
Deep red, slight purple. Rich and viscous in the glass. Roasted nuts, toasty barrels, soft and mellow aromas; palate very intense, elegant, relatively (for young Grange) soft and rounded, smooth and easygoing. Lots of impact and density. Quite fine and elegant, roasted meats and licorice/aniseed flavours, some plummy/pruney aspects. Very elegant and long, smooth and well modulated. Needs many years before the full pay-off. A top-level Grange.
97 points, The Real Review (April 2011)
2006 Grange is a focused, oak sopper of formidable physique that shows its hallmark ability to impressively mesh raw, layered fruit power, architectural tannins and a swathe of pristine, heady oak. It bugs me to see the wine in this state – as a glass-to-glasser in its infancy it is adamantine in this incarnation. Here, we as wine writers, are given the job of soothsayers; will it live for decades, undoubtably, will it further weave and show the kind of intellectual edifice for which this acolyte of wines is renowned, I reckon. It’s as impressive as I have ever seen new release Grange and a treatise to the work and machinations of winemaking. However, it also manages to toe a line that represents a manifestation of the old school sense of brooding, pent up muscle-and-brawn, while showing the lattice-work of modern ripeness and tannin flex. A fountain of youth forged from vineyard and fruit selection. There is a quiet awe at hand, but here is the consumer advocate in sotto voce, as this is a wine that strays from where current pleasures lie for me. Regardless, credit is due…
96 points, The Wine Front (May 2011)
(98% shiraz and 2% cabernet sauvignon): Deep ruby. Highly aromatic nose offers black raspberry, cherry pit, potpourri and minerals. Dense, lush and sweet but very energetic, offering spicy red and dark berry, dark chocolate, rose pastille and licorice flavors complemented by spicy, sweet oak. Shows bitter chocolate and cherry-cola nuances on the extremely persistent, spice-accented finish. This should be approachable on the young side.
94 points, Vinous (September 2011)
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.