Very deep, dark, dense colour with plenty of purple in the rim. The bouquet is classic Grange, loaded with toasty-smoky-oaky scents of smoked-meats and toasted barrels, dried herbs adding an extra fragrance, and hints of five-spice, especially star anise. It's very full-bodied and concentrated, powerful and long-lasting, but the tannins are beautifully crafted and supple, harmonious, and avoid any suggestion of astringency. The core of the wine is lusciously fruit-sweet and delicious, the robe of tannin complementary rather than domineering. The finish is tremendously long and satisfying. I can enjoy drinking this now: not usual with a new Grange release. A quite magnificent wine and a great Grange. (Barossa Valley & McLaren Vale. Only the 7th Grange to be 100% shiraz. 18 months in new American oak hogsheads)
98 points, The Real Review (June 2021)
One of those Granges that is immediately appealing. Is this the result of a long ripening period across the Barossa and McLaren Vale, the sources of fruit? Who knows, but there is definitely a case for thinking this is one of the more charming Granges to grace the table.
Impossibly deep purple, dense and moves slow in the glass. The scent is less fruit-inspired, more complex-driven: tight and focussed, everything is dark and exotic and malty and muscular. The palate comes therefore as a bit of a surprise. The sweet fruit rises to meet your lips; the violets and florals, the blackberries, blueberries, macerated raspberries, panforte, and oh so beguiling spice.
The 2017 is all about shiraz – no cabernet to be seen – and so it goes off down a shiraz lane of smoothness and near opulence, well, opulence is a relative term in the Grange vernacular, especially so early in the game. And then the tight tannins arrive on the scene, bringing everything together firmly, resolutely. Of course, having said all of that I am not suggesting we break open a bottle this year. But you can be confident to do it well before it reaches 10. It’s one hell of a charmer.
98 points, Wine Pilot
A cooler than average season in this vintage’s two source regions, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, has resulted in a more aromatic Grange than usual, which adds to its already established complex expression. We see here meaty and herbal elements rising to the fore in a rich, gastronomic style with plenty of Grange character on show: formic notes, subtle VA, dark soy and licorice with vanillin oak integration, while the mouthfeel is most appealing, the expected tannin coating delicately integrated. One of the most immediately accessible and drinkable Granges upon release in recent memory.
98 points, Wine Pilot
Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale fruit. Matured 18 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. The inky density and impenetrable presence that proclaim Grange are irrefutable, even in the cooler 2017 season, in which sourcing has been pulled back to the strongholds of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. It’s all here: black fruits of every kind, licorice, dark chocolate, coffee bean, coal dust, even a suggestion of fruit-mince spice. A wall of Grange tannins hold back its immense force, as finely engineered as ever. The finish holds motionless for minutes, with a stature and presence possessed only by Grange, yet at every moment upholding statuesque poise, integrity, even tang in this cooler season.
97 points, Wine Companion (July 2021)
Opaque, bright-rimmed ruby. Highly pungent, smoke- and mineral-accented aromas of cherry pit, violet candy, cured tobacco, savory herbs, coconut and exotic spices on the kaleidoscopic nose. Shows superb clarity and spicy lift to its spice-laced bitter cherry, cassis, blueberry and floral pastille flavors, which take on black cardamom, menthol and cola nuances as the wine slowly stretches out. Shows superb delineation and spicy thrust on the youthfully tannic finish, which features resonating cherry, blue fruit and floral notes.
97 points, Vinous (July 2021)
Only the 7th Grange ever to be 100% Shiraz, in 70 years. 18 months in 100% new American hogsheads. The fruit is sourced just from the Barossa and McLaren Vale. An inky opaqueness. Immediately obvious that this wine has that Grange DNA. Powerful oak notes, but integrating well. Coffee beans, soy, vanillin characters, spices, chocolate, bergamot and what seems to be the merest hint of orange rind in the oak. The fruit remains warm and welcoming. Black fruits, beefstock and some ripe raspberries. Real power here but it is seamless, balanced and very long. Good acidity. A lot of tannin – it may seem unobtrusive but it is there. The texture is delightfully supple. For me, this does not exbibit the finesse and focus seen in the very best Granges but it is certainly an extremely fine wine. Certainly a long life ahead of it, though perhaps not quite as long as some vintages. With time in the glass, more red fruits emerged.
97 points, Wine Pilot
Full bottle 1,525 g. Carefully sourced fruit from Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale in the relatively cool vintage of 2017. 100% Shiraz (for only the seventh time after 1951, 1952, 1963, 1999, 2000 and 2011). Aged for 18 months in new American oak hogsheads.
Blackish garnet – very concentrated colour. Here we are verging on port country! Though it harks back to RWT. It's not one of the most dramatic Granges and is a little tight on the palate at the moment. It desperately needs time in bottle to show its mettle. Still very muscular and introvert, with some aromatic herbs but not much flesh for the moment. Wait! But for more immediate pleasure, head for RWT 2019.
17.5++ points, JancisRobinson.com (July 2021)
Deep crimson. Unmistakably Grange with lifted dark cherry blackberry, quince, praline mocha aromas and aniseed notes. Generous and inky deep with abundant dense dark cherry, blackberry fruits, plentiful fine chocolaty/ velveteen textures, lovely mid-palate volume and integrated mocha vanilla malty oak. Finishes chocolaty firm, with plentiful fruit sweetness and mineral length. Surprisingly approachable with a richness and viscosity that envelops the tannins and acidity. But don’t drink it now. Wait for a good six or seven years at the very least. Seal; Cork, Drink 2028-2055+ 14.5% alc
96+ points (July 2021)
Cuddly doesn’t quite conjure the command of Grange but it was the first word to spring to mind. It was only later that I realised that it’s 100% shiraz. It feels it. It’s a grand display of this most come-hither of varieties. Big fruit, big texture, big arms of tannin and soaring length. It tastes like ants squashed in a rolling wave of super-saturated plum, roasted vanilla riding the wave, soy and rust slipped within. It’s as complete an Australian shiraz as you ever will taste.
96 points, The Wine Front (July 2021)
Strongly marked—as always—by its 100% American oak elevage, the 2017 Grange backs up the cedar and vanilla notes with ample blackberry and cassis fruit. Full-bodied, ripe and almost decadently creamy in the mouth, it's loaded with substance, concentrated and rich, yet—in the context of Grange—relatively light and elegant-seeming on the finish. Only the seventh-ever Grange to be exclusively Shiraz, it originates from Barossa Valley (86%) and McLaren Vale (14%); Shiraz from other growing regions in South Australia failed to make the grade this year.
96 points, Wine Advocate (July 2021)
Surprisingly approachable, the seamless meld of fresh red fruits, mocha and liquorice makes for an especially friendly and agreeable young Grange. A fabulous bouquet immediately draws you in – a meadow of wild herbs amid an orchard of plums – while the long palate shows impressive drive. Some spiky raw notes stick out at the end, along with assertive oak, showing that this vintage is still growing into its sturdy frame.
96 points, David Sly, Decanter (June 2021)
This starts with a deeply spicy and brooding nose that packs plenty of (100% new) American oak, some smoked vanilla and ripe dark plums and berries. The palate has a youthful, astringent feel with sinewy oak tannin and deep plum and dark-berry flavors, carrying a big frame of fruit extract. Big, round berries strive towards boldness. A blend of Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. 100% shiraz. Drink over the next two decades.
96 points, JamesSuckling.com (July 2021)
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.