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Penfolds Grange is arguably the most famous Australian wine and certainly one of the best. The 1996 vintage is one of the highest scoring vintages, with 97 points from James Halliday.
Stephen Tanzer's IWC
, Jan 2001, 92
Ruby-red. Complex, high-toned, oak-driven aromas of mocha, flowers, spices, bourbon, peat, licorice, vanilla, cigar tobacco and earth. Juicy and penetrating, with strong mineral, lead pencil, espresso and tobacco flavors. Has a solid backbone and noteworthy grip, but shows no hard edges. Finishes with big, ripe tannins and excellent length.
James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion
, Dec 2001, 97
Medium to full red-purple, still bright after five years, vibrant cherry and plum fruit aromas more than handle the oak on the bouquet; the palate is sumptuous, but not heavy, the cherry and plum flavours tracking the bouquet. The wine has a very long finish, with fine, integrated tannins. Destined to become one of the great Granges.
Fruit from Barossa Valley – Kalimna, McLaren Vale, Magill. After good autumn rains and a well above-average July rainfall (wettest July at Magill in 10 years), the weather pattern changed with August and September both dry and the October-April growing season less than half the long-term mean. Weather during flowering was fine and a good berry-set reported. Very good year for Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. 94% Shiraz, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. 18 months in new American oak hogsheads. pH 3.41, TA 7.2 g/l. Bit tarry and dusty. Very middle aged with the fruit submerged in mineral elements currently but I suspect it will be great.
, Jan 2012, 95
Deep garnet colored, 1996 Grange is scented with stewed plums, warm cherries and mince meat with hints of Ceylon tea, black olives and Chinese five spice. Medium-full bodied and with a generous amount of flesh on the palate, it gives very crisp acid and a medium-firm level of grainy tannins, finishing long. The layered complexity of this wine is just beginning to emerge, promising better things to come.
, Jan 2008, 95
Firm in texture, with slightly gritty tannins around a gorgeous beam of black cherry, blueberry and plum flavors. This is beautifully focused and complete on the nose, but it's a bit chewy on the palate. Built for aging. Needs some rich food to balance the tannins at this point. Gets better as it warms in the glass.--Australian reds blind retrospective. 10,228 cases made. –HS
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