I recently came across an interesting article ( Tastings: Penfolds’ plentiful offerings) on Wall Street Journal blogs by Lettie Teague. I’m sharing it on my blog for the interesting winemaker’s perspective that it presents. Given Australia’s association as a ‘New World’ wine leader, it was also interesting to note that Penfolds sense of history – the article points out that Penfolds was founded in 1844, which makes it decidedly older than many ‘Old World’ estates.
Penfolds makes wines across the range – from the entry level to the iconic. Some of these wines are imported to India by Mohan Brothers. Though it has been on my wishlist for a while, I have never tasted its iconic top-end wine: the Penfolds Grange. With luck I will have the opportunity to taste it in Europe later this year. At the time of release, the wine is usually priced in excess of Australian $500 – which is a bargain compared to what the older, mature bottles can fetch. Given that this is a wine made for ageing, it is usually not even ready to drink before 12-15 years of vintage and is not at its peak for 25-30 years. As the winemaker points out in the blog article, the 1953 grange is still drinking beautifully now!
The one big point of difference from most other iconic wines of the world is that the Penfolds Grange is a more ‘manufactured’ wine. Instead of being the product of a single vineyard, it is the result of ruthless grape selection and blending from several Australian vineyards. In that sense it is also the most Australian of wines. These links on the ‘Rare Australian Wine‘ and Wikipedia websites provide more information on the wine, its history and the wine making process.