What makes Penfolds Grange such a special wine?
The same question echoed in the wine world when the Australian wine catapulted to fame in the ‘50s and ‘60s. More than half a century later, Penfolds Grange remains one of the most sought-after collectibles worldwide!
Let’s find out the secret to its success, the Cuvee’s early years, and what makes Penfolds Grange so expensive. You’ll also discover 10 best vintages to add to your collection right away!
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- About Penfolds
- What is Penfolds Grange?
- Penfolds Grange Winemaking
- 10 best Penfolds Grange collectibles
- 1952 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
- 1955 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
- 1971 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
- 1986 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
- 1990 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
- 1991 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
- 2004 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
- 2006 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
- 2008 Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Vertical Collection
- 2012 Penfolds Grange Wine & Aevum Saint Louis Decanter
Dr. Christopher and Mary Penfold arrived in Australia in 1844. They settled in Magill estate, near Adelaide Hills. The couple soon planted the vines they brought from England and began making wine.
At first, the estate mostly made fortified wines as medicines as part of Dr. Christopher’s practice. But as their popularity grew, the Penfolds decided to expand their collection to Clarets (Cabernet-based wines) and Riesling.
Over the years, the estate has changed ownership several times while Penfolds wine steadily built a reputation in Australia and worldwide.
Penfolds’ properties and varietals grown
Since its inception, Penfolds bought a number of South Australian vineyards.
Here’s a list of their most prominent vineyards along with the varietals planted there:
- Magill Estate: the brand’s flagship vineyards planted entirely with Shiraz (or Syrah) grape varietal
- Barossa Valley
- Kalimna: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese
- Koonunga: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
- Waltons: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre
- Stonewell: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
- Eden Valley
- High Eden: Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
- McLaren Vale: Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon
- Coonawarra: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
What Is Penfolds Grange?
Penfolds Grange (previously Penfolds Grange Hermitage) is the estate’s experimental red wine Cuvee and flagship wine, named after the Magill Estate cottage built by its founders.
It’s the creation of Penfolds’ first chief winemaker, Max Schubert, who used his knowledge of Bordeaux winemaking to create the first Penfolds Grange Hermitage with Shiraz grape varietal in 1951.
However, the first vintage mostly received negative reviews from both the critics and the market. Despite being asked to discontinue the Cuvee, Schubert persisted and created three vintages (’57, ’58, and ’59) of Penfolds Grange.
But as the first vintage appreciated in value and reputation, Penfolds instructed Schubert to restart production for Grange in 1960.
Since then, Penfolds Grange has gathered a dedicated fan following worldwide and numerous awards and recognitions.
- The 1955 vintage won more than 50 gold medals worldwide
- The 1971 vintage won the first prize in the Shiraz category at the Paris Wine Olympics
- The 1990 vintage was named ‘Wine Of The Year’ by Wine Spectator magazine in 1995
Most notably, Penfolds Grange’s reputation as Australia’s ‘first growth’ (styled after the famous Bordeaux wine classification) precedes all else.
Read more: Check out these 10 timeless Sparkling Wines that deserve a place in your wine cabinet!
Penfolds Grange Winemaking
Penfolds has developed three distinct winemaking styles:
- Single vineyard (or block)
- Single region (or subregion)
- Multi-regional (Grange belongs to this category)
This is a sharp departure from the premier winemakers of Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Napa Valley that pride themselves on single-estate wines.
The grapes for this modern Australian wine are sourced from different vineyards across the Barossa Valley, Magill Estate, McLaren Vale, and other Penfolds’ properties.
Each vintage, aged in American oak, carries unique flavors and characteristics, which true-blue Penfolds Grange Cabernet Sauvignon fans swear by!
Read more: Wondering how fine wine like Penfolds should be stored? Here’s how to design the perfect wine cellar for your bottles!
Investing In Penfolds Grange Wine
Penfolds Grange is indeed a collector’s item! A Grange is highly valued in the market and often sets records at auctions worldwide!
Why is Penfolds Grange so expensive?
Apart from its impeccable winemaking, reputation and scarcity, there are a few other factors that work here.
1. Age-worthiness: It was Max Schubert’s vision to craft a wine so exquisite in its taste and age-worthiness that it would compete with the oldest living Bordeaux and Burgundies of its time. And the wine has undoubtedly passed this test.
In fact, some of the Grange vintages from the ‘50s are still alive and going strong!
2. Critic scores and awards: Grange is the standard-bearer of Penfolds when it comes to critics’ love! With the exception of Max Schubert’s disastrously misunderstood first vintage, it has consistently won top scores.
Here’s an account of its top-scoring vintages:
And that’s a heavily abridged version of the Cuvee’s actual list of achievements!
3. Langton’s classification of wines: Australia’s foremost wine valuator and auctioneer, Langton’s, devised a way to grade Australian winemakers based on their secondary market performance. Langton’s Penfolds classification of wines has three categories - Exceptional, Outstanding, and Excellent.
Since the ‘90s, Penfolds Grange remains one of their “unicorn” wines. The classic Grange, unsurprisingly, falls in the top tier ‘Exceptional’ category.
Penfolds’ other Cuvees also show up in Langton’s classification:
- Penfolds Bin 95 Grange Shiraz
- Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Penfolds Bin 144 Yattarna Chardonnay
- Penfolds RWT Shiraz, Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz
- Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz
- Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz
- Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz
- Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz,
All these factors have contributed to a steady growth in valuation.
So, in 2020, a six-figure sum for a Penfolds Grange collector’s edition has become an everyday affair, and it undoubtedly deserves a place in your investment-wine portfolio!
10 Best Penfolds Grange Collectibles
Buy a piece of history with these incredible wines by Penfolds.
1. 1952 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
After Max Schubert’s experiment with Bordeaux style wine making in 1951, the ‘52 was the first vintage to be sold commercially. However, with price tags as low as 15 shillings ($1.50), it was practically given away!
But wine lovers have given this magnificent second vintage its due and worship it as a personal favorite of winemaker Max Schubert. Experience its sinful combination of dark chocolate and orange peel wrapped within silky tannins.
Price of 1952 Penfolds Grange Bin 95: $10,966
2. 1955 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
The ‘55 delivers on Grange’s promise of being a truly age-worthy and uniquely Australian Shiraz. It’s going strong even after 65 years! And for the same reason, the 1955 Penfolds Grange was named a ‘Heritage Wine’ by the Australian National Trust.
The brick-red-colored wine contains meaty aromas and a balanced palate that tempts you with fine tannins and roasted coffee. Its fruity sweetness is still intact, a rare feat for a wine this aged.
Price of 1955 Penfolds Grange Bin 95: $5,255
3. 1971 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
Of the early Granges, the ‘71 was the one with the most feathers in its hat. This ambitious vintage won the category at the 1979 Wine Olympics and grabbed several medals across Australia.
What was sold at $12 on initial release is priced over $800 in retail stores now! Look for a palate of apricots, vanilla, and sweet fruit in this slightly fragile wine.
Price of 1971 Penfolds Grange Bin 95: $838
4. 1986 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
The extraordinary weather conditions of 1986 bore an exceptional Grange. As a bearer of the Penfolds ‘red star’ (awarded only to superlative vintages), the ‘86 is an in-house favorite too!
The deep crimson of this wine holds cedar spice aromas and layers of fruit and chocolate. Enjoy it patiently as it has many years to full maturity.
Price of 1986 Penfolds Grange Bin 95: $384
5. 1990 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
Had it not been for the priceless ‘90, Penfolds Grange’s charms would’ve never truly become the global phenomenon. It was the first wine (outside of France or California) to be named the ‘Wine Of The Year’ by Wine Spectator magazine in 1995.
The crimson-colored wine has a nose of ripe, plum aromas and vanilla oak. Its robust flavour will continue evolving for at least another decade.
Price of 1990 Penfolds Grange Bin 95: $361
6. 1991 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
Following the brilliant success of the ‘90 Grange, the wine world had high expectations from Penfolds. And the ‘91 exceeded them all!
Its rich wine malt, aniseed, chocolate, and fine tannin content inches closer to a long finish that’ll keep you hooked for decades to come.
Price of 1991 Penfolds Grange Bin 95: $301
7. 2004 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
2004 was kind to most of South Australia, yielding splendid harvests and superlative wines across the board. The ‘04 Grange (with 4% Cabernet Sauvignon) is an excellent sample of the year.
It has 14.3% ABV and a fragrant nose full of spices and malt. The classic defined and structured Grange expresses itself in the themes of dark chocolate and licorice.
Price of 2004 Penfolds Grange Bin 95: $304
8. 2006 Penfolds Grange Bin 95
The layered depth of the ‘06 holds intensely rich fruit aromas with mocha and vanilla. According to Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago, the wine reminds him of the adage used to describe Bordeaux’s finest - “iron fist in a velvet glove!”
Give it a go in another ten years to discover its stunning elegance and maturity.
Price of 2006 Penfolds Grange Bin 95: $355
9. 2008 & 2010 Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Vertical Collection
The vertical collection is Penfolds’ way of saying ‘two is better than one!’ This Penfolds Grange set contains the singularly charming vintages of ‘08 and ‘10. Both are examples of superior expression and age-worthiness that Penfolds has come to represent over the years.
Price of 2008 Penfolds Grange Bin 95 Vertical Collection: $2,833
10. 2012 Penfolds Grange Wine & Aevum Saint Louis Decanter
The Penfolds brand is acutely aware of its value in the wine collector’s eyes. That’s why they spend time and effort in crafting not only magnificent wines but also state-of-the-art packaging.
The flamboyant 2012 Grange comes with the limited edition hand-blown and hand-crafted Aevum Saint Louis crystal decanter. The combination is sure to add a few gold stars to both your wine collection and your decor!
Price of 2012 Penfolds Grange Wine & Aevum Saint Louis Decanter: $2,000
How To Buy Penfolds Grange Wine
Penfolds Grange is enough of an international wine to be found in premier wine stores across the globe.
But what about some of the rarer vintage collectibles?
For one, you’ll need to make sure it’s the real stuff and not a counterfeit. Secondly, as a serious wine investor, it’s critical that you get a good deal on the bottle.
But unlike Penfolds’ chief winemaker Max Schubert, you don’t need to travel to Europe to learn the science behind wine!
All you need is a Vinovest account!
Invest In Penfolds Grange and other Wines Via Vinovest
Vinovest is a wine investment platform for wine lovers and investors from all over the world. It’s the only place you need to visit to acquire fine wines like Penfolds Grange.
How does it work?
Begin collecting the best wines by completing these simple steps.
- Create your account on the Vinovest website.
- Answer questions regarding your risk appetite and preferences
- Add a $1000 (minimum investment) to your account.
- Start collecting delicious wines and let your portfolio grow!
Get started with wine investing with these unique features.
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You don’t need to be an expert to buy and sell wines. Vinovest’s AI-based platform makes it easier than ever before to add the finest bottles to your portfolio.
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Invest your hard-earned money wisely. Vinovest will ensure you never have to pay extra by sourcing all your bottles directly from the wineries, wine exchanges, or merchants.
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How can you ensure that your favorite Italian wine is what it says on its label?
Let Vinovest validate each purchase with detailed background checks on the wine’s provenance and storage conditions.
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Vinovest protects your precious wine collection with a comprehensive insurance policy for breakage and loss.
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Get better at investing in wine with updates from Vinovest on exclusive, private sales, wine tastings, and winery visits.
All the bottles in your wine collection belong to you!
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You buy the wine. Vinovest securely delivers it to your (or your buyer’s) doorstep.
Aussie Heritage In Your Wine Collection
Penfolds Grange has single handedly put Australia on the international wine trail, and how! They’re a testament to how uncompromising dedication to quality can help New World winemakers craft legendary wine.
And that’s why every Grange has a story to tell. You can capture it by investing in Penfolds Grange and other such world’s great wines today.
Just sign up for Vinovest right away - because wine investment should be as effortless as a well-aged Penfolds Grange!