2014 penfolds, grange, south australia
Why We're Buying
The Penfolds Grange wine is not just the flagship wine of Penfolds; it’s the flagship wine of Australia. Grange represents one of the greatest red wines in the world, a marvelous blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. While Australia doesn't have a classification system like France, critics and producers widely consider it a first-growth caliber wine. The iconic blend, which has received six 100-point ratings over the years, retails for more than $600 per bottle.
At first glance, this is a purely indulgent wine, with gobs of creamy, milk chocolate–laden maraschino cherry, raspberry framboise and Earl Grey tea aromas. Then wave after wave of elements start filling in, with toasted cumin, peppermint oil, Kalamata olive and white pepper notes, combining into an almost overwhelming amount of details. Becomes indulgent again on the long, lush finish. Drink now through 2035.
It’s always a pleasure to taste what unquestionably the reference point wine for Australia, and the 2014 Grange doesn’t disappoint. From a more difficult vintage for South Australia, it’s a blend of 98 Shiraz and 2 Cabernet Sauvignon that spent 20 months in all new American oak hogsheads, hitting a normal alcohol level of 14.5 with a healthy pH and acidity. Inky purple/blue colored, it offers a rocking bouquet of ripe plums, blueberries, vanilla bean, espresso, and graphite, with hints of mint and flowers developing with time in the glass. Deep, rich, fabulously concentrated, and pure on the palate, it stays tight and compact, with notable precision and length. It’s a seriously structured yet impeccably balanced effort that needs a solid 5-6 years to shed some tannin and gain volume, and will keep for 2+ decades after that.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Rich, concentrated and intense, the 2014 Grange delivers exactly what we've come to expect from this Penfolds icon wine. It's full-bodied, velvety in feel and loaded with plummy fruit, framed in vanilla and cedar. Dense, powerful and tannic, it should prove to be long lived, even by Grange standards. Gago doesn't rate the vintage overall that highly, but he says the selection this year for Grange was a bit more stringent and that production levels were just average. There are still over 1,000 cases for the United States.
The latest vintage of this iconic wine is more approachable and elegant than in previous years. This 98 Shiraz and 2 Cabernet Sauvignon blend offers an ocean of aromas: plum, mocha, coffee, tomato leaf, black olive, ground pepper, cedar, wet tarmac and sage. These tones swell toward a beautifully balanced palate that is powerful yet poised and silky in texture. The American oak is there but feels quieter than it has in the past, letting other nuances wash ashore, all held afloat by fine-grained herb and salt-flecked tannins. While other vintages seem untouchable in their youth, the 2014, with time in decanter, could offer immediate gratification yet still cellar well through 2044.