penfolds, grange, south australia 1998
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Very deep garnet in color, the 1998 Penfolds Grange has shut itself away into a closed stage at this time, offering a subdued core of blackberry preserves and blackcurrant cordial with nuances of smoked bacon, black olives, sandalwood and sweaty leather. The full bodied, taut, muscular palate is firmly structured with chewy tannins and enlivening acidity, finishing long and savory. Consider drinking it 2016 to 2030+.
A wine of surprising subtlety for the vintage, playing its ripe cherry, red plum and herb flavors against firm tannins that have a bit of grit to them. But those lively cherry and raspberry flavors burst through, and there's a nice hint of green herbs lingering around the finish, which doesn't subside easily.
Though the nose on this wine is still somewhat closed, it’s still remarkable. Individual notes (apart from eucalyptus and toast) aren’t discernible; instead, it’s an intense, penetrating sensation that fills the nose. Vanilla and coffee flavors are sumptuous foils to rich blackberries on the palate, which is muscular and plush as all get-out. Finishes long, with big but soft tannins. We can’t wait to revisit it in 10–15 years, when the gems that are locked up tight now will sparkle.