Penfolds Grange 1982
94% Shiraz with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon, this was a three star vintage characterised by hot conditions according to Langton's wine guide. The nose already shows a great deal of development, with notes of leather, spice, and a hint of menthol. There is notable body, richness and ripeness showing a great deal of concentration, jammy, candied fruits, sweet spices, and a touch of fruitcake. Moderate acidity and a long gentle finish. A great start to this vertical tasting.
Penfolds Grange 1986
87% Shiraz and 13% Cab Sauv, rated as a five star vintage by Langtons. This was clearly no exaggeration, and easily the wine of the night. Still incredibly youthful at 33 years old and tightly wound, the nose is brimming with cassis, blackcurrant, ripe plums and classic pencil shaving notes. There is ample strucutre and acidity, ripe tannins and great concentration indicating that it is still far from reaching its peak, though it is certainly very accessible now.
Penfolds Grange 1989
A three star vintage, with 91% Shiraz and 9% Cabernet. Very ripe, peppery, and concentrated berry aromas and slightly jammy. Showing a lot of maturity already, with cigar box, leather, spice and gamey notes already being very apparent on the nose and palate. Strong eucalyptus and menthol notes, a hint medicinal, with high alcohol, perhaps not as elegant as the 82 or 86 though certainly drinking at its peak right now.
Penfolds Grange 1991
95% Shiraz and 5% Cabernet, another stellar 5 star vintage. Powerful, young, and definitely needs a little more time. Strong notes of eucalyptus, star anise, menthol, and cedar, with big structure. A little rustic and tightly wound, there is a great acidic backbone and strong tannic structure that will need a lot of time to unravel. A top notch wine from a top notch vintage.
Penfolds Grange 1993
86% Shiraz and 15% Cabernet makes up this slightly lower rated vintage (only two stars by Langtons). The nose was restrained, showing tight black fruits, cassis and plums. Not quite as intense as the other vintages in this line up, but certainly approachable with ripe jammy fruit, and a relatively soft finish.
Penfolds Grange 1998
97% Shiraz and 3% Cabernet, another five star vintage after the superb 1991, there is a lot to like about this wine. It is exceptionally powerful, intense, with concentrated aromas of sweet spices, pepper and eucalyptus. Full-bodied, incredibly structured, and tightly wound, this multi-layered wine just goes on and on, and is still needing a lot more time to develop.
Penfolds Grange 2002
A blend of 98.5% Shiraz, 1.5% Cabermet, it is the first five star vintage of the 2000s. A superb brambly nose with dense red and black currant fruits and dark cherries. Intense and concentrated on the palate, with great structure, dense tannins, and slightly herbaceous. Complex, and needs ample time before it reaches its peak. Drink 2029+
Penfolds Grange 2003
97% Shiraz and 3% Cabernet for this three star vintage. Backwards, concentrated, with heavy structure, and every so slightly coarse tannins. Minty eucalyptus notes, smoky mocha, and a little herbaceous. Good balanced acidity, and still needs more time. Drink 2024+.
Penfolds Grange 2004
Ending this vertical tasting with another 5 star vintage, this blend of 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet show excellent concentration though the alcohol is a little hot on the finish. Classic pepper and sweet spice, licorice, earthy, smoky, and very tight. It may take a long time for this to finally unravel seeing as it is so restrained at present, but once it does, it's certainly going to be one gorgeous wine. The elegance, the strength, and very pretty bouquet gives a very good glimpse into the crystal ball of how this might be in about 20 years time once it reaches peak maturity.