Penfolds Grange label 

Owner:
Treasury Wine Estates


Colour: Red
Standard blend: 96% Shiraz, 4%
Cabernet Sauvignon

History

Penfolds
Grange is one of Australia’s most iconic brands. The Penfolds estate was
founded in 1844 by a young doctor, and the wines – made from Grenache – were
initially prescribed as tonic wines for anaemic patients. The shiraz-based Penfolds
Grange was first produced in 1951 by winemaker Max Schubert in an effort to
create an Australian wine that would rival the quality of Bordeaux’s finest
classed growths.

Schubert
was employed by Penfolds at the time and was instructed to stop production of
Penfolds Grange in 1957 after the wines received a series of negative critical
reviews. He continued to produce the next few vintages sub rosa, however,
until the ageing potential and quality of past vintages eventually came to
light and he was given permission to “restart” production.

Unlike
the most revered old world wines, Penfolds Grange is a multi-vineyard,
multi-district wine. As such, the composition varies each year, with grapes
sourced from different locations in the Barossa Valley, Magill, McLaren Vale
and elsewhere in South Australia. Although this approach to wine production is
typically associated with lesser wines in France, Penfolds Grange is widely
regarded as one of the world’s greatest wines and Australia’s equivalent of a
First Growth.

Penfolds’ performance

Penfolds Grange Index

As shown in the chart above, Grange has been a great performer,
indifferent to general fine wine market conditions. The index of its 10 most
recent vintages has climbed 65% over a five year period. Of the last ten
physical vintages (1999-2008) the 2001 has risen most in price since release, with
an increase of 178%.

The 2008 vintage

Penfolds
Grange regularly receives high critic scores. The 2008 put the brand in the
spotlight in March when it was awarded 100 points by Lisa Perrotti-Brown from The Wine Advocate – the first Penfolds
Grange vintage to do so since 1976. Wine
Spectator
also awarded the wine 100 points, describing it as ‘an utterly majestic
Shiraz, sleek and seamless.’

Although
the 2008 is the most expensive recent Grange vintage available, when compared
with top-scoring wines from other countries it presents very good value. Bordeaux
First Growth Lafite 2009 is £7,762 per 12×75, Italy’s Massetto 2006 is £5,850,
Spain’s Pingus 2004 is £8,080 and California’s Screaming Eagle 2007 is £22,800. By
contrast, Grange 2008 is just £4,050.

Buyers
may also be tempted by the 2004, which received 98 points from Wine Spectator and 19.5 from Jancis
Robinson, and is on the market for £3,600. For value, the 1999 looks promising:
it has a score of 94 from Wine Spectator
and 17.5 from Jancis Robinson, and a market price of £2,290.