x
  • Country ranking ?

    16
  • Producer ranking ?

    6
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Irish lamb stews and hotpots

Parker 99 points: The 2004 vintage was outstanding in Barossa, McLaren Vale, and Magill, the regions where the grapes were sourced for the marvelous 2004 Grange. It contains 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and was aged for 16 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it displays a superb nose of wood smoke, Asian spices, incense, game, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. Medium to full-bodied, satin textured, with deeply layered, succulent blackberry, plum, and chocolate flavors, it has the structure and complexity to merit extended cellaring of a decade and more. The winery estimates a drinking curve of 2016 to 2050; I'd be a bit more conservative on the long end of the range. It will ultimately be seen as one of the great vintages of Grange.

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The Story

Grange is arguably Australia’s most celebrated wine and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Grange boasts an unbroken line of vintages from the experimental 1951 and clearly demonstrates the synergy between Shiraz and the soils and climates of South Australia. Grange utilises fully-ripe, intensely-flavoured and textured Shiraz grapes. The result is a unique Australian style that is now recognised as one of the most consistent of the world’s great wines. The Grange style is the original and most powerful expression of Penfolds multi-vineyard, multi-district, blending philosophy.

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Vintage 2004

The wait for this Grange has indeed been worthwhile, arguably the finest vintage since mother nature's endowment of a number of stellar 1990s vintages. Just how good a vintage only time will tell, but all current indicators auger (very) well. Certainly stylistically in the mould of wonderful vintages.

Shiraz 96% with the balance of Cabernet Sauvignon, grown to very special vineyards in the Barossa and McLaren Vale, with a component from the distinguished Magill Estate site in the Adealide Hills. Grange remains as Australia's most famous wine, a peerless wine of historical significance, officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Above-average winter rainfall led into a promising vintage, characterised by mild conditions up until February, followed by warmer weather conditions throughout March and April. Penfolds South Australian vineyards fared well, producing wines of elegance and intensity. Matured for sixteen months in exclusively new American oak hogsheads. Alcohol 14.3%

 

Dark, deep red (at 5 years of age). Enticingly fragrant, yet at once Grange – elements of cola, bay-leaf, malt, Indian spices and nougat. An ethereal oriental lift of glazed peking duck is interspersed with fermented black Chinese tea. Oak at one with the wine, other aromatics unite to create a continuum of spice and fruit. Impressive. Seamless redefined. Classic Grange structure – tight, defined and balanced, with slatey, sandy tannins. Saturated fruits, blackberry and concentrated Satsuma plum skin. A darkened flavour theme of chocolate, liquorice and fermented black Chinese tea mask any overt presence of new oak, courting a long, effortless finish. Intense, powerful vs. composed, polished, enviable counter-balance.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

26 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Clear

ending

Long, Flavorful and Pure

flavors

Blackcurrant, Licorice, Cherry, Blackberry, Blueberry and Pepper

nose

Youthful, Seductive, Refined and Pure

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Warming, Low tannin, Balanced, Well-structured, Good texture, Youthful, Full-bodied, Focused, Fragrant, Refined, Medium-Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Impressive and Masterpiece

Written Notes

Opaque reds and purples with a red rim. The identity of this wine, as with all in the competition, was, of course, blind, but I don't think it would have fooled too many, though picking the vintage was not quite so obvious. That said, again, I think most would have opted for 2002 or 2004, as the wine certainly had a bit of maturity to it and was of such class and quality that it had to be one of the truly great years. A glorious wine. Definitely one to do anything possible to make sure you experience it at some stage. Cigar box, dark fruits plum, spices, truffles. It oozes complexity, intensity and richness. It is dense and rich. Plenty of acidity backing it. But everything is balanced. There is some early development, but it is balanced and fresh. This is just such a classy wine. A very long way to go in what should be a stunning journey. Magnificent. There was some debate about the best wine of the competition, and it was by no means unanimous across the board, but for me, this got the nod.
  • 98p

Penfolds Grange 2004 /Now here is a challenging wine to review. The reviewers are swooning, the faithful are lining up at the Magill cellar door, even the mainstream press is giving it coverage (great to see, more please). In short, it is a ‘loaded’ wine: A bottle of fermented grape juice that comes so full of preconceptions, myth & mystique that actual tasting notes are redundant with reviewers serve to only agree or disagree with the greatness.

So, at first, I thought I would just not score this, to be a self righteous knob and just rattle off some descriptors and the odd opinion, before leaving a hole where the score would be at the end. But, instead, I sat there trying to work out what, if anything, was wrong with it. Approach a tasting with the idea that all wine is perfect until proven not. Its actually great fun, but also seems counter intuitive with the whole critical tasting idea. In the end, I decided that if you were to hold up a wine as the model for The Ultimate Young South Australian Shiraz, you couldn’t really go wrong with this.

Purple, dark red in colour. Sweet, malted coconut oak, interwoven with really bright red fruit, like a raspberry bounty & just a smidgen of (classic for Grange) VA. Cocoa. Black fruit. Impossibly youthful. Actually, it reminds me a lot of the 2005 Moss Wood on the nose, with it’s surreal, sweet youthful fruit and oak amalgam. Its a purity of fruit and well judged oak at its zenith, and its hard not too love. I think, however, that as a young wine, many European palates would find this too sweet. Leave it for a decade before serving it to the Poms then.

On the palate, well, it is drier, deeper and blacker than the sweet nose, much like 70% dark chocolate. Palate wise its red/black fruit dominant and utterly Penfoldian in its firm, quit sweet tannins. It’s sweet, but so structured and balanced that it feels velvety. Velvety like Burgundy. Effortless softness that is so seductive that you don’t notice the tannins, even though they hang in the background, ready to kick. I think that’s called balance. And it makes this wine the hero that it’s purported to be.

So in the end, in my quest to examine this wines perfection credentials, I really couldn’t find much wrong with it. Perhaps its a bit too sweet, otherwise it really is a brilliant South Australian Shiraz. The only question, perhaps, is whether it is ‘that much’ better than the 04 St Henri. And that question is largely answered by your wallet…19.3/97

  • 97p
Deep purple crimson. Fresh buoyant blackberry/ elderberry/ blueberry/ spice aromas with some vanilla oak nuances. A very concentrated and powerful wine with deepset blackberry/ elderberry fruit, well-balanced vanilla/ malt oak and chocolaty fine tannins. Finishes chalky firm with superb flavour length. A superb Grange Vintage. Released in 2009. 96% Shiraz 4% Cabernet Sauvignon Barossa Valley (including substantial proportion of Kalimna Shiraz), McLaren Vale and Magill fruit. An excellent year. Beneficial winter and spring rains were followed by cool to mild conditions over summer. Ripening accelerated through a warm Indian summer resulting in near perfect fruit. A great Grange Vintage.
  • 96p
Penfolds Grange 2004 / Enticingly fragrant, yet at once 'Grange' - elements of cola, bay-leaf, malt, Indian spices & nougat. An ethereal oriental lift of glazed Peking Duck is interspersed with fermented black Chinese tea. Oak at one with the wine, other aromatics unite to create a continuum of spice & fruit. Impressive. Seamless redefined. Classic Grange structure - tight, defined & balanced, with 'slatey' / sandy tannins. Saturated fruits - blackberry and concentrated Satsuma plum skin. A darkened flavour theme of chocolate, liquorice and fermented black Chinese tea mask any overt presence of new oak, courting a long, effortless finish. Intense, powerful vs. composed, polished - an enviable counter-balance.

Information

Origin

Magill, South Australia

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

16

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