• Country ranking ?

  • Producer ranking ?

  • Decanting time

  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb with aubergines

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Penfolds Grange 1971 best wine in world award will turn world on to Australia’s finest wines

THE naming of Penfolds’ 1971 Grange as the world’s greatest wine of the 1970s will have immediate impact on Australia’s reputation in international fine wine circles.

Current Chief Penfolds winemaker Peter Gago, still in shock over the announcement that one of the finest vintages of Australia’s most famous red wine has beaten the greatest French estates to such an accolade, believes the win means just as much for Australia’s wine industry as it does for his employer Penfolds.

“It’s really amazing for Australia,” Mr Gago said.

“This will alter the perception that we are only good for critter and basic commodity wines,” he said.

The half-million dollar, internationally judged tasting of hundreds of famed labels from France, Spain, Germany, Italy and new world producers like Australia and the US placed Penfolds 1971 Grange at the top of an astounding collection of luxury global wines.

Included in the judging, held by European luxury magazine FINE, were the greatest French wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhone.


Top of the Grange: the 1971 vintage has been named the best wine of the ‘70s.

Top of the Grange: the 1971 vintage has been named the best wine of the ‘70s.


The 1971 Grange tipped out the legendary Chateau d’Yquem 1975 Sauternes, considered the world’s best sweet wine, in a 98.5 points to 98 points showdown, while other Granges from the 1970, 1972 and 1976 vintages also made it into the top 100 listings. The results of the tasting will reverberate around the fine wine world, Mr Gago said after being told of the judges’ decision.

“Grange always gets benchmarked against similar wines, but the fantastic thing was this was the best of the best across the whole decade,” he said.

“It’s a whole new level of seriousness and will be noticed by the elite wine connoisseurs of France, the UK and US and Germany.”

The 1971 vintage of Grange has long been considered one of the great years of the famed lineage of Australia’s most famous red wine, made mostly from shiraz but in this outing also including 13 per cent of cabernet sauvignon.

Along with the 1955 and 1990 vintages, it has convinced prominent overseas wine judges and critics to name Penfolds Grange as a global icon.

Its fame has led to many other South Australian shiraz being lauded as one of the continent’s leading gifts to the wine world. Wines such as Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz are also revered by collectors around the globe.

Australia also is renowned in international circles for its extraordinary history of aged fortified wines from the Victoria’s northeast Rutherglen region, and its capacity for Hunter Valley Semillon to age for many years to deliver one of the most unique white wine styles.


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.


Wine Information

This wine is a blend of 87 per cent Shiraz and 13 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and created a sensation when it won gold and topped its class at the Gault-Millau Wine Olympiad in Paris in 1979, beating the best Rhone Valley wines.
It also won a trophy, four gold, four silver and five bronze medals at Australian wine shows between 1971 and 1982.

'If you had to point to a wine which fulfilled all the ambitions of Grange, it would have to be 1971,' said Max Schubert in 1993. 'It
was a great wine from a vintage that was great throughout South

VINEYARD REGION Barossa Valley (including Kalimna Vineyard), Magill Estate (Adelaide), Clare Valley,Coonawarra.

VINTAGE CONDITIONS An excellent year in South Australia with ideal, generally warm conditions throughout both growing season and vintage. The result was an abundance of grapes of very high quality.

GRAPE VARIETY Shiraz (87%), Cabernet Sauvignon (13%)

MATURATION Eighteen months in new American oak

WINE ANALYSIS Alc/Vol: 12.30%
Acidity: 6.30g/L
pH: 3.72

Winemaker comments by
Max Schubert

COLOUR Medium brick red.
NOSE An astonishing wine with intensely sweet, lifted,
complex and perfumed prune/apricot/truffle
aromas with hints of violet and fig.
PALATE Silken, opulent with fleshy apricot/prune fruit and
truffly, earthy, demi-glace undertones balanced
by fine, sweet tannins and an extremely long
finish. A superb wine.


Latest Pro-tasting notes

41 tasting notes

Tasting note


Deep, Purple and Dark


Long, Flavorful, Round and Sharp


Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Blueberry, Mint, Toasty and Licorice


Intense, Generous, Ripe and Refined




High in Acidity, Warming, Medium tannin, Perfectly balanced, Concentrated, Well-structured, Youthful, Full-bodied, Focused, Refined, Powerful, Dry and Silky tannins


Masterpiece and Transparent

Written Notes

This vintage of Grange Bin 95 Shiraz has been highly rated for almost 30 years now after beating the best Rhône wines at the Gault-Millau Wine Olympiad in Paris in 1979. The inventor of Grange and a legendary winemaker, Max Schubert, has said that this is the Grange of his lifetime, a wine, which fulfils the ambitions of Grange. The blend is 87 percent Shiraz and 13 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.

The colour is moderately deep with brick red tones. Very intense nose with ripe dark fruit aromas and vanilla flavours mixed attractively with smoke, bacon and cedar aromas. Full-bodied and intense with refreshing acidity, rich set of ripe meaty tannins and fleshy ripe fruitiness of dark fruits. Mid-palate shows elegance of oak with chocolaty and mocha flavours. Long intense finish. Truly breathtaking wine drinking well now but keeping for a few more years.

  • 98p
The following wine was even greater, but a noticeable left turn to the Delphine. It showed incredibly Rhone-ish-ly this night despite the fact that it was a 1971 Penfolds Grange and got very chocolaty in the glass
  • 96p

87% Shiraz, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide), Clare Valley, Coonawarra blend.
Brownish rim. Really great mature Australian red. Pure Len Evans on the nose, I wrote, in that this reminded me so clearly of the Australian greats that Australia’s Mr Wine had shared with me. Sweet and luscious and so gorgeous – now we’re kicking in to Grange at its peak! Unspittable. Long, lovely round tannins. Full throttle. Peter Gago said this bottle wasn’t as bright as it should be, but it stood out to me. And look at that alcohol level!

  • 96p

Important wine on secondary market. Much lower alcohol than current releases. 87% Shiraz, 13% Cabernet. From Kalimna, Barossa, Magill, Clare Valley and Coonawarra. Max Schubert did not like adding acid, so often had some components picked very early.
Deep brownish garnet. Lifted, sweet and leathery and nutty. Marked VA (2.1 g/l) and lifted fruit. Then coffee and chocolate. Firm dense tannins and powerful and mouthfilling. Heaps of tannin would have been added during fermentation. Moreish, dry and mouthcoating but without astringency.

  • 95p
Medium deep brick red. A classic Penfolds year with an unusually low alcohol of around 12.3%*. An immensely complex and mature wine with lifted smoked meat/ dark chocolate/ mocha/ liquorice aromas. A silky smooth wine with rich dark chocolate/ espresso coffee/ tobacco/ cedar flavours, underlying vanillin nuances and fine lacy satin tannins. Finishes sinuous, long and bitter sweet. 87% Shiraz 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, Magill Estate (Adelaide) Clare Valley, Coonawarra Blend. “If you had to point to a wine which fulfilled the ambitions of Grange it would have to be the 1971.” – Max Schubert, 1993. Topped the Gault-Millau Wine Olympiad in Paris in 1979 – beating some of the best Rhone wines and creating a sensation. A great South Australian vintage; ideal, generally warm conditions throughout the growing season and vintage. * alcohol originally stated 11.5% but records and analysis reveal 12.3% “A Grange that doesn’t seem to tolerate poor storage or travel.”- Peter Gago
  • 95p
Bottle with normal size. Looking light, brick red and dark. Open, intense, complex, refined, ripe, generous, rich and charming on the nose. The taste is toasty, harmonious, focused, refined, powerful, high in acidity, well-integrated, perfectly balanced, concentrated, well-structured, complex, youthful, medium tannin, silky tannins and full-bodied. With chocolate, coffee, spice, toasty, blackberry, blackcurrant, blueberry and mint flavor. Endless, round, spicy and flavorful. Outstanding, masterpiece and well-rounded. Drink between 2020 and 2030.
- (Tasting note created by Tb's AI)
  • 99p
Load more notes



Magill, South Australia


13% Cabernet Sauvignon
87% Shiraz

Vintage Quality


Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential


Fake factory


Glass time


Drinking temperature


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Inside Information

Parher 96 points:  have had this wine on five separate occasions and on each occasion it has been a prodigious example of Grange Hermitage. The wine has consistently revealed the fruit levels, intensity, and complexity that are the hallmarks of a classic Grange. In fact, it is the first great Grange Hermitage since the debut vintage of 1955. The color is a mature garnet with considerable amber/orange at the edge. The magnificent aromatic profile includes scents of cedar, caramel, coffee, toffee, chocolate, and gobs of jammy black-cherry and currant fruit. It could easily be mistaken for an old, magnificent Pomerol given its voluptuous texture, glorious richness, unctuosity, and phenomenal concentration, fat, and length. The wine has been fully mature since I first tasted it in 1990, yet it is capable of lasting for another decade. This is the real thing!

Read more


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