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100 points / Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Remember that old Heinz Ketchup “anticipation” ad from the 1970s? The palate of this 2013 Grange does just that. It makes you wait with so much delicious promise being drip fed into the mouth at first—and then it bursts forth and delivers!
This vintage is a blend of 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, coming from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and Magill Estate. Very deep inky purple-black colored, the 2013 Grange has a profoundly scented nose of crème de cassis, preserved black plums, blueberry pie and licorice over nuances of baker’s chocolate, smoky bacon and fragrant earth, plus exotic spice wafts of cumin seed, cardamom, fenugreek and star anise. Unfurling and slowly building in the medium to full-bodied mouth with wonderful grace and depth, it reveals an incredible array of ripe black fruit, spice, meat and earth-inspired flavors, with a rock-solid frame to support this beauty (it should easily cellar for 40+ years!), while previously latent flavors emerge fully on the epically long finish, culminating in that ultimate Grange experience. Oh, yes.
99 Points / “Gloriously, splendiferously complex. There are so many layers of flavour it's labyrinthine, yet you never lose the thread, the path, of the wine.” - James Halliday
Decanter 98 points
A blend of 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet, this is a stunning Grange which easily compares in quality to 2010 and 2012. It is big, flamboyant and hedonistic on the nose and palate - the former is full of kirsch, mulberry, balsam and a generous dollop of purposeful VA to lift the massive aroma from the glass. The latter is equally sweet, rich and dense as it brims with saturated flavours encompassing damson, blackberry, liquorice, espresso, tarmac and cola. And so it’s little or no surprise that this is also full to bursting with tannic heft and dry extract mouthfeel, all of which is expertly assuaged by refreshing acidity to keep it lithe and supple. It’s still too young to say where this will sit in the Grange pantheon, but it’s almost certainly going to be one to watch and enjoy for the next 30 to 40 years.
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.
“Six decades after the release of OUR favourite Grange, the 60 year-old 1953 Grange, this 2013 flexes, prances, twitches… Pressure is on! What’s the measure of this four and a half year old?”
“2013 – Undoubtedly will soon be universally proclaimed to be a classic ‘Penfolds vintage’ … and indeed over time certified a classic ‘Grange vintage’!”
“Not unlike the 2008 Grange – á la style / weight / disposition / cellarability.”
- Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker
Vintage 2013 / The majority of South Australia had a dry winter reminiscent of 2006, vines were in water deficit at the beginning of spring and became accustomed to dry conditions quite early. The exception was McLaren Vale, where revitalising winter rainfall exceeded the long term average. Early budburst was noticeable across many regions.
Dry and warm spring conditions explained canopy growth and yields, becoming typical of the 2013 growing season. Warm days were dispersed throughout October, November and in early January, contributing to an early start to the 2013 harvest and a condensed vintage.
Dry and warm conditions, coupled with lower than average yields resulted in fruit showing strong, structural tannins and wines of great intensity and encouraging flavour. The Magill Estate fruit was harvested in pristine condition, hand-picked on February 14th and 15th 2013.