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Sue Courtney

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WTN: Penfolds Grange 1998

by Sue Courtney » Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:11 pm

Penfolds Grange 1998 - South Australia
Tasted from a magnum on 21st Feb 2006.

Made from 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Barossa, Padthaway and Magill, the wine matured for 18 months in 100% American oak before it was bottled and put aside for further maturation before release. Now 8 years, old, this is a wine that epitomises the elegance and power that Grange is legendary for. It's deep black cherry coloured, similar to the current release Bin 128 (2003 vintage which was in a glass nearby) but with much more density and a violet translucency to the edges. There's a slight gamey character to the aroma, mocha, cedar and herbal nuances on the nose (the faintest of mint) together with biscuit and berries. In the palate, violets are to the fore, the tannins are pretty much perfection with their sultry structure, and the flavours - there is so much and so beautifully balanced - almost perfection. There's fruitcake, currants, cherries, crushed blackberries and mulberries, vanillin and cedar, a smoky character that adds to the charm with nutmeg and red liquorice spices and a touch of bitter chocolate that lingers on the deep, sweet fruited, earthy finish. It seems so youthful, with oak still very dominant, yet has a complexity that can only come with bottle age. A super wine with years of life ahead of it.
14.5% alcohol by volume.
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Otto

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Re: TN: Penfolds Grange 1998

by Otto » Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:26 pm

Sue Courtney wrote:Penfolds Grange 1998 - South Australia
Tasted from a magnum on 21st Feb 2006.

Made from 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Barossa, Padthaway and Magill, the wine matured for 18 months in 100% American oak before it was bottled and put aside for further maturation before release. Now 8 years, old, this is a wine that epitomises the elegance and power that Grange is legendary for. It's deep black cherry coloured, similar to the current release Bin 128 (2003 vintage which was in a glass nearby) but with much more density and a violet translucency to the edges. There's a slight gamey character to the aroma, mocha, cedar and herbal nuances on the nose (the faintest of mint) together with biscuit and berries. In the palate, violets are to the fore, the tannins are pretty much perfection with their sultry structure, and the flavours - there is so much and so beautifully balanced - almost perfection. There's fruitcake, currants, cherries, crushed blackberries and mulberries, vanillin and cedar, a smoky character that adds to the charm with nutmeg and red liquorice spices and a touch of bitter chocolate that lingers on the deep, sweet fruited, earthy finish. It seems so youthful, with oak still very dominant, yet has a complexity that can only come with bottle age. A super wine with years of life ahead of it.
14.5% alcohol by volume.


Excellent note and perfectly mirrors my experiences with the wine. Except that from the paradigm I view wines on, this is far from perfection as it is simply too extracted and not fresh enough and too alcoholic. :) De gustibus non est disputandum.

BTW what has been happening to the abv of Grange? The 1983 was "only" 12,9% and it certainly has all the power and weight of Grange. Furthermore, I understand that this is only in the last few released vintages that the alcohol has risen. Are they following international trends too? Pity if it is so. I always thought it great that they stick to their own way of making ripe, long-lived, very layered, even profound wine with a relatively low abv. I'm sorry to see that this has changed a little.

Otto
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Sue Courtney

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Re: TN: Penfolds Grange 1998

by Sue Courtney » Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:41 pm

If this was a description for pinot noir, it would not be perfection. My description has to be read in the context of South Australian Shiraz. 8)

14.5% is now the average alcohol level for those wines. Some are up to 15.5% and 16% on the label :roll: and they are so extracted, so jammy, they are trying to imitiate port without fortification. Perhaps it is a result of global warming, or perhaps it is to seduce some reviewers. :?
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Charles Weiss

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Off-Topic re Bullnose

by Charles Weiss » Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:19 pm

Sue,
A friend recently brougt me a bottle of Te Mata Bullnose Syrah, and I was delighted to see you'd picked it as a wine of the week in January. I'll give it the year or two you suggested. The same person had brought me a 1994 Te Mata Coleraine, which was really lovely in late 2004. Your site http://www.wineoftheweek.com is a wonderful resource on New Zealand (and other) wine.
Charles
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Sue Courtney

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Re: TN: Penfolds Grange 1998

by Sue Courtney » Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:08 pm

Thanks for your flattering comments, Charles.

Bullnose Syrah is a fantastic wine. But what vintage? If it is the 2004, you don't want to race into straight away - give it some time to evolve.

Syrah is riding a crest of a wave at the moment in NZ. So different to the typically Australian style, and I love it.

Hope to get into a Syrah vineyard today and chew some grapes straight off the vine.

Cheers,
Sue

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