Penfolds Grange 2018
A much-awaited vintage that fulfils expectations and then some. It has all the elements that you come to expect but still you have to sit back and marvel that so much can be going on inside one wine. Firstly, it simply ain’t Grange unless it is wearing its traditional American oak coat, and this iteration isn’t going to shy away from that. But perhaps it is the generosity across the board of South Australia’s 2018 vintage that gathers in 18 months of barrel maturation, puts shape to its broad-shouldered dark fruits, turns oak notes into chocolate and sarsaparilla characters on one side of the brain and beef and mushroom braise in the other. All in all, it is a fabulous balance of inputs: big fruit, classically prominent oak, all its structural tannins and acidity fitting cleverly into one exceptionally complex and engaging being. Palate length is indefinite, perhaps suggesting similar cellaring potential well into the second half of the 21st century. Magnificent.