Penfolds Grange 2016
Jeni Port – 98 Points.
A most elegant Grange that while retaining the usual degree of Grange power is far from muscular or overwhelming. A lifted and so enticing boquet. Bitter dark chocolate, black olive, loaded spice – cinnamon, nutmeg – orange rind, and a powerful presence of aniseed and licorice strap. Fruits are black as night. The palate has lashings of American oak, as usual, and is up to the task of matching the rich, ripe fruit but there’s a lighter hand behind the oak regime this time around. The winemakers are dealing with a finer-edged wine, and the oak has been adjusted accordingly (18 months in new American oak hogsheads rather than 20-plus, which can often be the approach).
Beautifully balanced all round. Lightly smoked meats, charcuterie, spice plays such a big role here together with ripe black fruits. A touch of thyme, bay leaf too. Tannins are fine, unforced.
A masterclass in the art of multi-regional blending and controlled power. Very much a definitive Grange, a fact that could very well underline the increase in price this year.
Tony Love – 99 Points
The 2016 Grange at $950 a bottle is always a talking point. The wine feels much less heavy than the previous 2015 release and perhaps most predecessors, and suggests it’s good to open now while there is plenty of deep diving to be done palate wise with its house styled VA note (in subtle amounts) and American oak influence playing its typical role in the overall character of the wine. Energy, depth and balance are keys to its success, the palate appears bottomless with dried fig, anise, dark soy and classic chariness, yet there’s fleshy relief, a neatly measured tannin feel that allows its dark fruit notes to rise again in the finish. Lots of talk about how to point such a wine: there’ll be some 100s around, I reckon, but as a drink on release with that prominent oak? I’m up for 99 on a good day.
Ken Gargett – 100 Points
Melissa Moore – 99 Points
Intense and deep purple, colour as fathomless as a moonless night… a plush and intense nose enticing with fruits of the forest and chocolate/ vanilla bourbon biscuit layering savoury licorice and charcuterie notes. To drink, it is intense with a super-concentrated mouthfeel of rich black fruits, combined sweet/ bitter chinotto in a savoury frame. Ultimate fruit richness layered with vanillin and well-integrated oak and dusty tannin grip, seamless even now.
Angus Hughson – 98 Points
This wine really has everything you can expect from a young Grange. Unbridled fruit power, powerful new oak and muscular frame for long aging. Impenetrable colour is matched by decadent fruit – cocoa, chocolate, blackberry and blackcurrant fruits. It is full-bodied, dense and rich with an attractive savoury earthy edge to offset that fruit sweetness. The balance sings and the length is very impressive. A great big Grange vintage. Drink 2035 – 2060