Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia
Penfolds was founded by an English doctor (Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold), who migrated to South Australia in the mid-19th Century. Penfold had a firm belief in the medicinal value of port and sherry and began making fortified wine for his parents. Penfold’s ethos continued until the 1950s when Jeffrey Penfold tasked winemaker Max Schubert to cater for changing consumer tastes.
Almost single-handedly Schubert (who died in 1994) lifted Australia’s wine industry out of mediocrity, primarily through the revolutionary Grange Hermitage, and has arguably been the most influential figure in the modern Australian wine industry.
Penfold’s Grange Hermitage is one of Australia’s most famous wines, officially listed as a heritage icon of South Australia: a wine of extraordinary dimension and power. Richly textured, intensely concentrated and packed with fruit sweetness.
“A wine that flirts with perfection, and should rival the 1986 as one of the legendary Granges produced, the 1998 has one of the highest alcohol contents (nearly 15%) as well as one of the highest percentages of Shiraz in the blend (97%). Its stunning purple color is accompanied by exceptionally sweet aromas of blackberry liqueur intermixed with barbecue spices, an endearing, smoky earthiness, pepper, roasted meats, and coffee. Huge, massive, unctuously textured, and extraordinarily youthful, this impressive wine is a candidate for perfection. It should continue to evolve over the next three decades.”
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (Jun 2009)
Optimum Drinking Period: 2009-2039
Robert Parker: 98+
Wine Spectator: 97
Stephen Tanzer: 97