1997 Penfolds Grange Hermitage
The 1997 vintage is made predominantly from Shiraz (96%) with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon (4%) added. A very refined Grange with great power and concentration but without the bulky palate weight. Very deep brick red colour. Magnificent nose with aroma of vanilla confectionery, violets and spice - almost perfumed. The palate flavours are very concentrated, with dark chocolate, spice, ripe plum, mocha & vanilla over a very peppery background. Outstanding length and depth. Fine firmish tannins, dry yet perfectly balanced. The aftertaste heralds a magnificent finish and lasts for several minutes with plum, mocha and liquorice evident.
Notes Sourced from The Rewards of Patience - Fifth Edition (2004):
Drinking Window: 2007 – 2030
Deep opaque crimson. Sumptuous, fragrant, rum/dark chocolate/blackberry/blueberry aromas with some herbal/violet notes. The palate is deeply concentrated with cranberry/blueberry/dark chocolate flavours, lovely oak integration and smooth fine tannins. Finishes chalky and firm. A remarkable wine considering vintage conditions and its place between the great 1996 and 1998 Granges.
96% Shiraz, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. Kalimna Vineyard (Barossa Valley), Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Bordertown. Late spring rains followed a generally wet winter. Generally dry, cool conditions prevailed during October and November. A hot burst of weather arrived during summer but cooler temperatures and a week of rain during February slowed down ripening.A warm dry period followed over vintage.
The 1997 Grange (a blend of 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon) looks to be a classic Grange, although slightly softer and more forward than the backward 1996. The saturated purple-colored 1997 offers a gorgeously sweet nose of blackberry liqueur, cherries, camphor, chocolate, plums, and mocha. The wine is opulently-textured, extremely soft, layered, and seductive, with Grange's tell-tale personality well-displayed, but in a seamless, seductive style. This is a superb Grange that can hold its own against the more heralded 1996. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2022.
Robert Parker - The Wine Advocate