2003 Penfolds Grange Shiraz
Notes Sourced from Penfolds...
Grange is arguably Australia's most famous wine and is officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Grange boasts an unbroken line of vintages from the experimental 1951 and clearly demonstrates the synergy between Shiraz and the soils and climates of South Australia. Penfolds Grange displays fully-ripe, intensely-flavoured and textured Shiraz grapes in combination with new American oak. The result is a unique Australian style that is now recognised as one of the most consistent of the world's great wines. The Grange style is the original and most powerful expression of Penfolds multi-vineyard, multi-district blending philosophy.
The 2003 vintage was sourced from vineyards located in Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale and Magill. Made from a blend of 97% Shiraz and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine was matured for 15 months in new American oak hogsheads.
The 2003 vintage was initially warm and dry, becoming milder later in the season. These conditions prompted an early start of harvest with the fruit reaching optimum ripeness evenly. The vintage produced Shiraz with dense colour, impressive varietal characters and soft tannins.
Deep red colour. The nose is captivating, complex and complete. Unravelling aromatics unfurl with air - blue fruit notes entwined with barrel ferment and maturation elements; nothing singular, always in tandem. Sweet soy, cola and quince paste high notes escape from an ethereal layer (aniseed, fennel and fresh treacle ginger pudding) wafting above. The palate displays dark and liqueur chocolate, laced with Moroccan spices. An underlying tar/graphite blackness is lifted by derived fruit/quince pie flavours - a few years earlier they may have been more brashly varietal and elemental. Pronounced tannins sweep across the palate, although they are certainly part of the wine, never obtrusive. Long, layered and compelling, this wine is at the spicier end of the Grange spectrum.
Drink 2012 to 2038
To be frank, I agonised over the inclusion of this wine, which is not in the same class as the 2002 or the forthcoming '04, '05 and '06 (a brilliant trio). But it is Australia's iconic red wine, and will improve out of sight over the next 20 years. Deep and bright colour; density and structure; the fruit is rich, but not spongy or dead. Ultra careful selection.
Drink 2015-2030 (leave it in the cellar)
James Halliday – The Australian Top 100 – 2008