Penfolds Grange 1986

Few Australian wines are so rich in anticipation as a bottle of Grange.  The 1986 Grange here is a blend of 87% shiraz and 13% cabernet sauvignon and, as is usual for Grange, the grapes were sourced from all over, including for this vintage from the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale and a vineyard it would seem in Adelaide.  That Grange is capable of prodigious ageing is well known, and here it didn’t really even cross my mind that at almost 30 years of age the wine might be properly in genteel decline (which of course it wasn’t).  This is a period of time that few wines survive, let alone improve over.  Which brings me to the wine.

Initially, a little reticent to tell its tale, it transformed itself in the glass to reveal nuanced aromatics of coffee, spiced plum, earth and clove.  The palate too started quietly, but a second taste brought with it some incredible depth and length of flavour with notes principally of plum, cedar and coffee characters.  An outstanding vintage, this Grange is ready to drink now and I think there’s plenty of time left in it too.

Rating: Outstanding, Abv: 13.7%, Price: $350+, Vendors:, Website:, Tasted: 2014

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