1998 Penfolds "Grange" Shiraz South Australia
Deep purple-red, it oozes blackberry, blackcurrant and licorice from every pore, the palate a sumptuously smooth velvet cushion of small black fruits. It will outlive anyone who can afford to buy it.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Very deep red-ruby. Smoky, deeply concentrated fruit bomb of a nose: blackberry, dark plum, cassis; creamy vanilla and lightly toasty coconutty oak; and ethereal background notes of white pepper, smoked meats, musky spices, tar and licorice. Profoundly concentrated but velvety-smooth and seamless; impressively muscular and thickly coated with oak, and bound by drying, astringent tannins. Without question the most concentrated Grange of all time, utterly steeped in blackberry flavors; a real show pony. It's also the most alcoholic Grange ever made, and at a declared 14.5% does taste warm and spirity - the first Grange to do so. It also ventures to some degree into the realm of currant and prune. No doubt a brilliant wine, but only time will tell if, with its elevated alcohol and its superripe flavors, this 1998 version ranks with the very best Grange vintages. (JO)
A wine of surprising subtlety for the vintage, playing its ripe cherry, red plum and herb flavors against firm tannins that have a bit of grit to them. But those lively cherry and raspberry flavors burst through, and there's a nice hint of green herbs lingering around the finish, which doesn't subside easily. (HS, Web-2008)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Very deep garnet in color, the 1998 Penfolds Grange has shut itself away into a closed stage at this time, offering a subdued core of blackberry preserves and blackcurrant cordial with nuances of smoked bacon, black olives, sandalwood and sweaty leather. The full bodied, taut, muscular palate is firmly structured with chewy tannins and enlivening acidity, finishing long and savory. Consider drinking it 2016 to 2030+. 96+ (LPB)
Wine & Spirits
No tasting note given.
Though the nose on this wine is still somewhat closed, it's still remarkable. Individual notes (apart from eucalyptus and toast) aren't discernible; instead, it's an intense, penetrating sensation that fills the nose. Vanilla and coffee flavors are sumptuous foils to rich blackberries on the palate, which is muscular and plush as all get-out. Finishes long, with big but soft tannins. We can't wait to revisit it in 10–15 years, when the gems that are locked up tight now will sparkle.
Rich and plummy, with leather, spices and smoked meats. Full-bodied, with a velvety and lovely fruitiness. Goes to cigar box, cigar leather pouch and a long flavorful finish. Yet reserved.
Penfolds Grange has been Australia's premier wine offering for decades, and has won numerous accolades. With vintages that go back to the 1950s, Grange is highly sought-after by collectors. It is even listed as a "Heritage Icon of South Australia." 96 points Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "A blend of 94% Shiraz and just 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is just an amazing wine, the wine that made me understand exactly why Grange is so revered. An almost black/purple opaque colour. The nose is incredibly intense and pure: cassis, eucalyptus, and blackcurrants. Stunning definition. The palate is powerful, yet has an undeniably beautiful balance with sufficient acidity to leave the palate feeling fresh. It literally swaggers, lacquering the mouth in sweet, black fruits with touches of dark chocolate and violets on the finish. Very very long. Stunning. Drink 2015-2035+." (01/2009)