1990 Penfolds "Grange" Shiraz South Australia

SKU #980109 98 points Wine Spectator

 Magnificent, exotic, a veritable cascade of opulent flavors--earthy currant, black cherry and licorice--on a grand frame of incredible length, wrapped in finely grained tannins. Feels like it can age through 2010 or 2020, at least.--Penfolds Grange vertical. 8,000 cases made.  (1/1997)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Deep garnet-brick colored, the 1990 Penfolds Grange has an evolved, earthy character of damp loam, black truffles and tar with an underlying core of figs, dried mulberries, salami and aniseed. There's a good amount of savory flesh supported by a crisp acid line and medium to firm level chewy tannins, finishing long with some smoked meat coming through. Drink this one now to 2020+.  (5/2012)

Jancis Robinson

 Fruit from Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra. A totally trouble-free growing season enabled grapes to ripen perfectly. Vintage conditions were also ideal, enabling fruit to be harvested and processed without compromising quality in any way. 95% Shiraz, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 18 months in new American oak hogsheads. pH 3.36, TA 7.1 g/l. Big rich dusty. Cusp of drinkability. Easy molten wine gums. Very satisfying. (18/20 points)  (6/2011)

K&L Notes

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." 94 point Neal Martin: "Tasted at the Fine Wine Experience “Dream Fourteen” tasting with Peter Gago, the Grange ’90 is a blend of 95% Shiraz and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from Barossa, Clare Valley and Coonawarra, matured for 100% new American oak hogsheads. Sourced directly from Penfolds’ library reserves, the “Grange” 90 seems to have barely aged since we last met in 2006. Once again, the nose demands coaxing but eventually reveals notes of blackberry, brambly black fruits, a touch of game…perhaps a scintilla of ox blood. Good definition. The palate is full-bodied and appears to have put on a touch more weight. Very well balanced with smooth tannins and “exuberant” flavours of macerated red cherries, wild strawberry and a touch of peppermint, with the Shiraz continuing to impart that Northern Rhone-like finish. Superb. Drink 2012-2030+" (Wine Journal, 09/2010)

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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.


- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.

South Australia