1998 Penfolds "Grange" Shiraz South Australia
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.
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. (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.
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" .