Penfolds nailed the great 2016 vintage, making a wine that is perfect in every way. The blend of 97% shiraz and 3% cabernet sauvignon comes from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and Magill Estate in Adelaide, in that order, and as usual spent 18 months in new American hogsheads. Its detail is superb, with light and shade allowing blackberry and plum fruit pride of place, but there's also flashes of spice and licorice. It's as mouth-watering with the last taste as the first, and 7.3g/L of acidity leaves the mouth fresh.
The 2016 Grange includes 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and was sourced from Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Clare Valley, with a little bit from Magill Estate, in the suburbs of Adelaide. Aged in 100% new American oak (as always), it offers up trademark lifted aromas plus scents of vanilla, toasted coconut, cedar, raspberries and blackberries. Impressively concentrated and full-bodied, with an extraordinarily long, velvety finish, it's nevertheless reasonably fresh and tight, with decades of cellaring potential if properly stored. Certainly at least on a par with such vintages as 2010 and 2012, the big question is whether it will ultimately reach triple digits.
Classic Grange. Absolute classic. Aflame with fruit, tempered by oak, no bumps whatsoever but ample grind to the tannin. Grange has remained true to this style since the start of the 1950s and so every release now tends to evoke a previous one; this release has 1996 written all over it. Those long unmistakable chains of tannin melted so effortlessly into the wine; fruit that has ridden straight over the oak as if it was barely there; a finish that stares next week in the eye. It’s a brilliant release in anyone’s language.