A wine that flirts with perfection, and should rival the 1986 as one of the legendary Granges produced, the 1998 has one of the highest alcohol contents (nearly 15%) as well as one of the highest percentages of Shiraz in the blend (97%). Its stunning purple color is accompanied by exceptionally sweet aromas of blackberry liqueur intermixed with barbecue spices, an endearing, smoky earthiness, pepper, roasted meats, and coffee. Huge, massive, unctuously textured, and extraordinarily youthful, this impressive wine is a candidate for perfection.
It should continue to evolve over the next three decades. Grange, Penfolds' flagship wine, is, by many accounts, the most renowned and world-famous wine produced in Australia, and these six vintages from my cellar all acquitted themselves well. These wines are almost always Shiraz, but many vintages include less than 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and there are cross-appellations blends from vineyards in the Barossa and McLaren Vale.