Containing just a dollop of 4.1% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2005 Grange is about 85%+ Barossa fruit with the remaining proportions coming from McLaren vale and Coonawarra. It was aged for 18 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. The nose begins a bit animal with some smoked game, mincemeat and bacon notes emerging over the freshly crushed, sun-warmed blackberries, black currant cordial, earth, black truffles, anise and allspice. Rich and full with very firm very fine tannins and very crisp acid, it gives a long finish layered with coffee, mincemeat and toast. Drink it 2013 to 2025+.
With a lot of changes happening around the Foster's Group, it is business as usual at Penfolds…which seems to operate within its own world. But this is no small world. The vineyard holdings here are vast and the connections with growers go back generations. Chief winemaker Peter Gago is the very well spoken front-man for the production team backed-up Kym Schroeter in charge of the whites and Steve Lienert crafting some very fine, consistent and sometimes inspired reds. If Champagne is all about the art of blending, then Penfolds is the Champagne of Australian wine.
Those that think large companies producing wines that emphasize blending can't make great wines need to think about the Champagne model or simply try some of Penfolds top wines to become believers. That said - check out their recent single vineyard release: the very special 2004 Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon, the first release of a wine made purely from this 100+ year old single block (perhaps the oldest block of Cabernet in the world?) since 1996.