- 1998 Penfolds Grange - Australia, South Australia (7/31/2008)
My best friend from childhood was visiting from California and the occassion called for a special wine. I called on the 1998 Penfolds Grange and boy was it ever up to the task. I have been reluctant to open any of my 6 bottles too soon (as evidenced by my drinking the 07's) but this was the right occassion to take this wine for a spin and find out where it is 10 years in. Decanted for 2 1/2 hours before serving. You will have to excuse the verbose nature of my tasting note but this wine brought out the poet in me (Whitman I am not) and elicited all sorts of verbs and adjectives that just needed to get out. A wine this good deserves much be written about it.
On the pour, both for the decant and then later in the glass, this beauty was a deep, dense and elegant inky purple. Indeed it was almost black. An absolute work of art to look at. Nosing this wine was an experience unlike any other. The room was slient as we all savored amazing and bold aromas of blackberry, plum, black currant with some elements of oak, spice and a hint of vanilla. Outstanding bouquet that quieted the room in reverance to what we were experiencing. In fact, we nosed the wine for so long we almost forgot to taste as it almost seemed an afterthought. On the palate there was an abundance of dark fruits with blackberry, plum, black currant, spice (white pepper and dare I say a hint of ginger?) with traces of oak, licorice and vanilla cream. It was massive! Huge mouthfeel, full bodied, well integrated and complex. There were some well integrated tannins still showing and this wine will surely age very well for 10-20 more years and I would lean more toward the longer the better. The finish was forever.
We tasted and drank this wine in silence for some time and then the descriptive words just poured out of us. Elegant, abundant, beautiful and supple are all words that emanated from my mouth.
If you have 6 of these in cellar I would consider opening one now just to get a glimpse of what this wine is doing now and where it is headed. If you have 3 or less I would try to hold on for another 5 years before popping open the first one.
I think this is a flagship Grange from Penfolds and one people will be talking about for years to come. I also think that in 5 years this might be a 100 point beauty. (99 pts.)
Posted from CellarTracker