2003 Grange (owc) Penfolds



Considered by many to be Australia’s finest wine, Penfolds Grange is quite simply legendary. This is a rare magnum in its original wooden case.

 

Penfolds Grange scores an enormous 970 points on innovative new rating website Wine Lister, making it “one of the most talked about wines by the fine wine trade.” It tops the Langton’s Classification, a benchmark of Australian fine wine based on performance in the open market, demand attracted and price realised across ten years. James Suckling has called it “an icon” and the following just scratches the surface of the critics’ praise for this wine:

 

2003“density and structure” – 95 points, James Halliday
Size Availability? price? Qty
£827.00

Average critic rating : 94.17 points

95

95

Deep and bright colour; major surprise along the lines of the '00, albeit in very different style; here there is density and structure; the fruit is rich, but not spongy or dead. Ultra careful selection. Sep 2007, www.winecompanion.com.au, Drink: Now-2028

18

18

Dark crimson. Heady sweetness on the nose and then very cool on the palate – really tight and fairly tough at this stage. Dry finish. No sign of the obvious syrup and alcohol that usually characterises Grange for me at all! Very introvert at this stage. Presumably quite a deliberate attempt to counteract this vintage’s reputation for extreme heat and alcohol. I remember tasting young Grange in the late 1980s and the brilliant pink/purple would stain the inside of the glass the way that it does with young vintage port. Not so this wine. When I went back to it a second time the wine, admittedly in a pretty empty bottle (see notes on St Henri above) had opened out considerably to show a much more complex bouquet than any of the other wines here. Very, very well integrated oak, mellow notes of roast meat (oh no, sorry, that was the St Henri), wonderfully rich, flattering fruit caresses the front palate and then the tarry notes bite on the finish. There’s just the merest hint of heat on the finish. But again, Gago has made this beautifully. Maybe the tannins are a little drying on the finish, and the vintage’s reputation is unlikely to make this one of the saleroom classics, but it’s difficult to see how a better Grange could have been made in 2003. Jun 2008, www.jancisrobinson.com, Drink: 2016-2030

93

93

Inky purple. Seductively perfumed nose offers cassis, blueberry, cherry-cola, violet and dried fig scents, with a suave undercurrent of smoky minerals. Deep, finely etched cherry and dark berry flavors are complicated by mocha and candied licorice, becoming riper with air. Cured meat and black cardamom notes arrive with air, adding further interest. Full, fleshy and sweet on the impressively long finish, which is nicely braced by dusty tannins. This is more energetic than most wines from this vintage. Sep 2008, www.vinous.com

Penfolds: The Importance

Leading Australian critic James Halliday rates Penfolds as a five star winery, noting: “There is no other single winery brand in the New, or the Old, World with the depth and breadth of Penfolds.” At his inaugural Australian Wine Companion Awards in 2014, Halliday named Penfolds the Winery of the Year. Jancis Robinson calls them “Australia’s most established maker of investment quality red wine” and their wines have reminded James Suckling of “great pre-phylloxera Bordeaux of 1864 and 1865."

 

Popularity in Asia increased when the Penfolds Collection was launched in Shangai in 2015, the first time these wines had been unveiled outwith Australia. In 2016, Penfolds was awarded the World’s Most Admired Wine Brand title from Drinks International. Compiled by more than 200 Masters of Wine, sommeliers, teachers and journalists, topping this list shows the global dominance the brand has achieved.

 

The Langton’s Classification, established by the auction house in 1988 and considered to be the honour roll of Australian fine wine, defines an unbiased and proven benchmark of the country’s top wines by ranking them based on how well they perform in the open market, the demand they attract and the price they realise across at least ten years. The sixth amendment of the classification, ranks Penfolds Grange and Penfolds Bin 707 as Exceptional (the highest accolade), Yattarna Chardonnay, Bin 389 and RWT Shiraz as Outstanding (considered Australia’s super seconds) and Bin 128, Kalimna Bin 28, Bin 407 and Magill Estate Shiraz as Excellent (the “heart of the secondary wine market”). No other winery has as many wines in the classification.


Penfolds: The Insight

Penfolds produce a wide range of wines across all price points. However, the most important wines for collectors are their top reds. These wines are often cross-regional blends. As Jancis Robinson puts it, Penfolds is: “one of the few wine companies in the world producing internationally famous wines that are not terroir-specific.” This makes them somewhat less vintage dependent and assures consistently reliable quality.

 

The star is Grange, probably Australia’s greatest wine, described as an icon by James Suckling. At time of writing, the wine scores an enormous 970 points on Wine Lister and is described as “one of the most talked about wines by the fine wine trade.” It is always listed first in the Langton’s Classification due to its status, while the others are listed merely in alphabetical order. The founder of Langton’s, Andrew Caillard MW calls it: “an iconic wine; a reference example” and Langton’s states that “the best vintages have a lifespan of 50 years and more.” For those looking for a slightly lower-priced alternative, Bin 389 is often considered ‘Baby Grange’.

 

All of the Penfolds range featured in the Langton’s Classification, the increasingly popular St Henri Shiraz and the wines their original wooden cases (OWC), are all worthy of serious consideration. The bins are numbered after where the wines sat in the winery, rather than denoting a quality level. RWT stands for Red Winemaking Trial, the RWT being a Shiraz purely from Barossa in contrast to the multi-regional sourcing for Grange.

 

Penfolds wines are so long-lived that in 1991 the company launched Re-corking Clinics. These give owners of wines that are 15 years old or older an opportunity to have their wine: “assessed by a winemaker, and if necessary, opened, tasted, topped up and re-capsuled on the spot.” Leading auction houses Christie’s and Langton’s have noted higher auction realisations for wines re-corked by Penfolds.


Penfolds: The Background

Founded in 1844, Penfolds has grown to become one of Australia’s most famous exports. Christopher Rawson Penfold and his wife Mary arrived in Australia from West Sussex. They settled in the Magill Estate and built a cottage called The Grange. They started producing fortified wines, but the popularity of claret-style wines grew and by 1903 Penfolds was the biggest winery in Adelaide and beginning to expand into McLaren Vale and New South Wales. After World War II, winemaker Max Schubert travelled to Europe and was inspired by the wines of Bordeaux to create Grange Hermitage, later to become Grange. Now, the winery is situated in the Barossa Valley, but the grapes come from all over South Australia. Penfolds’ vinyards are located in Adelaide (the Magill Estate focuses on Shiraz), Kalimna, Koonunga, Waltons and Stonwell vineyards in Barossa (predominantly Shiraz and Canbernet Sauvigon), Eden Valley for the whites, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra. Peter Gago has been the Chief Winemaker since 2002, providing further consistency.



See all wines from this Producer
UK DOMESTIC DELIVERY:

FINE+RARE offers UK home delivery through our logistics partner London City Bond, with next day deliveries available for Central London addresses.
We deliver Monday to Friday; charges are £ 16 + VAT for up to 10 cases (12x75cl or equivalent) for most UK postcodes.
For delivery charges to Highlands, Islands and outlying areas, please contact our Customer Service Team.

INTERNATIONAL DELIVERY:

For deliveries into Hong Kong and Singapore, we offer a dedicated air and sea service.
For more details regarding delivery to Hong Kong, Singapore and all other destinations, please view our International Delivery information page.
Spirits cannot travel on our services to Hong Kong, Singapore or Macau and require separate shipments. Please contact our Customer Service Team for further information.

F+R STORAGE:

Our storage costs are highly competitive. We will happily accept cases or single bottles, charging pro-rata based on the number of bottles and length of storage period.
Unlike many other wine companies, our service includes storage of duty paid wines as well as in bond from any reputable source, not just those bought through FINE+RARE.
Please visit our F+R Storage information page for more details.



IN BOND AND DUTY PAID DELIVERY TO STORAGE ACCOUNTS:

FINE+RARE can arrange delivery of your wines to your personal fine wine storage account:
Deliveries within London City Bond or to a Vinotheque storage account are charged at £ 8 + VAT for up to 10 cases (12x75cl or equivalent).
Deliveries to all other storage providers are charged at £ 16 + VAT for up to 10 cases (12x75cl or equivalent).

Please contact our Customer Service Team if you have any questions.