The challengers have come thick and fast over the years but Penfolds Grange still remains Australia's ultimate wine in the broadest sense. The 2005 release certainly has its work cut out for it, having to follow on from a wine that should go on to become an all time great Grange (2004-98pts). A rather customary addition of cabernet sauvignon (4%) was included in the 2005, which was sourced from South Australia's Barossa Valley (88%), McLaren Vale and Coonawarra.
It's notably closed on first sniff, with a bouquet that hides deep in the bottom of the glass. Slowly it unfolds to a rustic, savoury fruited and complex nose of cola, berries, red and dark fruits and aniseed, overlying some carefully laden chocolate/vanilla oak (18 months in 100% new American) with lashings of meat and leather. Similarly, the complex palate is also closed and withdrawn, yet fine, long and penetrative, with an understated, lingering depth of masculine, earthy plum and rhubarb fruits graced by smatterings of chocolate. A fresh presence of youthful, sour-edged sweet fruit flavours adorn its long aftertaste, as well as the complementary extract of Grange's strong structural elements and iron-clad tannins.
O It's very hard to rate this young, closed, long term wine right now. Clearly (or downright obviously even) it's demanding a long stint in the cellar to unfold and reveal its inner beauty. What I can say is that it's a bloody good 2005 that will reward patience. Wait, wait, wait. Drink 2020-2035.