The highly prized ‘Penfolds Grange’ is produced using mainly Shiraz grapes, mixed with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon. Produced from what many consider to be Australia’s ‘first growth’, Penfolds Grange is regarded to be Australia’s most collectible wine.
Without the passion and dedication of winemaker Max Schubert, Penfolds Grange might not exist today. Touring around Europe and spending a lot of time in Bordeaux, France, Max spent much of 1950 learning winemaking techniques. When he returned to Penfolds in 1951, Schubert produced the first run of Penfolds Grange, a wine designed to rival its French counterparts in aging potential and quality.
After its initial release in 1951, Penfolds Grange was not a big seller due to Fortified Wines being the latest trend in the wine world. As time went by, sales did not pick up, prompting Penfolds management to cancel production in 1957.
A little thing like management canceling production was not going to stop Schubert, who continued producing the wine in secrecy. In 1960, eight years after its first vintage, wine critics began to take notice of the quality of Penfolds Grange. With the increasing popularity, Schubert was instructed to re-start production by management, who were unaware that Schubert had not actually stopped production.
It was first entered into wine competitions in 1962 and since has been collecting gold medals from numerous wine awards, including the Wine Olympics.
Older labels of Penfolds Grange still bear the name ‘Hermitage’ which was originally used in Australia as another term from Shiraz. In 1990, the European Union objected to Penfolds using the term ‘Hermitage’ on the labels, citing that it was already a recognized winemaking region in France. Penfolds conceded and removed it from the labels.
Anyone who has seen a number of grange bottles will also notice that most carry the signature of "Bin 95". This indicates that the wine has been stored in Bin 95, which has remain unchanged since 1964. Originally Grange was stored in Bin 1 and later, Bin 4. In the following vintages, it was housed in various Bins until finding a permanent home in Bin 95.
With such a rich history, its little wonder that Penfolds Grange is one of Australia’s most well known wines.
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