At 33 years of age, the color is amazingly deep, dark and saturated all the way out to the rim; surely there is some browning, but my eyesight is not sharp enough to spot it. The bouquet and flavors are equally well preserved. Although 90% Shiraz (with 10% Coonawarra Cabernet), it's the Cabernet that strikes me as dominant at this stage of the wine's evolution. Black currants, plums, dark cherries and a hint of mint. Very pure, focused smells and flavors. I get a tiny bit of dry tannin on the mid-palate but mostly bright, lively fruit that lingers and lingers. This is indeed a special wine and is showing no signs of aging. Is it comparable to a Rhone Hermitage? Not at all. If I had it in a blind tasting, I would peg it as a Bordeaux, probably a St. Julian such as Gruaud Larose, from a very good vintage. I've had other vintages of Grange, but this is by far the best I've had.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Penfold's Grange Hermitage, 1978
I'm not going to pretend this wine fits into anyone's budget; this 1978 now sells for $500 to $700 a bottle, and even the current vintage will cost you almost as much. Grange does rank as one of the world's great red wines, however, and I feel privileged to have a chance to try a bottle from someone else's cellar.