Wine of the Week - Penfolds Grange 2015

Text: Ivy Tsang

After a long anticipation, Penfolds Grange 2015 was released on August 8. As always, Grange is the highlight of the Penfolds Collection 2019.

The glory of Penfolds started in 1844, when founders Dr. Christopher and Mary Penfold established Penfolds wine company at Magill Estate, making fortified wines. By 1907, it had become the largest winery in South Australia. Max Schubert, who was just a messenger boy when he joined the company in 1931, was another iconic figure in Penfolds’ history. By 1948, he became the first Chief Winemaker of Penfolds.


In 1950, he was sent to Europe for wine making practices. On a trip to Bordeaux, he was inspired and impressed by the Bordeaux wines and dreamed of making “something different and lasting” of his own. He started the experiment and of course, Shiraz was chosen for the terroir was just perfect for it at South Australia.


The project did not have a good start as the top management did not like it when Max first showed his effort in 1957. He did not give up and continued to craft his wine in secret, hiding vintages of 57, 58 & 59. Eventually, the board agreed to have the project restarted in 1960. From then on, Grange has become the star of Australian wines, with all the positive ratings and awards, including the 1990 vintage which was named Wine Spectator’s Red Wine of The Year in 1995. Not like the Old-World wines which we usually look for single vineyard, Grange goes the other way-round. It’s multi-vineyards, and even multi-districts, only the best grapes go into the bottle.


2015 is another great vintage of Grange. It was a warmer and drier-than-average Spring, encouraged early flowering and fruit-set. Then followed by a hot summer (as usual) which accelerated ripening and triggered an early, condensed harvest. Due to the early harvest, the Shiraz and Cabernet tends to have lower yields. Early harvest also brings good natural acidity and spices to Grange, together with the ripe fruit, complex oaky aromas and flavours, 2015 is not doubt one excellent vintage which has awesome cellaring potential.


Though I hate to talk about ratings, but Grange, being one of the most highly rated wines in Australia, is something worth mentioning. To me, the story of Grange is about heritage and never give up your dreams, which is a very good story to keep in mind!