James Halliday's top 10 Grange

We recap James Halliday's top 10 Granges – so far.

The 10 vintages of Penfolds Grange that follow are my personal favourites and, while the tasting notes were made by me at the most recent Penfolds Rewards of Patience tasting – held in Australia in September 2007 - they are not the same as the notes officially published.  Those notes represent an amalgam of all of the tasters present. These notes here are my personal notes from the day. They were not taken on reputation; they are as the wines presented to me in the glass on the day.

In reading my notes, it is vital to remember the old English wine trade saying, “There are no great old wines, only great old bottles.” This is as true for Grange as any other red wine spanning almost 60 years where cork is the closure. You will notice references to a second bottle here and there, and you will also see references to ‘Clinic’. In the first instance, and despite behind-the-scenes screening of the wines before being presented to the panel for tasting, the bottle so presented was deemed to be atypical, and a second bottled called for. In the case of ‘Clinic’, it means the wine was assessed at a Penfolds Red Wine Clinic, topped up and given a new cork.

Thus, if you have any of these great old vintages in your cellar, or are tempted to buy bottles at Langton’s auctions, be aware there may be a substantial difference between your appreciation of the wine and my tasting note. Simply don’t shoot the messenger.

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