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Penfolds Grange 2006 was launched last night along with six other classic Penfolds Chardonnays, Shiraz and Cabernets.
The wines were presented in London to a group of mainly Penfolds collectors and merchants, along with a smattering of press.
The launch of the 2006 Grange – Australia’s most famous wine – ‘completed the pattern of “great sixes”’, Penfolds brand ambassador Tom Portet said. ‘It follows in the footsteps of the 1996, 1976, 1986 and 1996 – all great classical Grange vintages.’
Also released last night were a quartet of 2008s – the Yattarna Chardonnay, Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz and Magill Estate Shiraz – and 2007 St Henri Shiraz, and 2009 Reserve Bin 09A Adelaide Hills Chardonnay.
The 2008 wines are extraordinary, Portet said, in view of the record heatwave that hit Australia between March 3 and 17, when night-time temperatures rarely dropped below 30 degrees.
However the Shiraz for the Magill, head winemaker Peter Gago points out in the accompanying tasting notes, was picked ‘almost a month before the heatwave’.
This is the first time the wines have been seen in Europe, although they have already been released in Australia.
Wine critic James Halliday, writing in The Australian, said he was ‘extremely impressed’ by the wines.
Of the Grange 2006 – which contains 2% Cabernet Sauvignon along with the Shiraz – he praised the ‘strikingly complex array of black characters that run all the way through the wine…anise, licorice, tar, bitter chocolate, blackberry, prune and peppercorns’ and suggested it had a ‘great future’.
He also singled out the Bin 707 – it now ‘sits on the right hand of Grange’ – for its ‘fragrance and elegance’, especially coming as it did from the heatwave year.
With the Magill Shiraz ‘one of the best ever’, Halliday said ‘it has been a long time since Penfolds has had such a convincing array of wines.’
The Penfolds Grange retails at around £245 a bottle, the rest of the wines between £42 for the Bin 09A and £84 for the Bin 707.
Story by Adam Lechmere
Courtesy of Decanter