Questions or comments on our new mobile-responsive site? Tell us here.
Log In / Join Now

what we're drinking now

Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

Dispelling Misconceptions About the Great Grange

Penfolds Shiraz South Australia Grange 1999

James Laube
Posted: January 6, 2009

When my friends decided to uncork a 1999 Grange the other night, I could hardly wait. I love Grange and once tasted a vertical at the winery in South Australia and later interviewed its creator, the late great Max Schubert. The 1990 Grange was Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 1995.

The first whiff showed a strong dose of classy mocha and dill-laced oak, and I commented on that. Everyone agreed the wood smelled wonderful, and I offered that this wine showed how complex and distinctive American oak could be. My friends acted surprised. American oak? Really. Yup.

The wine was rich and powerful, notable for its plush blackberry fruit. It's an amazingly youthful Shiraz, I offered, to which my friends again expressed surprise. "I always thought it was Cabernet," one of them said, and that's a common misconception about Grange. A third misconception is that Grange comes from a single vineyard. But it doesn't. It is usually a blend of at least two sites, or the best Shiraz the winery can find.

PENFOLDS Shiraz South Australia Grange 1999 (94 points, $210 on release)

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 300,000+ ratings.