Declared a vintage of two distinct halves, with well-balanced fruit at optimum baume levels achievable with an early harvest. A seamless growing season with steady, early season growth and healthy canopy development. Cool and dry conditions during the start of summer meant that vines were poised for a textbook harvest and conditions were conducive to excellent flavour, colour and phenolic development. New Year temperatures would eventually crescendo in ensuing months, dry conditions would persevere and March the 3rd served as a pivot point—cleaving the vintage into the two well defined halves resulting in a profound difference in quality of fruit picked. Old vines with balanced canopies capitalised on the perfect growing conditions preceding the heat spell.
“Weighted-average vintage charts may not do justice to the South Australian harvest in 2008. Penfolds reds will.”
Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker:
“No DNA check required—an immediate familial link to the 1998 Grange convincingly transcends both a decade and the transitional closure of a millennium.”
“Not to forget—proactive fruit selection and fortunate Shiraz picking-dates by Penfolds in the Barossa…escaping the impact of the well-documented 16-day 2008 South Australian heatwave.”
- SA - Other South Australian
- South Australia
100 Points - Deep purple-black in color, the 2008 Grange puts forward a very complex nose packed with aromas of mulberries, layers of baking spices, cloves and cinnamon with nuances of minced meat, anise, potpourri and whiffs of dried mint and chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, taut and very spicy in the mouth, it shows touches of sandalwood and Chinese five spice complementing the layers of dark fruit flavors. It is framed by firm, grainy tannins and a refreshing acid line before finishing very long with aniseed and lingering blackberry preserves notes. This is clearly a wonderfully opulent and a magic vintage for this label.
Rating 100 - Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW Drink it from 2018 to 2035+. Wine Advocate #205 Feb 2013
99 Points - 2008 Grange took me by surprise. I was expecting a hulking, looming thing that harked back to the blockbusters of years passed. What I did not expect was a tasting note featuring ‘purity’ three times (even ‘aching purity’), ‘refinement,’ even ‘detail’. There is not an iota of heatwave effect here, but that’s not the point. The point is, season aside, 2008 epitomises the modern face of Grange. Yes, this is still Grange as we know it, with its backdrop of high cocoa dark chocolate, its hints of coal steam and its definitive, monumental intensity. But there’s a newfound overlay of brilliantly precise black fruit definition here, with perfectly ripe black plums, black cherries, blackberries and black pastilles all perfectly laid out in their gloriously intricate detail. Grange tannins are here to behold, charged with great endurance, yet super fine and somehow more lacy than ever. Persistence transcends time, lingering, undeviated, for minutes. Grange 2008 has an appeal and enticement already, and while it won’t be the longest-lived Grange ever, it will confidently improve for decades and afford great joy along every bit of the way. For the record, 98% shiraz and 2% cabernet sauvignon from 89% Barossa Valley, 9% Clare Valley and 2% Magill Estate. 5000-10000 cases.
Rating99 - Drink 2028 - 2043 - Tyson Stelzer, www.tysonstelzer.com
96 Points - The 2008 release of Penfolds Grange is made with 98% shiraz and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s made with grapes grown in the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, and on the Magill Estate. Unusually this release could be called Grange Barossa shiraz, because 89 percent of this release was grown in the Barossa. Released in Australia on the first Thursday in May.
Announces itself in the mouth. No mistaking the wine, its style. Smells of toast, pan juices, Asian spice, honey and soy. Tastes of black coal, sweet plums, seaweed, black tea and old dry earth. As old school as it always is but tamed, controlled, an old school character on its best behaviour. Australians love Grange because it’s a straight shooter; there’s nothing effete about it. It’s a wine of conviction. It knows its game and it plays to its strengths. This 2008 is a release that illustrates perfectly what Grange is, and does. Importantly, style aside, it is a wine of enormous tannic power and quite remarkable length, and while we all might disagree on style we all agree that great wine is characterised by its length and, usually, by its ability to perform in the cellar. This wine has length in spades, and cellarability guaranteed. We know this because of its track record, but also because of its performance in the glass in front of us today; it tastes of the past, and will perform in the future.
Rating 96 - Drink : 2020 - 2040+ Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front (22 April 2013)
Winery Tasting Notes
Impenetrable dark core.
Somewhat intimidating? Yes. Brazen? Never.
An immediate and powerful lift of cola/soy/hoisin/red licorice, propelled by tea-smoke and ferric influences.
Less obvious nut-husk/tan-bark notes align with lush aromas of ripe (jamon-wrapped) figs and a panaforte plushness. With air, blueberry fruits and mocha arise, the oak (100% new!) remaining concealed—too much aromatic background chatter to register!
A muscular push/wave/affront across the entire palate—from start to finish. Never oppressive nor ungainly, yet captivatingly forceful. i.e. a vinous lava flow of dark licorice and malt— ‘molten’, with a self-saucing chocolate pudding richness and blackberry, elderberry fruits. Pronounced tannins are unleashed, and the Clare component makes its (9%) presence felt, adding to both flavour pool and extract.
Power and density naturally respectful of balance and structure.