Tag: Langton’s

May 05 2012

Reviews for Penfolds Grange 2007

Posted on May 05, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Reviews for the Penfolds Grange 2007 are starting to trickle in. As you may recall, the 2006 Grange was a stellar vintage. Andrew Caillard MW of Langton’s gave the wine a perfect score of 100 points, rating the 2006 Grange as the best vintage since 2004.

2006 was always going to be a hard act to follow, especially since the 2007 vintage was plagued by drought, high summer temperatures and severe frosts early in the growing season. Of course, only the best quality fruit is used for the Grange, and Penfolds has the luxury of being able to source prime material from different sites and regions. The 2007 is a blend of 97 per cent shiraz and 3 per cent cabernet sauvignon.

Grange is definitely not a wine designed to be imbibed upon release, and early reviews and scores are often revised as the wine ages. As the influential American wine critic Robert Parker commented, Grange is a wine that ages at a “glacial pace.” His Wine Advocate regularly re-tastes the wine at 3-7 year intervals, updating reviews and, most importantly, the crucial point scores.

Usually point scores and reviews for Grange tend to improve as the wine ages, but sometimes they dip and then come up again. Like a great Bordeaux, some vintages of Grange have a propensity to ‘close down’ and then ‘re-emerge’ after several more years of cellaring.

The Wine Advocate’s reviews of the celebrated 1990 Grange, for example, are a case in point. (Incidentally, this was the vintage that was named ‘Red Wine of the Year’ by the Wine Spectator magazine in 1995 – the first time it chose a wine outside of France or California!)

In his 1995 review of the 1990 vintage, Parker remarked that “The 1990 is the greatest, most complete and richest … Read the rest

Apr 04 2012

Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz: A Very Special Occasion Wine!

Posted on April 04, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Let’s start with a few highlights:

  • Released after only three years of bottle age!
  • Made from near 100 year old vines from the acclaimed Filsell vineyard in the Barossa Valley!
  • Aged for 22 months in American oak and French oak – 70 per cent new!

Few wines in Australia, let alone the world, can match the pedigree of the Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz. First released in 1988, the Meshach is truly one of Australia’s icon wines.

It’s an elegant, beautifully structured wine that is designed to be aged and enjoyed with food. James Halliday scored the most recent 2006 vintage 96 points. Here’s his review:

Good colour retention, as it should be; a very classy combination of a top vintage, high quality fruit, and practised winemaking; blackberry, plum, licorice and cedar are synergistically fused on the long, medium- to full-bodied palate. The cork quality is good, and may allow the wine to complete its journey. Shiraz.  (James Halliday Australian Wine Companion)

The signature style of the Meshach is very much representative of the winemaking philosophy of its maker, Grant Burge. A fifth-generation Barossa vigneron with more than 40 years of winemaking experience under his belt, Burge is a great believer in creating wines with enough structure, depth and complexity to age for a long time.

In an interesting video interview with Langton’s Andrew Caillard, Burge explained that the Meshach is at its best in its second decade. By then the “in your face” flavours and characters of the incredibly concentrated fruit from the old vines have softened. The wine becomes a bit lighter in body and develops complex savoury aromas and characters, which serve to balance the sweetness of the old vine fruit without diminishing its vibrancy.

Grant Burge is an example of a very successful family-owned … Read the rest

Jun 06 2011

Aussie Wine Icons: Reviews for Penfolds Grange 2006

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

The annual release in May of the latest vintage of Penfolds Grange is always greeted with a great deal of anticipation. Most retailers’ allocations are sold out even before the reviews are written!

Now the reviews are beginning to trickle in and by all accounts the 2006 vintage is one of the best to date. Andrew Caillard MW of Langton’s gave the wine a perfect score of 100 points, rating the 2006 Grange as the best vintage since 2004. (2011 Penfolds Grange “luxury & icon” wine release Andrew Caillard MW)

James Halliday, who scored the wine 98 points, pronounced 2006 as best vintage in the past 10 years, giving it a drinking window to 2050! (Sweet Release by James Halliday, The Australian, 30 April 2010).

Campbell Mattinson of The Wine Front scored the 2006 Grange 97 points. Here’s a brief excerpt from his review:

It’s not a particularly heralded vintage, in general terms, but the way this release presents in the glass is, to me, what Grange is all about. Impeccable winemaking, pure fruit, clasps of uncompromising tannin, smokin’ barrels, and thrust. It will live for a very long time, because it’s so well designed, and because it does its thing so well. (The Wine Front, 26 April 2011)

Respected British wine critic and Daily Mail wine correspondent Matthew Jukes has published an annual list of the best 100 Australian wines available in the UK market since 2004. He declared the 2006 Grange “a 20/20, perfect wine.” It is only the third wine to receive a perfect score since his 100 Best began. Here’s a brief excerpt from his glowing review:

2006 Grange is perfect in every way – density, tannins, balance, energy, volume, aroma, weight, control, oak and length. It also has style and Read the rest

Dec 12 2010

Part 2: Ata Rangi, The ‘Grand Cru’ of Martinborough Pinot Noir

Posted on December 12, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In February 2010 the Ata Rangi Pinot Noir and the Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir were named  “Great Growths of New Zealand” at the New Zealand Pinot Noir Conference.

The honour, which is New Zealand’s equivalent to Bordeaux’s ‘Grand Cru’ status, wasn’t an audacious move on the part of the Kiwis to thrust their pinot noirs into the limelight. Rather, it was appropriate recognition that New Zealand pinot noir has come of age and is now the leading New World example of fine pinot noir.

Martinborough winery Ata Rangi has been at the forefront in showing the world that New Zealand is capable of making world-class pinot noir. Langton’s Andrew Caillard recently described the Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2006 as an example of how a wine can be so “profoundly beautiful when young” that it is capable of being articulated as a “great” wine, a wine which, in his opinion, “simply transcends its genre.” (The Evolution of New Zealand Pinot Noir by Andrew Caillard, Langton’s Magazine)

Owned and managed by Clive Paton, his wife Phyll and Clive’s sister Alison, Ata Rangi’s grapes were planted on an originally bare, stony 12-acre paddock at the edge of the Martinborough village in 1980. Today Ata Rangi harvests fruit from around 120 acres, including a number of leased and local contract growers blocks.

All of the carefully chosen sites are very similar in terms of soil type and micro-climate. Key features of the terroir include:

  • shallow silt-loam over deep, free-draining alluvial gravels that force the vines to dig deep for water leading to fuller flavours and minerality in the wine
  • speckled sunshine that allows for a gentle, slow and full ripening of the grapes
  • cool and windy spring weather that limits the risk of damage to the grapes from mildew and
Read the rest