It’s not everyday that you get a chance to taste one of the most famous wines of the world, so when I learned that DLynn Proctor, Penfolds Ambassador and star of the documentary films ‘Somm’ and ‘Somm 2: Into the Bottle’ would be in my area, I jumped at the opportunity.
Penfolds is an integral part of the history of Australian winemaking. Founded in 1844, Penfolds‘ legacy really started with chief winemaker Max Schubert who held the title from 1948 to 1975. He presented a wine to the Board of Directors in 1957 which he called Grange. To his dismay, no one liked the wine and he was forced to take it off the market. But he surreptitiously kept producing Grange in the underground McGill Cellars, the so-called ‘hidden Grange.’ from 1957 to 1959. And when it was retasted by the Board a few years later, the wine so impressed them that they restarted its production and now Grange has become one of the world’s most famous wines.
There are 3 styles of wines produced at Penfolds: single vineyard or block; single region or sub-region; and multi-varietal blending. Grange is the best expression of this blending philosophy, made from shiraz and about 8% cabernet from different regions.
What I learned at the dinner was if you don’t want to spend $900 for a bottle of Grange, you can opt for Bin 389 Cab shiraz blend, called the ‘poor mans’ Grange at $80.
And who knows, I may get another chance to taste Grange when our Wine Lovers Tour group visits Penfolds during the harvest in April.
Here’s our menu and I think you’ll agree it was a worthwhile evening.
- Jamon & Manchego Croquetas
- Mini Chicken Empanadas
- Potato Tortilla Pintxos
- Wine: Bin 311 Chardonnay 2014
- Grilled Yellowfin Tuna Crudo
- Wine: Bin 138 Grenache shiraz mourvedre
- Shrimp on the Barbi
- Wine: Bin 389 Cab/Shiraz 2013
- Roasted Duck Breast
- Wine: Bin 407 cabernet 2013
- Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
- Wine: Grange 2011
- Chocolat Decadence Tart
- Wine/Port: Club Tawny