Ask anyone, wine drinker or not, to name the most prestigious wines they know and it’s a certainty that Penfolds Grange will be on that list, perhaps at the top. So brilliant is its heritage and namesake in the Australian (and global) market that it has become a wine people remember drinking every single time a cork is popped. My first taste of Grange came a few years back to celebrate a good friend overcoming a period of poor health. We opened a bottle that my Father had gifted him for his 50th Birthday some 12 years earlier. It’s a glass of wine that meant much more than the year stamped on its label and the associated score from James Halliday – it cemented a moment in time that I won’t soon forget, and I think that right there embodies what Grange means to so many people.
The wine pairs itself not just with the meal you’re having, but the moment you’re enjoying it in and the people you’re sharing it with. With this in mind, we asked our TVG readers to submit their personal Penfolds Grange stories for their chance to win a bottle of recently released 2012 Penfolds Grange courtesy of Dan Murphys. We received hundreds of entries, and have spent hours reading through your incredible tasting tales. However there can only be one winner, and diverting from the more common themes of weddings, anniversaries and birthdays, it was unanimous that our chosen winner embodied entirely that which we’ve described above – a wine that will make an otherwise ordinary day turn into an extraordinary, never-forget, moment between friends.
Eight years ago (when I was 20) at the Hunters Hill Hotel (HHH), a few mates and myself were enjoying a few beers and got chatting to a group of girls. We ended up getting invited back to one of the girl’s parents waterfront house in Woolwich while they were on holiday in Zermatt. She told us to go down to the cellar and grab some wine. We came back with three bottles of ’98 Grange which we tucked straight into. A few more followed and eventually the night ended.
The next morning, dad woke me up (I was late for footy) and asked why there was a half full bottle of Grange in our kitchen. I told him that I brought it home for him and he then sat down to polish it off – at 9:30am on a Saturday. It sounds far-fetched, but this is 100% true.
We moved into a new house and found some old bottles of Grange (Vintage 1961, 1967 and 1983) hidden in the garage. One was unfortunately corked but we drank the other two bottles when we moved out!
James D S Marshall:
After years in the business my father sold his wine bar, including all the stock on hand with the exception of ’92 Grange and a carton of mixed reds he had set aside for high-class patrons. Two weeks after the finalised sale of the bar I took his car out (an early 90s Jag sovereign) and noticed a pungent smell. Sure enough, the whole carton of wine, including the Grange, had fallen victim to the local potholes and my dad’s poor memory. I’ve never been so tempted to try decanting carpet…
I was waitering at a dinner party held by Joe Hockey (former treasurer of Australia). He told his guests they needed to clear out his wine cellar before he left for New York. Joe and I both walked into his cellar and grabbed the closest bottles to us, one being a 1994 bottle of Penfolds Grange given to him by Buzz Aldrin. Joe let me have a glass (my first and only) to toast his farewell to New York and to celebrate the second man on the moon. He let me keep the bottle which is signed by Buzz and is sitting in my room.
This must be one of the greatest yobbo wine stories in the oenological world. I organised a pig hunting trip with mates in the border region between SA and NSW with the aim of just having a good time living off the land. We decided to spit roast a young pig on the camp fire and enjoy the wines that each person had chosen for the trip.
One of my friends had grabbed a bottle of wine from the wine fridge as he was rushing out of the door. Yes, you guessed it he had accidently grabbed a properly cellared 1991 Grange.
At first, I thought he had just put cheap wine into an empty Grange bottle, but no, it was real and the mate’s father, a prominent lawyer and quite the oenophile had obviously been saving this bottle for a more auspicious occasion.
After some persuasion and facing up to the fact that it had been in a hot car for a whole day and night we proceeded to drink this classic wine covered in grime and guts but feeling like millionaires under the Southern Cross as we ate hunks of roasted meat and quaffed down our serendipitous Grange.
Congratulations Tony! Please contact us via our Facebook page to claim your bottle of 2012 Penfolds Grange.
Thanks to everyone who entered. Our next competition is just around the corner!