By Kori ~ January 12th, 2010.
In 2005, we took the trip of a lifetime to Australia. We fell in love with the country, the people, and the wine. We especially enjoyed the time we spent in Sydney and in the Barossa Valley. While we were there, we visited Penfolds and really liked their entire lineup of wines. However, we did not have an opportunity to taste Penfolds Grange on that trip. Penfolds Grange is Australia’s most famous wine and one of the most sought after wines in the world.
Shortly after we returned home, unbeknownst to me, Mom and Dad decided that they would like to buy a bottle of Penfolds Grange from the 1976 vintage (my birth year) to give to me on my 30th birthday in January 2006.
Dad began searching for the wine, starting with domestic sources. When he didn’t have any luck, he decided to call a wine shop in Sydney that we frequented on our trip, Australian Wine Centre, to see if they could help him locate a bottle. The good news was that they did have a bottle, but the bad news was that it was going to cost a fortune to ship it to Seattle. I have to give them credit for having excellent customer service. They worked out a deal with an importer to send along this one bottle for Dad with their next shipment to the U.S. When it arrived in California, the importer then forwarded it to Dad.
Dad knew that he was taking a big chance on a 30 year old bottle of wine. Who knows how it had been stored over those years? And would it still be good at that age anyway?
I was absolutely ecstatic when I opened my present from Mom and Dad at my birthday party and found this bottle of 1976 Penfolds Grange. What a fabulous surprise!
I decided not to drink it immediately but to hold onto it for another special occasion. A couple of months after my daughter Sydney was born in early 2007, I decided that it was time to pull out my prized bottle to enjoy with a family dinner. Mom cooked one of her fabulous meals, and we opened the wine. The good news is that after all of the hype, the effort to find it, and the expense, the 1976 Penfolds Grange was well worth it. It lived up to and exceeded our expectations. Hands down, this was the best wine that I’ve ever had.
Since I drank this wine before we started Wine Peeps, I did not take detailed tasting notes. However, I do remember it being very dark, inky, full-bodied, extremely well-balanced, and it had great fruit for a 30 year old wine. And it did not taste like it was anywhere near the end of its life. The bad news is that we don’t have another bottle.
1976 Penfolds Grange (South Australia, Australia): 89% Shiraz, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where we purchased it: Australian Wine Centre (Sydney, Australia), $613
What is the best wine you’ve ever had? Please share your memories of the wine and any stories that go along with it in the comments.
Filed under: Australian Wine, Five-Star Quality Wines, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Wines Over $25