Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace are the two most famous red wines in the whole of Australia.  However, since they are both so expensive, I have never tried any until recently when an Australian friend bought them to Hong Kong and shared with me.  I was really looking forward to try these two bottles of Penfolds Grange 1992 and Henschke Hill of Grace 1996 to see if I (as an Old World wine lover) was willing to pay such an expensive price to buy Australian wines in future.

Penfolds Grange was the creation by winemaker Max Schubert after he visited Bordeaux in 1950.  After learning the winemaking techniques used in Bordeaux, Max would like to create an Australian red that can challenge the best of Bordeaux.  The result is Penfold Granges which, just like the best of Bordeaux, would normally require 20 years to reach its peak.

The first vintage for Penfolds Grange was 1951 but it was never sold commercially.  So, the first commercial release of Penfolds Grange was 1952.  And given that the most famous Syrah in the world at that time was Hermitage, Penfolds Grange was actually called Penfolds Grange Hermitage in its early years until 1990.

Most luxury wines today are either coming from a single vineyard or from a single region.  It is really uncommon to have an expensive wine coming from multiple regions and Penfolds Grange is one of this exception.   Most of the shiraz Penfolds Grange used are coming from Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.  In addition, Grange usually will have 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon added.  This 1992 Penfolds Grange is no exception and has 10% Cabernet Sauvignon added.  It was aged in American oak for 18 months.

How does this 1992 Penfolds Grange perform?  Upon pouring, it immediately has explosive and intense sweet blackcurrant, chocolate, oak and vanilla flavours.  In palate, the tannins are very ripe and very fine.  It has very high level of concentration and intensity as well as a very long length.  I strongly believe it is showing very strong Australian shiraz character as it is really a bold and rich wine with very strong fruit characters.

Comparing to Penfolds Grange, Henschke Hill of Grace has many differences.  Hill of Grace is 100% shiraz with no Cabernet Sauvignon added.  While Grange is a multi-region wine, Hill of Grace is produced from Online Pharmacy No Prescription Needed vines from a single vineyard in Eden Valley.  Grange is aged in American oak but Hill of Grace is aged in predominately French oak (usually about 65% French oak and recently may even use 100% French oak).  Grange’s shiraz are usually coming from Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale which are a very hot region while Eden Valley is much cooler.

Most of these differences seem to have reflected in their wines.  While Hill of Grace is also showing strong Buy female cialis online Australian character of bold and rich wine with strong fruit character, Hill of Grace has the added dimension of elegance.  I believe this is because of vines are coming from the cooler region as well as the use of French oak.

This 1996 Hill of Grace has very intense blackcurrant and black pepper flavour together with flavours of vanilla, wet cloth, dried herbs and dried rose.  A very complex, intense, muscular and attractive nose.  In palate, it has the same level of very high complexity and intensity.  I really love this bottle!

Comparing the two, I prefer Hill of Grace over Grange.  I really hope I can have some bottles of Hill of Grace in my cellar!

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