Your Penfolds Grange Gift Guide: Which Vintages Make the Best Gifts?

Penfolds Grange Gift Guide

Our Penfolds Grange gift guide includes the 2004 vintage, which received near-perfect scores from critics. Photo Credit: Flickr CC user Vincent Brown

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 Fewer than 1,200 people are going to receive a bottle of coveted Penfolds g3 this holiday season. This brand new, limited-edition wine is made from a blend of three different Grange vintages (the 2008, 2012, and 2014) that are among the best that Penfolds has ever produced. Because of its rarity and high quality, Penfolds g3 is a wine that just about any collector would love to see under the Christmas tree this year. The only problem is that these bottles will be nearly impossible to find. You can try to order one from the Penfolds website, but with such limited supplies (only 1,200 bottles exist), securing an order of Penfolds g3 is like winning the lottery.

 
Rather than putting your time, money, and energy into trying to obtain Penfolds g3 this year, consider some of this estate’s other equally-incredible vintages. Penfolds is one of the few wine producers who rarely, if ever, make a truly mediocre wine. In fact, they are considered by many critics to be Australia’s best producer, and these wines can even hold their own against some of France’s finest red blends. Penfolds also has a wide range of wines that appeal to just about any palate, making them excellent gift ideas. Using this Penfolds Grange gift guide, you can find a perfect bottle for the wine enthusiast on your holiday list without stressing over whether it’ll sell out before you can get some.

Which Is Better: Rare Releases, or Flagship Wines?

Penfolds releases a small number of limited edition bottles just about every year, and these wines almost always sell out quickly. The Australian producer loves to experiment with exciting new blending techniques, and even unusual wine bottle shapes. For instance, a few years ago, Penfolds released a collectible version of its 2004 Block 42 wine, which came in a custom-made ampoule rather than a regular bottle. The glass ampoule was so unique that collectors who bought one also received the privilege of having lead winemaker Peter Gago come to their home to help them open the container. Frankly, it’s tough to beat a wine gift like this–how often do you get to meet the winemaker in person?

However, Penfolds’ classic flagship wines can give even their rarest limited edition bottles a run for their money. When it comes to Penfolds, you don’t have to buy the rarest bottles on the estate in order to get collectors excited about these gifts. Their aged vines and dedication to quality winemaking techniques give these wines a rich personality without having to resort to marketing gimmicks. If you’re looking for the best gift for wine collectors, go for the flagship bottles: they’re easier to find and pretty much guaranteed to get a great reception.

Choosing Between Penfolds’ Flagship Wine Labels

Before you take a look at our Penfolds Grange gift guide, consider that Grange isn’t the only label to choose from, and your recipient might love another one of Penfolds’ labels even more. Every collector is different; some may prefer Chardonnay to Shiraz, while others may already have a massive collection of Grange in their cellars. Here’s our rundown of Penfolds’ flagship labels:

  • Grange: This blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon will appeal to the greatest number of collectors and wine enthusiasts. The vines that grow Penfolds’ Shiraz grapes are ancient, and always produce a wine that’s intense, yet refined. Buy this label for serious collectors, or any gift recipients who are new to Penfolds wines.
  • Yattarna: This Chardonnay from the estate has come a long way in recent years. It used to be one step below Grange in quality, but today, it’s capable of competing with Penfolds’ top Grange. Buy this for collectors who love an experimental white wine, or for those who aren’t fans of Shiraz.
  • The Bins: These wines come in a variety of styles, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Shiraz, and from a wide range of vineyards. If you have a collector on your list who loves a particular style of wine, look into Penfolds’ various Bin releases. For instance, if your gift recipient loves a well-structured Cab, then Bin 407 will be the best choice. This is also a great selection for gift recipients who want to drink their wine right now, rather than storing them for decades in a cellar.

In addition to these flagship offerings, Penfolds also sells collectible wine under the “Max’s” and “Koonunga Hill” labels, both of which feature rich, balanced flavors. While these wines aren’t as popular on the market as Grange, they could be a great choice for recipients who already have quite a few Grange bottles in their cellars. To decide which wine to buy this holiday season, find out what they already have in their collection. If they have a number of Grange bottles already, either choose a vintage that they don’t yet have, or pick one of the other flagship wines. Your gift can give them the chance to taste a brand new label that they’ve never tried before.

The Penfolds Grange Gift Guide for Collectors

While Penfolds’ other flagship wines are also great wine gift ideas, the Grange label is the one most likely to impress the selective wine connoisseurs on your gift list. Since its first release in 1951, Penfolds’ Grange label has remained one of Australia’s most consistent wines in history. You will rarely see a critic rate these wines below a score of 90, and in recent years, Grange has received perfect marks across the board. These are formidable, dense wines that will cellar for decades. Because Grange wines are so long-lived, our Penfolds Grange gift guide only contains the top vintages that the estate has produced. While other Grange vintages drink well and still make excellent gifts, these particular vintages make extra special gifts for wine lovers, especially if your recipient plans on storing the bottle long-term.

Our top pick is the 2013 Grange vintage. Currently shipping on pre-arrival, this wine will soon be worth much more than it is today. Once these bottles hit the secondary market, they will likely skyrocket in price, meaning that you will get the best deal on bottles by investing in them early. The spicy, intensely aromatic vintage received perfect scores from critics and should cellar for several decades.

If you’re looking for a bottle that’s already on the market, you may also consider the 2008 vintage. The hot weather that year allowed the Shiraz grapes to truly shine in the blend; it’s the perfect representation of Penfolds at its best, and it will impress even the most critical collector on your gift list this year.

In addition to these two vintages, you may also consider one of the following wines, all of which received these high scores, on average, from critics:

  • 2012 – 96 points
  • 2010 – 97 points
  • 2006 – 95 points
  • 2005 – 95 points
  • 2004 – 96 points
  • 2002 – 94 points
  • 2001 – 94 points
  • 1999 – 93 points
  • 1998 – 95 points
  • 1991 – 94 points
  • 1990 – 94 points
  • 1986 – 95 points

To decide which vintage to choose, consider whether you want your gift recipient to drink it now, or keep it in storage. Vintages prior to 2000 should be ready to drink now, whereas those made after 2000 will likely need more time to mature. Regardless of which vintage you buy, you can rest easy knowing that you are giving your gift recipient the best wine that Australia has to offer. Once they try Penfolds Grange, they may never want to buy Shiraz from another producer again.

Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storageContact us today to get access to the world’s best wine.

At Vinfolio, we help our clients buy, sell, store, and manage their most treasured bottles of wine. But in our spare time, we’re just a group of passionate and slightly obsessed oenophiles--we love sharing a great glass of vintage Champagne, followed by a Burgundy, and then a Bordeaux, to get things started. We’re always obsessing over the latest (and oldest) vintages, and we want to share that knowledge and passion with our readers.