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Grange, Penfolds 1981

Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by Penfolds

Colour Region Vintage Wine Size Qty Units Price IB GBP Per Score
Australia1981Grange, Penfolds


BT0 \ 33466.67
bt97 RP3553.3333333333397.0097.00Grange, Penfolds0.7510
Wines are offered subject to remaining unsold. E&OE.

Tasting Notes

The 1981 stood out as slightly superior. Winemaker John Duval always felt this was a tannic style of Grange, but the wine has shed its tannins, and this is one of the few vintages where the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon was above 10%. Sweet notes of creme de cassis, cedarwood, charcoal, and barbecue spices are followed by a full-bodied, opulent wine displaying heady amounts of alcohol, glycerin, and density in its full-bodied, skyscraper-like texture. I was drinking this wine with great pleasure in the mid-nineties, yet here it is nearly 15 years later, and the wine does not appear to have budged much from its evolutionary state. This is a testament to how remarkably well these wines hold up, and age at such a glacial pace. Grange, Penfolds' flagship wine, is, by many accounts, the most renowned and world-famous wine produced in Australia, and these six vintages from my cellar all acquitted themselves well. These wines are almost always Shiraz, but many vintages include less than 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and there are cross-appellations blends from vineyards in the Barossa and McLaren Vale.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (183), June 2009
Read more tasting notes...

Winemaker John Duval called the 1981 a "big, tannic Grange." It is just that, a very powerful, inky, purple-colored wine that is still almost primary and unevolved in its surprising youthfulness. This formidably endowed, broodingly backward, thick, full-bodied, muscular wine has a boatload of chocolate-infused plum, caramel, and cassis flavors. With high tannin, huge grip, and some propensity toward austerity, this is a monster Grange that may not totally assimilate the high levels of tannin, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about its future. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2025.

Robert Parker, RobertParker.com (Feb 2002), February 2002

Blend: 89%Shiraz, 11%Cabernet Sauvignon

My tastings of the 1981 Grange have always revealed an exceptional wine, although there has been some variation in quality, with scores ranging from the low to the mid-nineties. It has always exhibited phenomenal quantities of ripe fruit, an opulent, sweet palate, a dark purple color, and gobs of glycerin and alcohol in the lusty finish. At some tastings it appeared to be cut from the same cloth as the glorious 1971 and 1976. At other times it revealed a rustic side. In this tasting, it ranked as one of the great wines of the eighties, rivaling the 1982 and being eclipsed by the nearly perfect 1986. The powerful 1981 remains youthful and unevolved, and in need of another 3-5 years of cellarings. It should keep for another 15+ years.

Production: 9,460 cases.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (100), August 1995
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.