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Complete Penfolds Grange tasting could be the last ever

What may be the last ever complete museum set of Penfolds Grange vintages is being tasted today by a panel of wine writers in Australia.

The panel of seven will taste all 54 vintages of Australia’s most celebrated wine, from 1952 to 2005, as part of a series of tastings to compile the latest edition of Penfolds’ The Rewards of Patience reference guide.

Among the other wines to be tasted for the guide’s sixth edition are complete sets of Penfolds St Henri, Yattarna Chardonnay and Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Penfolds Bins and the extremely rare Special Bins.

The four days of tasting in the Barossa Valley and Adelaide will provide assessments on the wines’ drinking and cellaring potential for The Rewards of Patience, which is released every five years.

Edited by Andrew Caillard MW, it incorporates the independent opinions of a range of wine writers – including on this occasion Caillard, James Halliday, Huon Hooke and Campbell Mattinson from Australia; New York-based critic Josh Greene, Neil Beckett from The World of Fine Wine, and Ch’ng Poh Tiong of The Wine Review, Singapore.

‘This is possibly the last time a complete set of impeccably-cellared museum Penfolds Grange will be opened and tasted in its entirety,’ said Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago.

‘Many of these wines are now incredibly rare. We’ve opened a few of the 1950s vintages overseas recently at recorking clinics and envisage their drinking windows may soon draw to a close.

‘On Friday [September 28] we will also see which will be the number one preferred vintage across the last half-century.’

Created by legendary Penfolds winemaker Max Schubert more than 50 years ago, Grange’s current vintage is 2002. A complete set of Grange sold recently at Langton’s Fine Wine Auction for about AUS$180,000.

Edition five of The Rewards of Patience, published in 2004, went as far as the 2001 Grange. This latest edition will cover as far as the 2005 Grange, which is due to be released in 2010. It will also include the special Bin wines of the 2004 vintage and update the drinking and cellaring progress of the wines previously featured in the fifth edition.

Edition six is scheduled for publication in autumn 2008.

Written by Richard Woodard

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