Holding a glass of G3 equating Penfolds’s special wine blended from three Grange vintages spanning seven years – 2008, 2012 and 2014 (The straight-up 2014 Grange will go on sale in a year’s time in 2018). It was especially opened and handed to me by Penfolds’ chief winemaker Peter Gago during it’s worldwide launch first stopping in HK. Few of us were very lucky to taste and witness to the only time (most probably) publicly poured before the only 1200-bottle production disappears into deep cellars of wine collectors around the world.
With a price tag of AUD 3000 (HKD 17928; USD 2300) per bottle while a 2008 and a 2012 Grange is roughly around AUD600 per bottle, there have been countless number of collectors asking me the same question ” How does it tastes? Is it that good?” My answer to it was, “Yes, it is fabulous, everything beautiful of Grange in a bottle.” In fact, it has Grange 2008’s full rich deep and structural style, a solid anchor; while 2012 brings a lovely elegance, a sheen, and the 2014 brings a freshening up quality to the G3, as Peter suggested.
Blending vintages to create a more balanced style is never a new thing especially in Champagne where different vintages (or reserved wine were blended to create their house style), while Penfold had been blending multiple vintages in their fortified wines long ago, however to Penfold, blending of different vintages of wine is a first for them.
To create the blend, bottles of 2008 (98% Shiraz, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon; 89% Barossa Valley, 9% Clare Valley, 2% Magill Estate) were emptied back into barrels, portion of 2012 (98% Shiraz and a leavening of just 2% Cabernet Sauvignon; Barossa Valley (81%) and McLaren Vale (19%) )were added before it went to bottle, and then to “freshen up” the mix by adding 2014 that was still maturing. The blend aged further in barrels for more than a year before this release.
To Peter, 1+1+1 equals to more than 3. It is quite true it is more than the mere sum of its part. In my glass was recognisably Grange, while (grange needs years of aging, this one is quite perfect). Knowing it’s a special blend, it was fun to search for the vintages in the glass. It has very complex nose packed with aromas of blue and dark berries, sandalwood, layers of baking spices, beautiful supple tannins, juicy acidity, intense but polish, elegant yet powerful, amazingly long lifting finish with great lightness to it.
One may question if it is worth it, and one may say they can as well blend these vintages of Grange and creating a “Pseudo G3” which will only cost you ¼ of G3’s price which that can surely be done. (I did blend few different vintages of some same Chateau from Bordeaux and serve in blind to makers to have a good laugh) However, we may not have the exact same proportion (which to Peter, that’s utterly important and that’s why they kept it as a “secret” to public) Anyhow, all G3 were sold out to my knowledge, which seems to me it does excite luxury wine collectors no matter what the cost is, and if you like to try your luck, you may like to go quickly to Penfolds cellar doors and get your hands on a bottle if you have a lazy AUD3000 to spare.