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Raising a Toast to Penfold Grange and Aldi Shiraz

Posted: Monday, 24 July 2017 11:46

 

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Raising a Toast to Penfold Grange and Aldi Shiraz

July 24: A bottle of the iconic Australian wine Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 was sold for US$ 41,000 last Wednesday at an auction in Melbourne by a fine and rare wine store MW Wines, making it one of the most expensive Australian wines ever sold but for regular wine drinkers there is a supermarket Shiraz from Aldi which won the Wine of the Year Award at Melbourne International Wine Competition last week and is available for a very reasonable US$ 5.54

Click For Large ViewA single bottle of Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1951 was sold for A$51,750 (US$41,000) last Wednesday at an auction in Melbourne. This is one of the highest prices paid for an Australian wine ever and might help Australia change the reputation of a country producing and exporting cheap plonk. The first vintage of the iconic wine, made predominantly Shiraz and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon was made by the chief winemaker Max Schubert who had signed each bottle then. The bottle was sold to a private wine investor by a fine and rate wine company MW Wines (not owned by a Master of Wine but named perhaps as Melbourne Wines initially because of its location). The 1951 vintage was never sold to public but was given away free to friends by Schubert. 

 “Australia is producing a lot of top-end, world-class wines and we are seeing a lot more interest and greater awareness of that, particularly with the Asian market opening up,” said Nick Stamford, managing director of MW Wines. Australia is the world’s fifth-biggest wine exporter behind France, Italy, Spain and Chile. It is the most popular supplier in the UK thanks to the mass-market brands, like Lindeman’s and Jacob’s Creek which is also the biggest selling imported wine brand in India.

The Australian wine industry has gone through a rough patch after the 2008 global meltdown due to over-production, global wine glut and strong Australian dollar, making its wines more expensive abroad. But a production cut and a push by Wine Australia, a government body that promotes the industry (IGPB was formed in India on similar lines for promoting exports but it failed to deliver and is currently in a state of coma), to boost awareness of the country’s premium wine brands, has resulted in recovery which has been also helped by a sales increase in the Chinese market.

Piece of History

Nick says he is aware he was selling not just a bottle of wine but a piece of history. Only about 160 cases were produced in 1951; less than 20 are assumed to have been left unopened.

Tasting Notes from Penfolds which opened several bottles of 1951 Grange Hermitage in 2012 reported that most of the 1951 is now past its peak. "Some bottles still have fruit sweetness and flavour length. Largely the wine has a dull tawny colour and skeletal palate structure with little flesh and fading tannins. I would imagine this one's going to be part of history rather than being drunk. It's an investment”, Stamford said.

Aldi ‘Wine of the Year’ Shiraz at under $6

For those who might salivate at the ‘undrinkable’, investment-grade only Penfolds Grange 1951 (post 1989 the wine was renamed as Penfolds Grange) , here is an interesting and very palatable news- The One Road South Australian Heathcote Shiraz 2015 won Wine Of The Year Award in the Best Value Shiraz category at the Melbourne International Wine competition last week. At A $6.99 (US $5.54), it’s a great value- for money quaffable wine and for drinking now while still at its prime.

Our Aussie friends may want to pick up a bottle from Aldi and raise a Toast to the iconic Penfolds Grange with an Aldi Shiraz in their glasses and say Jai Ho!

For an earlier related Article, visit

World's Most Expensive Wine an Objet d'art

Subhash Arora

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