Decanting Advice - 02' Grange

I’m thinking of popping an 02’ Grange this weekend and am curious to see what others with more experience think re: decanting prior to dinner. Lately I’ve been really good about beneficially putting expectations aside when tasting hyped wines and letting them impress or not, but with a wine as iconic as this, I can’t help but want to give this wine the best chance of being awesome.

I also know it is a bit early to really drink the 02’s and it may be a bit wound up, so I was thinking of decanting and immediately pouring back into the bottle and then slow ox’ing for a few hours before dinner (or vice versa). Based solely on reputation, I would tend to sit on this for several more years yet, but I’ve never had Grange before and this is my only bottle.

Any advice is welcome.

The most recent Cellartracker review mentioned the wine shutting down in the glass after some time. I’ve never experienced this with any wine, is that a thing?

Haven’t had the '02, but I would be surprised if decanting 4-8 hours before use is a mistake.


Dusty, I’m in the same boat. I have exactly one bottle of younger Grange (mine a 1999), and I wonder sometimes when to open it.

The thing is, since prices have skyrocketed on Grange (recent vintages sell for $500-750; perhaps the most puzzling price skyrocket I’ve ever seen in the wine world), I’m pretty sure I’ll never own another bottle for the rest of my life. So I don’t have much need to try it and see how smitten I am, but rather I might as well wait until it seems squarely into its prime, whenever that is.

That’s just how I look at my bottle. Probably the smartest thing would be to sell it, as it’s doubled in price since my wife bought it for me, but I’ll hang onto it and hope for a great experience someday.

If its your only bottle, I strongly suggest waiting at least 10 years. It is still really primary and nowhere near its best


I recently had the 95, 97, 98, and 01 Grange…and all of them were a HUGE let down. The 98 was the only one that showed any structure out of the gate and it eventually became boring and monolythic. If I had an '02 I’d wait until it was 20-25 years old. Now I think you’d be WILDLY disappointed. Just my $.02

Had a 96’ recently. Super stuff. Provenance is the key. Decanted for an hour. Mike’s on the money the 02 needs more time either in the bottle or a really long time in the decanter. 4-8 hours would be about right but if it was me I’d put it back in the cellar for a while. [cheers.gif]

I know what you mean on selling it. I actually managed this from a local steakhouse for $250, which I believe was the release price. They bought it at release so I’m pretty sure of good provenance. I thought of popping it because if I do like it, I may be able to get another bottle, they’ve clearly had trouble moving it through the dining room. Even at $250, it is easily the most I’ve spent on a bottle to date.

Good advice all, I just hate to sit on it for 10 more years because the let down would be that much more. . . I have trouble with getting attached to bottles I have owned for years, much more than bottles purchased already mature.

Regardless of whether you open this now or not I would take more at the $250 price if available. You will not lose money at that level so you can sit on several bottles until they are ready in another 5-10 years and if you don’t love it at that time you will undoubtedly make a profit on the others rendering your experience, albeit disappointing, free.

Search the off line forum for our recent tasting of 9 vintages. KILLER STUFF

Damn, was hoping there would be notes on the '03. I’ve checked CT, but anyone here have experience with the '03?

From Todd’s (and everyone else’s) tasting notes, it seems that the older bottles show better overall, but many seemed to be really impressed by the 98’ over some of the 80’s bottlings. If I go by that, maybe it is not quite such a travesty to open an 02’ now (its only 4 years right?) neener

The 2001 I brought was drinking nicely. So if I had the right occasion to open the '02 I’d go ahead. We basically opened the bottles about1 hour before drinking to see their evolution over the night. Most, if not all, progressed nicely.

I went straight to the source to see what Penfolds says:

Drink 2012-2042 for what its worth.

Gandalf says to “wait, my son”

It’s like Guigal’s La La’s - they only really start to make sense & impress after about 20 odd years (if not longer) - maybe 30. I’d leave it alone - just forget you own it and come back to it much much later.

Personally I’ve always preferred Hill of Grace, which I also find to be a little more accessible younger.

PS Penfolds (in particular Grange & 707) is very popular in China, hence the price rises

Dusty, I was at the tasting Kirk mentioned and was equally unimpressed. I know some people rave about these wines in their youth, but I found them unbalanced to the point of being undrinkable. If you are a fan of super big, over the top, ultraconcentrated, bombastic wines, maybe you’ll love the '02 now. If your preferences lean very much away from that, I would either wait a LONG time and hope it turns into what the older vintages have, or sell that bottle.

How oak averse are you?


Honestly, compared to some that gripe that every wine is overoaked, I feel like I have calluses on my tongue when it comes to oak; but I regularly get the “drinking through a 2x4” sensation with a lot of inexpensive napa cabs. It tends to be more of a novelty to me than a total turn off.


I really play for both teams when it comes to AFWE vs PDC, and as far a Grange is concerned, the sense I get from the collective opinion is that it is a very big wine, but one that is generally very well balanced as far as Aussie Shiraz goes. Of all the wines that I drink, I do have a soft spot for really would up, young Cabernet, but haven’t particularly noticed the same love affair with Shiraz/Syrah.

It just amazes me though, that when I drink an Ojai SVD Syrah at 8 years old, it is delicious and seemingly well on its way to fully mature if not already there, but a Grange is barely out of infancy at 12 years old.