Today a bottle of 1951 Grange, if you can find one as only 1800 bottles were made, will set you back $A55,000. A vertical tasting selection from 1951 to 2003 recently sold for $A185,000. Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's I saved up and bought one bottle of Grange a year until buying houses and raising a family took priority. Then it cost about 25% of a weekly wage. It still does today. But most people buy it for investment rather than drinking and this inflates the price of some older vintages outrageously. Over the years I have drunk all mine and determined in my old age that I would rather buy 15 bottles of $20 wine than one $300 bottle. But for my 50th birthday a good friend bought me a bottle of the 1990 vintage. We sort of assumed co ownership and have discussed a few times in the last year or two whether we should send it to auction. Indications are we would get around $600! But with the co driver's 50th birthday in April along with the 63rd of the co owner, we decided to drink it!!!!!! This is from the current Penfold's tasting notes: History will record 1990 as one of the great Australian vintages of our generation.The 1990 Penfolds Grange is one of the best yet, with the potential to eventually rival the classic vintages of 1955, 1962 and 1971. Sourced from premium vineyards in South Australia, the 1990 Penfolds Grange is predominantly Shiraz (Hermitage) with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. With its solid structure and strength of character it will age gracefully and should be carefully cellared for a bare minimum of 10 years, and preferably 25 to 30. Medium-full red/purple colour. It is a beautifully weighted and concentrated wine combining very intense, ripe plummy aromas with smoky vanillin oak. Already, the wine is supremely complex and harmonious, with ripe plum and coffee-like luscious fruit, integrated oak, fine tannins and excellent length. Alc/Vol: 13.5%.
And from Robert Parker in 1995: The 1990 is the greatest, most complete and richest Grange since the monumental 1986. It rivals the 1986, 1982, 1981, and 1980 as the finest "young" Grange. The wine's opaque purple color is followed by a sweet nose of jammy black-raspberry and cassis fruit intermingled with scents of minerals, licorice, and toasty oak. Extremely full-bodied, with that layered, multi-dimensional feel that sets a truly profound Grange apart from just an outstanding one, the wine is fabulously concentrated, unctuous, and with a finish that lasts over 50 seconds. It is oh, so young, and in need of 5-10 years of cellaring. It should last through the first two decades of the 21st century.
The three of us could only concur with the above assessments and agreed it was one of the best red wines we have ever drunk. It went perfectly with a char grilled whole fillet steak (rare) which was then thickly sliced and served with horse radish, potato casserole and slow roasted roma tomatoes garnished with freshly chopped basil.