Bursts of warmth and dry conditions continued through the harvest, allowing fruit to be picked in optimal condition. Smaller berry and bunch sizes, along with the favourable weather conditions, gave perfect results for traditional quality markers, colour, tannin profile, fruit concentration and flavour depth.
99 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate The 2012 Grange comes from just two sub-regions of South Australia this year: Barossa Valley (the majority) and McLaren Vale. This makes a lot of sense since 2012 was a cracking year in both of these areas, producing a number of extraordinary wines. As usual, this Grange contains a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon, just 2%. Very deep purple-black in colour, it opens on the nose with complex earthy/meaty/savoury notes, soon giving way to baked blackberries, plum preserves, hoisin and Chinese five spice with dabs of sandalwood, liquorice, menthol and vanilla. The palate reveals a surprisingly open, rich, full-bodied expression exuding a powerhouse of velvet-lined decadence. Still, it characteristically possesses that rock-solid “Grange” backbone of firm tannins and great freshness expressed in a real lively lift to the finish. And the finish is especially long. There are some stylistic similarities here to the opulent, gregarious 2008 vintage, perhaps just lacking ever so slightly in the same exhilarating abandonment of winemaking protocols for the celebration of the fruit and sites. That said, this is unquestionably a great Grange!
99 Points - James Halliday Bottle no. AV697. This vintage was destined to be one of the greatest Granges. In the flesh it is majestically complex, superbly focused and intense, and wondrously balanced. It has every black fruit flavour known to man or woman, and will become more magical with each passing decade. Oh for a screwcap.
98 Points - Decanter A blend of 98% Shiraz and a leavening of just 2% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. This latest Grange is a typical, deeply saturated ruby in colour with an immensely seductive aromatic quality. Aromas of smoked meats, coconut and roasted coffee oak with a balsamic hint lead into a wonderful full-throttle, tongue-enveloping blackberry richness suffused with mocha, liquorice spiciness and a black olive background. A textured framework of tight but fine-grained tannins contains the fruit. The drinking window will open relatively early in three to four years and stay open for another 30 years plus.
98 Points - James Suckling A simple split between the Barossa Valley (81%) and McLaren Vale (19%), this has all the hallmarks of a great Grange. Deep and ripe dark-plum and black-cherry aromas lead the nose, and there's plum cake here too that's really ripe and deeply spicy. The 100% new American oak has been thoroughly subsumed below tarry and savoury brooding notes of black liquorice and olive tapenade. The palate's incredibly poised and has richness with composure driven by tight-knit tannins and plenty of ripe dark-plum and cherry-fruit flavours. It is neatly crafted, powerful yet contained and smoothly rendered into the finish. This is a powerful vintage that has been cleverly polished and tamed in the winery; it will live long. Best from 2025 and for two decades after that.
98 Points - Wine & Spirits This vintage of Grange is 98 percent shiraz, the balance cabernet sauvignon, the sources limited to Barossa and McLaren Vale, where the mild 2012 season and its cool nights sustained even ripening in the grapes, with smaller-than-usual berries and bunch sizes. It’s a succulent vintage of Grange, fresh in its intensity, luscious in its elegance, cool in its lasting sense of incipient complexities. There’s nothing aggressive about the wine as it presents a range of flavors, from anise to blueberry skins and tart, fresh-picked blackberries, held in tension by the structure, which feels more fruit-driven than oak-derived (though if you consider it carefully, you can sense the oak in underlying notes of coffee and the crisp direction of the flavor). The tannins have a silky abrasion that sets this wine apart. Among the best releases of Grange in the modern era—under chief winemaker Peter Gago and his predecessor, John Duval—this is a wine to hold for decades.
97 Points - Wine Spectator Powerful and impressive, this seamless expression offers chai tea, sandalwood, dark chocolate, gingerbread and tobacco notes that complement the juicy black cherry fruit flavors at the core. Gains momentum on the finish. Intense but polished, revealing an air of weightlessness that lingers. Drink now through 2035. *Collectibles*
96 Points - Wilfred Wong of Wine Where does one begin with Grange? One of the most iconic wines in the industry, Penfolds first produced this wine with the experimental 1951 vintage, and the winery has never looked back. The wine's unbroken string of successful vintages is nothing short of spectacular. The 2012 Grange shows a great future. Youthful now and showing just a glimpse of what it will become, the wine exhibits bright red fruits, sweet oak, mineral, and an impressive ability to tie it all together. One could pop the cork in half a dozen years, but it would be preferable to wait another ten years.