Three reds from Penfolds, including the latest Grange release

Penfolds marks the 70th anniversary of its first vintage of Grange in 2021.
Penfolds marks the 70th anniversary of its first vintage of Grange in 2021. Photo: Supplied

As collectable wine goes, Penfolds Grange is a coveted beast. Just last month, a bottle of Penfolds Grange Hermitage Bin 1 Shiraz 1951 (one of few remaining bottles from the first vintage of Penfolds Grange) sold for a whopping $142,131.

Signed by the late winemaker Max Schubert (creator of Grange Hermitage), the bottle was snapped up at the Langton's Penfolds Rewards of Patience auction.

The latest in the Grange line-up is the 2017 vintage, which will be released on August 5 as part of The Australia Collection 2021, Penfolds' annual release of a variety of house-style wines, each available individually.

At $950 a bottle, Grange is one for serious players. If the purse strings won't stretch quite so far this year, there are a few remarkable Penfolds reds in the mix that won't break the bank. Better yet, they're ready to knock back now.

Penfolds Grange 2017, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, South Australia, $950

There's timeless beauty at work here. This multi-vineyard, multi-regional shiraz blend delivers the aromas encountered in a rustic Italian kitchen. Fresh sliced carpaccio and dried herbs strung above a table laden with uncooked pizza dough and nonna's special sugo. The palate is balanced and poised – like a tightrope walker strung between two high-rises. Dark red berries, fresh ploughed earth and the faintest lick of salt. It's surprisingly approachable in its youth but tuck it away for a few decades to reap the full rewards. Tick, tock, tick, tock. 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Drink with: The very best of mates.

Find it at: penfolds.com, Dan Murphy's Richmond (Melbourne); Vintage Cellars Bondi (Sydney)

Penfolds Bin 28 Shiraz 2019, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully, South Australia, $50

The first encounter with this shiraz is like the opening three minutes of Tina Turner's Proud Mary; nice, slow, easy. The seductive smell of blackberries and sunburnt Australian scrubland hit first. A flurry of flavours follows: dark berries, a savoury undercurrent and acid that darts across the tongue. Fishnet stocking tannins keep it all in check. This wine begs to be devoured right now. Do it. We're here for a good time, not necessarily a long time. 14.5 per cent alcohol.

Drink with: Proud Mary on repeat.

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Find it at: penfolds.com, Dan Murphy's Richmond (Melbourne); Vintage Cellars Bondi (Sydney)

Penfolds Bin 23 Pinot Noir 2020, Tasmania, Henty, Adelaide Hills, $50

Winter nights beg for a glass of red that simultaneously stirs the senses and calms the nerves. This proud, playful pinot is both uplifting and comforting; like a well-read Robinson Crusoe novel. There's tart cherry, wild strawberry and turmeric in the air. Dig deeper for fresh rhubarb and spice. It's lithe like a greyhound, bright as a button and full of personality. An "Oops, I drank it all – pass me another bottle" experience. 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Drink with: Roast pork, extra crackling.

Find it at: penfolds.com, Dan Murphy's Richmond (Melbourne); Vintage Cellars Bondi (Sydney)