Could You Tell a Penfolds Grange From a $75 Bottle of Shiraz?

Have you ever wondered how the ultra-premium Penfolds Grange stacks up against other great Aussie wines? Do you think you could pick which wine was Grange in a blind tasting?

These are the questions our guest wine guru Phil posed at The Grange Challenge 2024 – and the results surprised even us! Find out which wine was the crowd favourite, and how many guests picked Grange from the lineup. 

About The Grange Challenge

The Grange Challenge is simple: ten guests blind taste six wines and put their palates to the test by trying to identify which one is the highly-acclaimed Penfolds Grange.

Now in its twelfth year, came up with The Grange Challenge as a way to showcase the quality of a handful of lesser-known, but nonetheless exceptional, South Australian wines. 

Each year, participants are given an hour to taste all six wines, one of them being the bucket list Grange, in any order they like. At the end of the hour, they’re asked two very simple questions: 

Which was your favourite wine?

Which one do you think is Grange?

The Grange Challenge 2024 wines

To prepare for the event, wine gurus carefully selected wines that they believed were comparable in both flavour and quality to Grange. To keep the comparisons fair, the wines were all either the same vintage, or a couple of years on either side, of the Grange that had been selected. 

After plenty of consideration, the wines that were chosen for The Grange Challenge 2024 were: 

The wines were all double-decanted two hours prior to the tasting, and then aerated in numbered carafes. Guests arrived at The Queensland Club in downtown Brisbane and were welcomed with two of France’s finest Champagnes, Bouché Père et Fils Millésime 2009 and Bouché Père & Fils Rosé Champagne, before the blind tasting began. 

The Grange Challenge 2024 results: the favourite wine

As expected, there was plenty of toing and froing before our guests cast their votes. 

The first question we asked them was: 

Which was your favourite wine?

Two guests picked the Grange, while an overwhelming five said that the Lone Palm Vineyards 'Selections' Shiraz 2022 was their favourite of the bunch. One guest favoured the Kilikanoon Revelation, with the remaining two participants picking the $75 Pasha. 

Although not everyone recorded a second favourite, those who did picked the Dandelion Red Queen as their runner-up.

So the clear favourite was Lone Palm, and Grange came in at an equal second place with Pasha. In the previous eleven challenges, Grange has only been in the top three once, so this year was something of an anomaly. 

How many guests correctly identified the Grange?

When we asked the question ‘Which wine did you think was Grange?’ the results were fairly different from the answers to the first question. Only one discerning guest picked the Grange correctly, with the overall guesses as follows: 

Penfolds Grange: 1 vote
Hentley Farm Clos Otto: 2 votes
Dandelion Red Queen: 4 votes
Kilikanoon Revelation: 1 votes
Pasha: 1 vote
Lone Palm 'Selections': 1 vote

In previous years, the answers have been much more aligned between guests’ favourite wine and the wine they thought was Grange, but this year’s results surprised us. 

So what conclusions can we draw from The Grange Challenge 2024?

It’s far from scientific, so we’re not going to make any assumptions, but we think the same can be said of wine… if you don’t make assumptions based on how recognizable a label is, and instead trust your tastebuds to tell you which wines you think are spectacular, the results might just surprise you. 

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