Managed to be in the right place at the right time again. Magill Estate on May 2nd for the release of the 2008 Penfolds Grange, Peter Gagos 1st 100 Point Robert Parker Grange. There have been others. But this was Peters 1st. It was early in the morning and we were all a bit delirious. In the midst of it all Peter and I managed to arm wrestle. Please don’t ask who won. I’m still recovering from the humiliation.

All of that was very exciting I’ll admit. However… Peter, Jason Barret and Philip Whitey White walked me through a story that almost made the Grange release and the Enological Octagon Challenge seem tertiary.

Penfolds has gone through quite a few changes and hands and owners and stewards over the years. Even with all the regime changes, they’ve miraculously managed to keep a solid wine making team in place. That’s no easy task. People with enough coin to purchase an historic operation as massive as Penfolds tend to think they know what’s best. Usually they don’t. At least that’s been my experience. Somehow the Grange has survived against all odds. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some collateral chaos in the wake of each exchange of the proverbial baton. Things get misplaced. Fact. But in some cases items are unearthed and rediscovered. I’ve included a Wine Spectator article that covers a brief history of Ray Beckwith, Ray’s Story but for now I’ll cut to the chase.

Ray was the 1st mad scientist to explore the relationship between Ph and the ageability of wine. He used almost a year of his own wages to purchase a portable Ph meter from Cambridge Instruments in an attempt to prove his theory (Cheap owners/Upper management. Some things never change.) And until recently that Ph meter had vanished. Most likely the old meter was shelved once new techniques, modern equipment, easier instruments to calibrate, etc, were developed. Recently a cellar employee at Magill Estate found it hiding in one of those rooms you cram stuff in hoping someone else will deal with it someday.This little box is an extremely important piece of wine making history and it was an honor to have seen it with my own eyes. Fare thee well, dear Brother.


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