Wine of the week

Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1983 IT IS applicable to follow the Wines of the Pacific Rim fair with a review of Australia's greatest wine - Grange Hermitage.

This remarkable wine owes its existence to the talent and determination of winemaker Max Schubert.

He was sent in 1949, when he was the winemaker for Penfolds, to visit the vineyards of France. Inspired by what he saw, particularly in Bordeaux, he set out to make a great Australian red.

He took the finest shiraz grapes and, experimenting with new oak, produced the first Grange Hermitage in 1952. History was made.

Despite critics within the company, Schubert then produced a series of wines which have given Grange Hermitage a reputation around the world unequalled by any other Australian wine.

This week's wine, the 1983, is surprisingly ready but will drink on for another decade.

All the massive complex richness of Grange is there - berries, tar, leather and spice but all beautifully integrated and balanced.

The finish is long and satisfying. This is a truly remarkable wine.

Area: South Australia.

Maker: Penfolds.

Grape: Shiraz.

Importer: Seagram Hongkong.

Price: $392 per bottle.

Availability: From the im- porter. Phone 376-1768.

Buying advice: Good buying - greatness doesn't come cheap. - Bacchante