Merivale is aiming to develop its prestige wine program and has added a full set of Australia’s most iconic and prestigious wine, Penfolds Grange, to its premier wine collection.
The collection cost Merivale owner Justin Hemmes over $300,000 but as Group Sommelier Franck Moreau MS told TheShout every bottle from the 50s and 60s is valued at over $30,000 a bottle and to find the full collection is very rare.
“We want to show Sydney and Australia that Merivale is very serious about its wines and we want to have a great wine offering for our customer providing some good value wines right through to some more rare and top end wines”.
“We have a very strong team of sommeliers at Merivale and we are looking to invest some more in some of the more prestige wines and having some more interesting wines for our customers. We have a huge demand from our customers for older wines, and this is something very special and unique and is hopefully just the beginning of what we are going to do with our wines.”
The rare full set of 63 bottles of Penfolds Grange includes the first-ever experimental 1951 vintage and also includes the ‘hidden bottles’ from 1957 to 1959, when creator Max Schubert was ordered to stop making Grange.
The rare acquisition makes Merivale one of the only hospitality groups in the world to house the collection. The Penfolds Grange collection will be featured on the wine list at est., Felix and Mr. Wong, and can be made available at any other Merivale venue if requested in advance.
“We want to bring a bit of history to the Merivale group and bring some unique and exciting wines for our customers,” Moreau told TheShout.
“Having the full set of the Grange wines is something special. Maybe if we were in London or Europe it might be a bit strange, but in Australia it is special. And Merivale is one of the top hospitality groups in Australia and we want the best.
“Maybe later on the idea might be to have the wines exposed so people can see it, but to start with I want to store it correctly so it will be in a safe place where we can keep the temperature and the environment under control. But in the future the idea is to look where we can put it and maybe have a beautiful display in one of the Merivale venues.”
Asked about how much the wines may cost in venues, Moreau said: “The older ones, we will obviously have to make these quite expensive, if you want to buy the 1951 then it can be up to $80,000 a bottle on valuation, so we will have that at over $100,000. But it is a very rare wine and something unique, so we would like to keep it as part of the collection.
“We have a very strong team of sommeliers at Merivale and we are looking to invest some more in some of the more prestige wines and having some more interesting wines for our customers. We have a huge demand from our customers for older wines, and this is something very special and unique and is hopefully just the beginning of what we are going to do with our wines.
“This is going to be a huge year for Merivale and our incredible team of sommeliers. Adding these iconic Australian wines, alongside prestigious international brands and back vintages, to our collection allows us to take the Merivale wine program to the next level. We want to focus on creating the best possible guest experience by not only providing top end wines, but also encouraging diners to discover unique and interesting drops.”
And in terms of what he would recommend as a dish to have with the Grange he told TheShout: “A beautiful Cote de Boeuf at Felix would be best. If you’re having something expensive like the Grange then you don’t want a dish that would overpower the flavour, something simple and well-cooked would be what I would recommend.”