It’s easy to recognise a blockbuster wine for what it is: there are powerful wood and fruit flavours, it’s juicy and brash. The other side of the spectrum is not as easily defined — a fine line divides elegant/refined from insubstantial and bland.

But certainty about what describes these broad categories doesn’t help when it comes to aesthetic judgment. Wines that are less in-your-face are not always better, while blockbuster wines can be very well done. Those that launched South Australia onto the world map may have been obvious and oaky in their youth, but anyone who has sampled a fully mature Grange would agree it’s a great and unique expression of the winemaker’s art.

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