The top wine from John Duval, this is made from fruit sourced from two very old vineyards in the north and east of Barossa.
It's made in very traditional methods (if you're in the "hands-off" tradition that is) and is aged for 20 month in oak, 55% of which is new French, very fine-grained barriques. The result is that the wine is often held back for release at a later date on account of the power and dense structure that the wine possesses. It lives for ages and develops and grows in much the same manner of the other iconic wines that John Duval made in previous roles...
This opaque, purple-black wine has amazing depth with expressive notes of classic Barossa characteristics: graphite, charcoal, smoke and ripe dark fruit, leading to a palate with chocolate and fleshy dense fruit compote. A massive, long and yielding finish on a wine that shows huge aging potential; it is dead-straight, steady and focused and utterly delicious.
John Duval is a very famous winemaker. Don't worry if you haven't heard of this estate before (or even himself), it's fine by him. His fame came to him without his asking, because for over a decade he was the head winemaker at Penfold's. And during his time there he oversaw the production and rocket-like growth in the demand for their top wine, Grange. He didn't fully agree with the stylistic strictures that its fan-base sought, or even the nature of a Super-Star wine. He's to humble for that. But the issue with Grange was, in his eyes, there was so much nuance that Australian vineyards could offer which the winemaking of Grange almost necessarily homogenised. It was a massive, powerful wine that was often impermeable in youth. What about the other ways of showing this amazing calibre of the best Shiraz fruit that Australia had to offer? He asked... and no one really listened. So he developed a wine on his own int he winery that was a trial to see if any colleagues would come round to his way of thinking. This was RWT (Penfold's Red Wine Trial) and is one of the classiest, most elegant and complex wines from Australia that you'll ever get. It's also hugely successful, but is 1/6 the price of Grange.
But this isn't about Penfold's! It's about the man who's wine making (perhaps reluctantly?) took those wines to the top: he wanted more elegance and that's what he got, and, thankfully, he still gets today.
When he left Penfold's, he set up his own winery (hence the name) in 2003 and he went to his favourite spots for grape suppliers in the Barossa, and started up where he had left off; sourcing some of the more interesting vineyard fruit from his friend and making Barossa wines in a way that is balanced, approachable, elegant and genuinely exceptional.
Style: Rich, Powerful, Iconic, Full, Elegant, Dark, Complex, Broad
Best food matches: Red Meats, Pork, Pizza, Mature Cheeses, Lamb, Game, Fine Dining, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Beef