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Penfolds RWT Shiraz presents an admirable alternative to the multi-regional sourcing and American oak maturation that are hallmarks of Grange, expressing instead, single-region Barossa Valley Shiraz matured only in French oak.
Its style is opulent and fleshy, contrasting with Grange, which is more muscular and assertive. RWT is made from fruit primarily selected for its aromatic qualities and fine texture. The result is a wine that helps to redefine Barossa Shiraz at the highest quality level.
Continue cellaring. Peak drinking window now - 2035.
Dark red with a purple core.
Ascending florals, primarily violet (laced with pepper) harmoniously project alongside wafts of white chocolate/cocoa powder.
Fruitfully aromatic – easily identifiable red-currant and satsuma plum, with fleshy harder-to-reveal cranberry/elderberry/mulberry.
Scents of cedary French oak and pink peppercorn/spice artefact aligned with pan scrapings/balsamic – such a ‘glaze’ possibly derived from its Penfolds élevage/racking regimen.
No overt barrel-ferment characters apparent. Perhaps swamped by depth of fruit (black cherry), mocha, chestnut, aniseed and other derivatives?
A spoil of charcuterie delights, primarily cold meats (‘raw’/carpaccio), shadow the more reticent panforte and cola notes that ever so slowly appear with aeration.
A textural leaning towards velour/satin – a veneered smoothness, rather than a plush or penetrating mouthfeel – allied by velvety, rather than grainy tannins.
Unmistakably Shiraz / Barossa / French oak, albeit in a 2014 RWT taste / flavour / structural package!
Origin: Barossa Valley, South Australia.
Maturation: 17 months in French oak hogsheads (70% new, 30% 1-y.o.).
Above long-term average winter rainfall occurred throughout the Barossa Valley region providing adequate soil moisture for the growing season. It was a warm, dry start to spring with below-average rainfall initiating budburst earlier than normal. Frost episodes were infrequent. The 2013 spring season was the windiest in 47 years in the Barossa, this coupled with cool nights, created variability with fruit-set reducing potential yield during the flowering period.
2014 brought high temperatures reducing yields further during veraison for the fourth year in a row. A short heatwave caused the vines to shut down and slow grape maturation. The remainder of the growing season was warm and dry. This ensured desired flavour development and acid retention resulting in impressive fruit quality.
The initials RWT stand for ‘Red Winemaking Trial’, the name given to the project internally when developmental work began in 1995. Naturally, now no longer a ‘Trial’ RWT Shiraz was launched in May 2000 with the 1997 vintage.
They have the precision, concentration, persistency and balance to age for many years. The best vintages should last at least thirty years.