Penfolds RWT Barossa Shiraz is a distinctly modern wine that articulates the Barossa terroir with Penfolds’ signature method of winemaking. First vintaged in 1997 after several years of 'Red Winemaking Trials', RWT is typically inky deep in colour, with sumptuous fruit sweetness, mouth-filling flavours, underlying spice, savoury nuances and chocolaty tannins. The wine is matured in new and seasoned French oak for around 12 to 15 months.
'(It now has a bin number, for what it's worth: Bin 798) Glass-staining dense purple colour, with terrific saturation. It's very rich and ripe, concentrated and profound to sniff, but surprisingly less oaky than anticipated. The wine is massive and dense, full-bodied and powerful, tightly-packed and solid, with panforte, dark chocolate, fruitcake and sooty, tarry nuances. But the oak is superbly intertwined and does not stand out. The tannins are dense and smooth, coating the mouth. A top RWT.'
97 points, Huon Hooke.
'Once again, this displays the hallmark RWT style of generosity, pleasure and sheer Shiraz fleshiness. Sourced entirely from the Barossa and aged for 16 months in French oak hogsheads (83% new), this is chock full of primary black fruit on the nose with a lovely floral scent of iris. The fruit on the palate has bright raspberry and blackberry jam as well as being richly laden with tar, vanilla, mocha, leather, fruitcake and tobacco. Lots of charm here with suave, supple tannins and vivid acidty giving cut, weave and bounce to the wine. Altogether very charming and extremely convincing. Will need time to come round. Drinking Window 2020 - 2040'
96 points, John Stimpfig for Decanter
"Matured for 16 months in French hogsheads (83% new). All the power and glory of full-bodied Barossa Valley shiraz achieved at (relatively) modest alcohol. French oak is another plus for a wine stacked - with extreme care - full of dark fruits and ripe, rounded tannins. Makes winemaking look easy, which of course it isn't. Length is the key to a great wine."
97 points, Wine Companion (August 2017)
"The black art of Barossa shiraz. This steps straight into a dark berried realm, the blackberry aided by char, the dry spices arriving pre-smoked, the licorice given a game-like edge. This is rich with sweet fruit but dry and tannic, its creamy/resiny oak essential in the end to help keep the smoothness going. Textbook Barossa beauty."
94 points, Wine Front (October 2018)
"Very deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 RWT Shiraz leaps from the glass with expressive blackberries, black raspberries and wild blueberry notes plus underlying Indian spices, Sichuan pepper, forest floor and fertile loam notes with a waft of charcuterie. Full-bodied, rich and seductive in the mouth, it coats the palate with vibrant black berry and spicy layers, framed by firm, rounded tannins and finishing on a lingering earthy note. One for the long haul!"
95+ points, Wine Advocate (November 2017)
"Spicy and earthy edge to the nose, graphite-like savory aromas ahead of ripe dark plum and very tarry, coal dusty notes, some dried pot pourri too. There's a deep-set palate, very smooth tannins roll out in commanding fashion, almost never-ending finish. This is a long term wine. Try from 2025 and for two decades after that."
97 points, JamesSuckling.com (October 2017)
Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.
Penfolds is probably the most extraordinary of the world’s wine brands with an enviable reputation for quality at every price level. The original Penfold was an English doctor who, in 1844, planted grapes at Magill, now a suburb of Adelaide. However, it was not until the late 1940s that Penfolds began to forge a reputation for red wine.
The Penfolds house style emerged from a fortified wine producing culture and evolved as a winemaking philosophy which has had a profound effect on the entire Australian wine industry. Many of the techniques initially adopted to make Penfolds Grange would become part of the wider Penfolds winemaking culture. The number of techniques employed in the research and development of Penfolds wines is astonishing. Max Schubert and his team pioneered: major advances in yeast technology and paper chromatography; the understanding and use of pH in controlling bacterial spoilage; the use of headed down/submerged cap fermentation and the technique of rack and return; cold fermentation practices; the use of American oak as a maturation vessel and perhaps most critically, partial barrel fermentation. Nowadays, the use of American oak and barrel fermentation for instance is considered traditional Barossa winemaking practice!
Today, Penfolds house style embraces the concept of multi-regional blending, optimum fruit quality, the use of fine-grained American or French oak, barrel fermentation and maturation. Overall, the Penfolds style is about highly-defined fruit aromas, fruit sweetness, ripe tannins, richness, power and concentration. The number of iconic wines that have emerged from the Penfolds stable over the years is remarkable. Bin 389 a Cabernet Shiraz blend released in 1960 is now considered the quintessential Australian wine blend. Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz and Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz released in 1962 pre-empted the contemporary enthusiasm for regional definition by about 25 years. Improved vineyard management, site selection and winemaking brought about subsequent releases of Bin 707 and Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Penfolds Wine Making Philosophy is the accumulation of more than half-a-century of knowledge and winemaking practice initiated by Max Schubert and subsequently refined by Don Ditter, John Duval and Peter Gago. Their collective commitment to multi-regional and vineyard blending contributed to a consistency of style and quality that has cemented Penfolds reputation as the foremost producer of premium age-worthy red wines in Australia.