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.
"Deep, dense, almost inky purple/red colour, with a glorious bouquet of mocha, grilled nuts of various kinds, great concentration and density, which saturates the palate and lasts for minutes on the aftertaste. Smoky, toasty, nutty, graphite and roast meat aromas; charcoal and bitumen, but not fruit! The fruit is there in spadefuls but it is submerged behind a curtain of complexity. An enormously impressive wine, the texture almost improbably supple and smooth in spite of the welter of tannin. Outstanding wine. (Bin 798 has been added to the label this year)."
98 points, Huon Hooke, October 2018.
"There is a lot of power here, hidden in the depths of this flavour. Packed with glycerine and juiciness but not overly expressive in terms of obvious fruit tones, this is a very youthful wine and yet it is easy to see that when the windows open, and the light floods in, there is every chance that this will be a classic. Texturally this is a velvety creature and it will retain this shimmering appeal. The tannins are firm and statuesque and they are in no hurry to soften. 19++/20 (2028 – 2040)."
19++ points, Matthew Jukes, October 2018.
"Barossa Valley Shiraz. French oak. 72% of the oak is new. Bin 798. Red Wine Trial. Drinking it sure can be.
Every year we turn up to the Penfolds tasting and every year we eventually post rave reviews, and that’s the start and end of the story; of all the reviewers who do the raving, almost none of them buy or even think of the wines for the remainder of the year. In this context, having given it a lot of thought, I came to this year’s tasting with sharpened boots. And yet – the wines are so majestic. This release could win a gold medal on the high beam, such is its balance. Yes the oak is resiny, yes the fruit has an edge of confection, and yes it’s an explosion of warm, ripe, plum-drenched fruit. But the bloody thing just does it all so well. If full-bodied reds are your thing then Penfolds is just about the best finishing school known to wine."
95 points, Campbell Mattinson, October 2018.
"An impressively deep, bright purple hue heralds an RWT of great stature and spine. This is a commanding vintage that delivers powerful, spicy satsuma plum and blackberry fruit, while lacking nothing in structural assuredness of firm, fine tannin endurance. It culminates in a finish of impeccable line and enduring persistence. One of the greats in the twenty-year history of RWT, and set to go down among the longest-lived. Drink 2031-2041"
96 points, Tyson Stelzer, October 2018.
"The 2016 Barossa Valley harvest was outstanding, for both yield and quality – a mild Indian summer led to even ripening. Almost all the fruit comes from vineyards they own. 12 months in (72% new) French oak hogsheads. TA 6.8 g/l, pH 3.72. Dark purple. Very savoury and fun on the nose. Balsam. Round and gorgeous already. Long and neat and pencil lead and something a bit Piemontese about it. Very appealing and interesting. Long.14.5% Drink 2020-2040."
18 points, Jancis Robinson MW, October 2018.
"The 2016 RWT Shiraz is Penfolds's embodiment of Barossa Valley Shiraz. Aged in French oak (72% new), it offers hints of vanilla and cedar, but more than anything, it showcases the region's bold berry and plum fruit. Full-bodied and rich, verging on decadent, yet firmly structured and long on the finish, it's a powerful yet elegant wine that is capable of being consumed young or ageing up to two decades. Having embarked on a career in the wine business right around the time the first RWT was released, it's a treat to see how the latest version is showing. It's a relative bargain among the Penfolds upper echelon. Drink 2020-2035."
97 points, Joe Czerwinski, October 2018.
"Medium-deep colour. Intense mulberry chinotto Turkish Delight aromas with roasted chestnut vanillin notes. Well concentrated, rich and voluminous with deep set blackberry, mulberry dark chocolate flavours, fine plentiful slinky grainy tannins and mocha roasted chestnut oak. Finishes tannin and oaky firm with prolonged classic dark berry praline flavours. Still elemental with lovely density and texture. The Penfolds DNA showing through the Barossa aesthetic. Give it 7 years. 98 points – 14.5% Alcohol – Drink 2025-2045."
98 points, Andrew Caillard MW, October 2018.
"Lovely crimson-purple hue. Intriguing; while the wine is only just into medium to full-bodied territory, the tannins have been sculpted into fine lines to provide the framework for a high quality wine. It thus flies somewhere in the left field, but does so with charm and grace, the length glorious." 97 points, James Halliday (August 2018)
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.