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.
Medium deep colour. Intense dark cherry blackberry aromas with roasted chestnut dark chocolate notes. Well concentrated but elemental wine with deep set blackberry elderberry fruits, fine chocolaty tannins, new roasted chestnut vanilla oak notes and plentiful firm tannins. Finishes long and minerally. A lovely wine with Grange-like density, power and tension and the balance for a great cellaring career. Needs at least five years to fold into each other.
96 points, Andrew Caillard MW
Stunning blueberries and mulberries here with a wealth of baking spices and red berries, as well as tarry notes and blackberries. It is all here. The palate has a super plush, rich and quite compressed tannin feel. Some firm and powerful moments, as the palate builds with plentiful spiced summer berries. Red plums and blackberries to close.
96 points, jamessuckling.com (August 2019)
Deep, brooding red/purple colour. The bouquet shows the smoky, coal-dusty, sooty and roasted meat Barossa shiraz characters. It's full-bodied and rich, soft textured and balanced, with a more elegant mien than usual for this wine. The fruit purity roars through this wine. Very full-bodied and of sumptuous flavour, it is big and concentrated but also superbly elegant. A really charming RWT. Oak is sensitively handled, and the wine has ballerina-like poise and balance, before a long and wholly satisfying aftertaste.
96 points, The Real Review (July 2019)
This walks in and takes over the joint. Sweetness, smokiness, creaminess, long chains of tannin, a general swagger. It’s a prime wine, alpha, smooth as silk but hulked up too. All its doubts are ahead of it; for now, it has none. It has to be said that RWT always leans towards the syrupy and the too-soft but this release does a particularly good job of balance. Indeed it’s as good an RWT as I’ve seen.
95+ points, The Wine Front (August 2019)
Red raspberries abound on the nose of the 2017 RWT Shiraz, which—as usual—is all Barossa fruit aged in French oak (70% new). It's full-bodied and velvety, with appealing notes of dried spices, beef and plenty of red fruit. There's a cedary veneer to this vintage, which looks as if it will need a couple of years to come together, then drink well for up to two decades.
95 points, Wine Advocate (August 2019)
Spawned from a trial of French oak first made in 1997. Deep, vibrant colour; the bouquet is very expressive, speaking of a legion of black fruits, licorice, plum and spice, none of which prepare you for the sheer power of this amazing wine and its untold depths.
98 points, The Australian (August 2019)
"A deep, dark, brooding ruby in colour, this RWT 2017 (from 'Red Winemaking Trial' originally developed in 1995) displays an intense yet subtly peppery and tarry fragrance with an added veneer of vanilla from its 15 months in new French oak. That intensity splashes onto the tongue in a profusion of flavours mingling opulently ripe black cherry with pepper, vanilla, tarry spice and herbs in a polished Barossa red that, thanks to the cooler growing season, shows an elegance of texture and balance through all the richness. At the same time, it has a seriously tongue-coating, chocolatey firmness in Barossa-meets-Côte Rôtie style. Chicken and game are great food options here.
A deep, dark, brooding ruby in colour, this RWT 2017 (from 'Red Winemaking Trial' originally developed in 1995) displays an intense yet subtly peppery and tarry fragrance with an added veneer of vanilla from its 15 months in new French oak. That intensity splashes onto the tongue in a profusion of flavours mingling opulently ripe black cherry with pepper, vanilla, tarry spice and herbs in a polished Barossa red that, thanks to the cooler growing season, shows an elegance of texture and balance through all the richness. At the same time, it has a seriously tongue-coating, chocolatey firmness in Barossa-meets-Côte Rôtie style. Chicken and game are great food options here."
96 points, Decanter (July 2019)
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.