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.
May explain why Kalimna Bin 28 is the least of the Bin series reds, for this wine takes the finest shiraz from the Barossa Valley once Grange has had its choice. The call is made early, because this wine spends 16 months in French oak hogsheads (75% new), finishing its ferment in that oak, separating it at birth from Grange in American oak. The bouquet abounds with black fruits, with sub-notes of dark chocolate, licorice and some charcuterie. The palate is drop-dead gorgeous, a curious description given its strongly savoury flavour range, but it achieves the unlikely. As with all these wines, the tannin structure is exceptional, the length prodigious.
98 points, Wine Companion (September 2014)
Deep red with a good tinge of purple colour; the bouquet shy and somewhat reticent, unready, and laced with some smoky toasty oak. There are background hints of dark chocolate, espresso coffee and mocha, and an echo of fruitcake - complete with dried fruits. The palate is terrifically rich and deep, sumptuously flavoured and smoothly textured despite the welter of tannin. It's very full-bodied and there are lashings of tannin, but they're good tannins. It's a big but nicely balanced wine, with good acidity lurking beneath the mouth-coating flavour and tannin and keeping it all lively. Very long. This needs time and will be an outstanding RWT.
97 points, The Real Review (September 2014)
This release is all seductive folds of flavour. Textbook. Brilliant fruit, firm threads of tannin, an exaggerated linger of sweet flavour. Barossa shiraz in all its glory. Kirsch, chocolate, woodsmoke, gum leaf, roasted nuts and sweet, honeyed meats. Oak and fruit slide hand in glove. Everything feels carefully stitched and yet both generousity and luxury are its unashamed hallmarks.
95 points, The Wine Front (October 2014)
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.