John Duval Plexus SGM Vertical.
It would be easy to throw a few superlatives into describing John Duval’s Plexus SGM but that would be to entirely miss the point of this wine. It a serious wine but also seriously enjoyable. It’s obviously Barossa but not overly Barossa. There’s a slight savoury nod to Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the wine walks a confident line between tradition and modernity.
In this six-pack, you’ll enjoy two bottles each of the 2013, 2015, and 2016 vintages. Verticals such as this allow you to chart the course of wine and see its potential. The 2013 is showing some wonderful development while the 2015 and 2016—a little bit younger—illustrate the variation in vintage. But they also highlight what is similar in the wines, and that is the style John and Tim are looking for. You should be too.
"In beautiful condition and shape. It tastes beautiful. Raspberry, blueberry and blackberry, no alarms or surprises, complemented by woody spice and fine, smoky oak. Everything is where it should, and where you'd hope, it to be."
94 points, Wine Companion (February 2015)
"A blend of grenache, shiraz and mourvedre. Shiraz comes from old vineyards in Tanunda, Krondorf and Ebenezer, the grenache comes from Tanunda and Ebenezer, mourvèdre from Light Pass in the Barossa Valley.
This is a smooth ride. It’s a fantastic drink. It smells of black berries, licorice, dried herbs, pepper and earth. It’s medium bodied, fringed with satiny tannins, crisp with acidity, long and fine in fruit flavour, finishing sweet and lightly salty. Feels elegant, seamless, flowing and delicious. Fruit is to the fore, though a little sinewy cedar chimes in well too. It’s a very complete and highly drinkable blend that shows the warm heart of the region in simple fruitiness, meshed into good structure. So well done. Drink loads."
93 points, The Wine Front (July 2015)
"Medium to deep garnet in color, the 2013 Plexus (a Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre blend) gives slowly evolving raspberry tart, kirsch, potpourri and garrigue notes with underlying spice box and incense hints. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is velveteen textured with layers of expressive red fruits preserves and exotic spice flavors, finishing very long."
93 points, Wine Advocate (June 2016)
"Matured for 15 months in French oak (10% new). Richly robed in luscious fruits supported by gentle tannins and a dab of oak. It is well made (of course) and is strongly Barossan in temperament. What you make of this will depend on your personal preference."
94 points, Wine Companion (March 2017)
"All the right ingredients for the Barossa red wine fiends; John Duval winemaker, old vine, low yield, mesh of shiraz-grenache-mourvedre. Righteous. Only 10% new oak is used in this wine, though it is matured for 15 months in barrel. From the get-go these have been honest-to-goodness wines. A good year here too.
Reserved sweet-berried fruit scents, faint nougat, cedar, liquorice, undergrowth. Attractive set up. Medium weight, fruit forward, fine ribbons of tannin, bright acidity. This has such deliciousness to it. Lighter shade of Barossa in a way, fine feeling, but full flavoured, with crisp edges and a fresh finish. Indeed, it’s probably a bit light on for stalwarts of true blue Barossa red wines, but it is very good in its own way."
93 points, The Wine Front (July 2017)
"A Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro blend, the 2015 Plexus has a pale to medium garnet-purple color and nose of kirsch, red currant jelly and raspberry preserves with hints of Chinese five spice, hoisin, roses, black pepper and underbrush. Rich, concentrated, full-bodied and full-on seductive, it fills the palate with exotically spiced red fruit preserves. With plush tannins and a balanced freshness, it has a perfumed finish with satisfying persistence."
93 points, Wine Advocate (September 2017)
"A 52/30/18% blend open-fermented separately, the grenache with up to 20% whole bunches, matured for 15 months in French hogsheads (13% new). This is a very good Barossa Valley SGM, looking to the future rather than the past. While the flavours are complex, there is a lightness of touch ex the winery after careful monitoring of ripeness in the vineyards. Thus it has the best of both worlds, and by rights should please everyone with its mix of cherry, plum and blackberry couched in savoury tannins on the finish."
95 points, Wine Companion (January 2018)
"Shiraz 52%, grenache 30%, Mourvèdre 18%. All sourced from old vineyards across the Barossa and Eden valleys. Interestingly the grenache component sees 20% whole bunches. It’s mostly aged in old (up to 8 years) oak though there’s a 13% new (French) oak component. Everything about this wine seems meticulously managed and crafted.
If you wanted to show someone the beauty of the GSM blend, you’d do well to show them this. It’s spot on. The spice, the florals, the rakes of dry tannin, the curls of anise, black cherry and woodsmoke. It’s not a big wine but it has a seriousness, a presence. The tannin in this wine; it sparks its way through from the mid palate on. Can’t fault this. It’s beautifully put together."
94 points, The Wine Front (July 2018)
"Harmonious, complex, dark and rich, with supple, sink-your-teeth-into-them tannins and a heavy mocha accent, smoothing out the core of blueberry and blackberry flavors. Whiffs of campfire and mahogany add to the interest, lingering on the finish, with an air of effortlessness. Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre."
93 points, MaryAnn Worobiec, Wine Spectator (December 2018)
"This shows bark and earth, as well as hazelnuts, dark cherries, dried pine needles and nettles. Full-bodied and chewy with some nice spicy fruit, running fresh up until the flavorful finish."
93 points, JamesSuckling.com (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.
Langton’s Selections John Duval Plexus Shiraz Grenache Mourvedre, John Duval Entity Shiraz, John Duval Eligo Shiraz John Duval is one of the more famous contemporary names in Australian wine. For many years he was chief winemaker at Penfolds and responsible for the production of Grange, arguably Australia’s top wine. After 29 years working alongside Max Schubert and Don Ditter and ultimately leading the entire Penfolds winemaking team, Duval stepped outside corporate life to start his own winemaking business. At first he started consulting in Europe, Chile (Pangea) and Australia (Songlines). He is also vintner partner in the Long Shadows venture in Washington State in the USA. For four months each year, Duval makes sure he is back in the Barossa to make his own wines. He produces three wines: the compelling and beautifully scented Plexus, a Shiraz Mourvedre Grenache blend aged in older oak to retain its fruit integrity. The Entity and Eligo are both top notch, gorgeously seductive Barossa Shirazes. These wines are far removed from Grange. Indeed John Duval has said many times that producing a “son of Grange” would be seen by many as “arrogant “. His developmental work with Penfolds RWT, the first Penfolds single region Barossa wine for several decades, was really the precursor to John Duval’s own Barossa Shirazes. These are elegant wines with beautifully black chocolate/ herb garden aromas and fine grained but lacy tannin structures. The fruit driven and plushly structured Entity is aged in 30% new French barriques. The Eligo is a Grand Vin type wine based on the best parcels of fruit. The selection process for this wine starts in grower’s vineyards and right through vinification and maturation. The first vintages show an extraordinary handle on fruit, oak and tannin management. There is a smoothness of flavour and texture. None of the elements are out of line. While the Eligo is matured in 60% new French oak, the weight of the fruit and overall balance barely makes it noticeable. This is definitely a wine that will benefit from age. Not surprisingly the international media has fully embraced the wines. They are completely consistent with Duval’s long term career at Penfolds, yet move away from the choco-berry characters associated with Grange and the Penfolds stable. The wines have great integrity and form. While it is still early days for the incredibly modest, impeccably credentialed and charming John Duval, all the stars are in alignment for this emerging producer. This is definitely a producer to follow. Andrew Caillard MW, Langton's