Penfolds RWT Shiraz 2014
97 Points James Halliday
Penfolds RWT Shiraz presents an admirable alternative to the multi-regional sourcing and American oak maturation that are hallmarks of Grange, expressing instead, single-region Barossa Valley Shiraz matured only in French oak.
Its style is opulent and fleshy, contrasting with Grange, which is more muscular and assertive. RWT is made from fruit primarily selected for its aromatic qualities and fine texture. The result is a wine that helps to redefine Barossa Shiraz at the highest quality level.
The quixotic RWT (Red Wine Trial) name used since '87 now has a bin number and a bottle number, the latter to thwart counterfeiting. It completed fermentation in French hogsheads, followed by 17 months maturation. The power and length of the wine is awesome, as is the price - but it's what the global market is prepared to pay.
Dark red with a purple core. Ascending florals, primarily violet (laced with pepper) harmoniously project alongside wafts of white chocolate and cocoa powder. Fruitfully aromatic – easily identifiable red-currant and satsuma plum, with fleshy harder-to-reveal cranberry/elderberry/mulberry. Scents of cedary French oak and pink peppercorn/spice aligned with pan scrapings and balsamic – such a ‘glaze’ possibly derived from its Penfolds élevage and racking regimen.
No overt barrel-ferment characters apparent. Perhaps swamped by depth of fruit (black cherry), mocha, chestnut, aniseed and other derivatives? A spoil of charcuterie delights, primarily cold meats (‘raw’/carpaccio), shadow the more reticent panforte and cola notes that ever so slowly appear with aeration. A textural leaning towards velour/satin – a veneered smoothness, rather than a plush or penetrating mouthfeel – allied by velvety, rather than grainy tannins.