Vinous 92 points - Inky purple. Explosive dark berry and oak spice aromas are brightened by notes of black pepper and fresh lavender, with a smoky nuance building in the glass. Sappy, seamless and expansive, offering juicy blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that slowly put on weight with air. Chewy tannins come up on the finish, with the smoke, floral and cherry notes echoing strongly. Not as opulent as this wine often is when young, but that’s consistent with the vintage.
Wine Advocate 93 points - Aged in 51% new oak, all of which is French, the deep purple-black colored 2011 RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz reveals a gorgeous, black fruit and warm blueberry nose enhanced by violets and pepper notes with hints of tree bark and earth. Medium to full-bodied with a great amount of expressive flavor framed by firm, grainy tannins, the oak pokes out a bit on the long finish. Drink 2015 to 2028+. (Feb 2014)
Wine Spectator 93 points - Ripe and supple, with a sense of transparency to the raspberry, red plum, clove and espresso flavors, lingering on the expressive finish. Rich in flavor without being weighty. Best from 2016 through 2022.—H.S. (Jun 25 2014)
The development of Penfolds Red Winemaking Trial (RWT) reflects extraordinary progress in viticulture and winemaking. The two disciplines are increasingly intertwined, as growers and winemakers work together in search of optimum balance, ripeness and flavour.
RWT draws fruit from 20 to 100 year-old vineyards arcing across the west and north-west of the Barossa Valley, mostly independently grown. The best vineyards produce fruit of voluptuous intensity, ripe tannins, and juicy flavours. The RWT Shiraz has a very seductive style with a plum/blueberry fruit profile and fine ripe tannins underpinned by savoury French oak.
Since its first vintage in 1997, collectors have recognised the sheer class of RWT. Already the wine has a strong secondary market following, illustrating its collectability and cellaring potential.
|Duck, red curry ’ice cream’, split rice porridge, lychee, tamarind and pineapple
Rabbit, pork and duck terrine
|Australia’s winemaking history of less than two hundred years is brief by European measures though, like Europe, punctuated by periods of extreme success and difficult times. From the earliest winemaking days Penfolds has figured prominently and few would argue the importance of Penfolds’ influence on Australia’s winemaking psyche.
Without the influence of Penfolds the modern Australian wine industry would look very different indeed. Sitting comfortably outside of fad and fashion, Penfolds has taken Australian wine to the world on a grand stage and forged a reputation for quality that is without peer.
Penfolds’ reputation for making wines of provenance and cellaring potential might suggest a mantle of tradition and formality is the preferred attire of a company with so much history to defend. But to label Penfolds as simply an established and conventional winemaker, would be to confuse tradition with consideration and to overlook the innovative spirit that has driven Penfolds since its foundation, and continues to find expression in modern times.
If there is anything traditional about Penfolds, it is the practice of constantly reviewing the wines it already does well, and continuously evolving and refining styles as vineyards mature and access to ever older and more varied vineyard sites improves.