Penfolds RWT Shiraz 2008
Syrah/Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia
The 2000 vintage of this wine was ranked #6 on the Wine Spectator's Top 10 Wines of 2003
Penfolds RWT Shiraz presents an admirable alternative to the multi-regional sourcing and American oak maturation that area hallmarks of Grange, expressing instead, single-region Barossa Valley Shiraz matured only in French oak. The initials RWT stand for 'Red Winemaking Trial', the name given to the project internally when developmental work began in 1995. Naturally, now no longer a 'Trial' !
RWT Shiraz was launched in May 2000 with the 1997 vintage. 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 rather than sheer intensity or power of flavour. The result is a wine that helps to redefine Barossa Shiraz at the highest quality level.
Color: Redefines 'black'! Certainly on 1/25/11, foreboding! Nose: An animated aromatic conversation with the darker elements of Barossa Valley Shiraz... "it smells black"! A coal-like blackness, replete with peat. Brooding. Concentrated. Thankfully, redeeming & alluring perfumed high-notes ascend - blueberry and dark plum, wafts of a ristretto coffee. Palate: Dense & intense - with vibrance, unctuousness... delivering all the now-expected RWT cachets. "A blueberry pie in a 750ml glass package!" And yet the darkness prevails... inky, boot polish, freshlypolished new black leather. Almost a glycerol/oily mid-palate - texturally close to a custard/chocolate eclair! A suggestion of oak and an avalanche of pronounced ripe & silky tannins complete the offer. A vinous 'Edge of Darkness'!
Australian Wine Companion - "Glorious, deep crimson-purple, with an alluring bouquet of black fruits, spice and cedary oak contributed by 14 months' maturation in 83% new French hogsheads. The medium- to full-bodied palate has layer-upon-layer of velvety blackberry fruit allied with notes of dark chocolate and a sprinkle of licorice and spice, silky tannins and quality oak completing the package. "
Wine Spectator - "A bit shy on the nose but dense in the mouth, with brilliant blueberry, plum and white pepper flavors, coming together smoothly on the finish and lingering expressively. Drink now through 2020."
The Wine Advocate - "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2008 RWT Shiraz presents quite a lot of cedar over notes of pure blackberry and black cherry fruit with hints of cinnamon stick, toast and underbrush. Medium bodied, concentrated and taut in the mouth, it has firm, grainy tannins and crisp acidity, finishing long. A little disjointed at this stage, it needs time to marry and should drink best 2014 to 2023+.
Wine Enthusiast - "Full-bodied and richly textured, with Penfolds’ hallmark weight and structure on full display, the 2008 RWT shows a touch of the vintage’s characteristic warmth, but only a touch. The cassis and blackberry fruit is plush, velvety and superripe, ending with hints of tobacco, mint and vanilla. It should drink well for at least a decade."
International Wine Cellar - "Deep violet. Complex bouquet of red and dark berries is complemented by smoky minerals, potpourri, anise and black pepper. Rich but focused on the palate, offering sweet black raspberry and cassis flavors, a velvety texture and strong mineral snap. This elegant,precise wine boasts impressive finishing sweetness. For such a rich wine, this is very graceful and surprisingly approachable, although it's built to age. "
Wine & Spirits - "Made from Grange-level fruit fermented in French oak hogsheads (mostly new, rather than the 100% new American oak hogsheads used for Grange), RWT is a floral shiraz in 2008, with tension built into the fruit, acidity and tannins. Savory herb, tart cherry and mushroom earthiness vie for attention in the finish. The French oak gives it a clean, sleek line, sustaining the balance and potential for long aging."
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Penfolds Wines Winery
Founded by a young, English doctor in 1844, Penfolds has been producing remarkable wines that have changed the landscape of Australian winemaking. Over the past century, Penfolds has indisputably led the development of Australian fine wine in the modern era. The introduction of Penfolds Grange in 1951 forever changed the landscape of Australian fine wine. Since then, a series of standout wines, both white and red, have been released under the Penfolds masthead. Under the direction of master winemaker, Peter Gago, Penfolds is now found in every major wine market in the country. Extraordinary wines such as Block 42 and Bin 60A have also been released during his tenure. Penfolds wines are now widely celebrated for their diversity and quality across many price-points. The strength of Penfolds is that the wine comes first. Penfolds' range of table wines is utterly Australian, evoking a generosity of spirit and the beauty of the Australian landscape.
About Barossa ValleyView a map of Barossa Valley wineries
The Barossa zone consists of two sections - the Barossa Valley and the Eden Valley. Wines from the Eden Valley can be labelled Barossa or Barossa Valley.
Situated just a bit east of the large city of Adelaide, Barossa is Australia's wine headquarters. Mega producers are based here, boutique wineries call it home and a majority of the habitants claim their income on the wine industry. The valley is strewn with a series of hamlets, small towns spotted throughout the region.
Barossa ValleyBarossa is red-wine territory, with red grapes consisting of about two-thirds of the region's plantings. The reds, Shiraz in particular, are lauded for their rich, concentrated flavors and aging potential. Old vines of Shiraz and Grenache are popular, many up to 80 years old. The valley is home to some of the most famous vineyards of Australia - this is where the first Penfolds Grange was made. Whites are also found, mainly from the Semillon grape – these wines are as full-bodied as the reds although harder to find. Riesling and Chardonnay are also planted.
Eden ValleyRight next to Barossa Valley, but a bit higher in elevation, Eden Valley is an ideal neighbor. Many wineries source vineyards from both areas as the climate difference in Eden Valley leads to wines of a different character. Reds are still mainly Shiraz and Grenache, but the wines are often more restrained and less dense than those in the Barossa Valley proper. Whites are popular here too. Eden Valley Rieslings and Semillons are particularly excellent.
About AustraliaLike the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.