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John Duval Plexus Red 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
  • WS91
14% ABV
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Shiraz was sourced from old vineyards in the Marananga, Lyndoch and Ebenezer districts. The old vine Grenache was sourced from the Krondorf region and Mourvedre from old bush vines, the oldest over 100 years old, in the Krondorf and Lights Pass regions. A true reflection of Barossa's soil and climate, Plexus expresses complex aromas and flavors combining red and dark fruits with savory notes. The palate is framed by youthful fine tannins and subtle savory French oak adds to the structure and complexity.

Blend: 59% Shiraz, 31% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
Broad and open-textured, with pure blueberry and spice flavors. Not heavy, but the flavors persist into the deftly balanced finish.
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John Duval

John Duval

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John Duval, Barossa Valley, Barossa, Australia
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John Duval began his self-titled label in 2003. Duval graduated from Adelaide University in 1973 with a degree in agriculture and winemaking before becoming a winemaker for Penfolds for the next 29 years. Duval was appointed Chief Winemaker at Penfolds in 1986 and was lucky enough to oversee one of the most dynamic periods of change in the Australian wine industry. He received Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London in 1989; Red Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine Challenge in London in 1991 and again in 2000; and saw the 1990 Penfolds Grange named the Wine of the Year by the prestigious US magazine Wine Spectator in 1995.

Duval focuses on fruit that comes from older vines in Barossa, including Rhone varietals, leading to one of his stellar ones, "Plexus."

Barossa Valley

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Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers must be careful so that grapes do not become overripe.

The intense heat is ideal for plush, bold reds, particularly Rhône blends featuring Shiraz, Grenache, and Mataro (Mourvèdre). White grapes can produce crisp, fresh wines from Riesling, Chardonnay, and Semillon if they are planted at higher altitudes.

Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as 1860. Many of them are dry farmed and bush trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, purple juice.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

GZT10050370_2011 Item# 129202