Penfolds RWT Barossa Shiraz is a distinctly modern wine that articulates the Barossa terroir with Penfolds’ signature method of winemaking. First vintaged in 1997 after several years of 'Red Winemaking Trials', RWT is typically inky deep in colour, with sumptuous fruit sweetness, mouth-filling flavours, underlying spice, savoury nuances and chocolaty tannins. The wine is matured in new and seasoned French oak for around 12 to 15 months.
Deep crimson. Ethereal pure blackberry pastille roasted chestnut mocha aromas with hint ginger notes. Voluminous and animated wine with dense saturated blackberry dark chocolate fruits, plentiful fine velvety tannins and superb integrated roasted chestnut, mocha vanilla oak complexity. Finishes chocolaty firm. Elemental, powerful and seductive with years ahead of it. Should develop into a classic.
99 points (2020)
"All Barossa fruit, cited and sourced for its opulence as an over-riding extension of the Penfolds style. Florals meld with the sort of dark, creamy and concentrated fruit that stains every nook and cranny of the palate. Blueberry, mulberry and vanilla pie. Unashamedly full-bodied. A power house!"
96 points (July 2020)
The warm summer of 2018 plays to Penfolds mandate for RWT to be ‘opulent, fleshy, aromatic and plush’ (by contrast to the Grange aspiration of ‘muscular and assertive’), making this a very easy wine to blend for the Penfolds team. ‘Such was the calibre of our A2 grade shiraz – the core of RWT and St Henri – that we almost nailed the blend right from the outset during classification!’ Peter Gago revealed. And opulent it is, a deep well of magnificent, sweet, ripe black fruits of enticingly glossy appeal, painted in rich strokes of French oak dark and milk chocolate, underlined by polished, firm fine tannins that draw the finish out long, full and strong. A quintessential RWT for the medium-term, guaranteed to turn heads and win hearts.
95 points (July 2020)
Very deep, glass-staining purple/red colour. The bouquet is also very intense and concentrated, essency and profound, loaded with toasty-charry oak and mocha, espresso coffee, dark chocolate aromas, the palate formidably powerful, concentrated and intense. The flavour tracks the bouquet precisely and the tannins and extract give the palate a massive density and breathtakingly mouth-coating texture, the whole entity combining in a mighty crescendo that roars through the finish to a very long aftertaste. The density of the wine is rare indeed: you almost feel you could stand a spoon up in it.
98 points, The Real Review (July 2020)
This has a very attractively fresh, showy feel to the nose with aromas of ripe red cherries, blackberries, goji berries and redcurrants, as well as red plums and some wild-herb and licorice notes on offer, too. Very expressive and fragrant. The palate has a super intense and powerful delivery of ripe red-cherry and plum flavors and immaculately fresh French oak (64% new) that really clasps and holds the finish long. The tannins are so ripe and well positioned.
96 points, JamesSuckling.com (July 2020)
Sourced only from the Barossa Valley, RWT is aged exclusively in French oak, giving it two major points of difference from the rest of the Penfolds range. Always a sexy, voluptuous wine (and admittedly a personal favorite), the 2018 RWT Shiraz ratchets that up to new heights in a great Barossa vintage, boasting layers of berry-like fruit, refined vanilla shadings and baking-spice notes, plus more exotic elements like star anise and cocoa powder. It's full-bodied and plush without being unstructured in any way, with a lingering, complex finish and the concentration to age two decades or more.
98 points, Wine Advocate (July 2020)
A wine that was launched in 2000 with the 1997. There have been some outstanding wines under this label but I'm not sure I tasted better. Essential difference from other Penfolds shiraz being that it gets all French oak of which 64% was new. The difference is striking. This has such energy and brilliance. The scented aromas are exquisite with floral berry notes and a trace of cedar. The palate is seamlessly structured yet powerful and elegance. This is style with a capital S. The palate pulls you in then gradually releases layer upon layer of deep and compelling flavours. A classic.
98 points, The West Australian (July 2020)
Plush and opulent, this bombshell in a striking oak corset makes an exuberant entry, striding down the red carpet with its ample fruit talking in a bright, effusive voice. After that brassy entry it settles in the glass, its blackberry and brulée flavours singing softly atop a bed of powdery tannins, and the nutty, cedar tones framing a long finish. Having changed so much since its inaugural 1997 vintage, RWT ('Red Winemaking Trial') has never presented its fruit so voluptuously and immediately, with oak now part of the supporting cast rather than playing the star role.
96 points, David Sly, Decanter (July 2020)
This is a spectacular RWT and this vintage is so well suited to fully ripe, densely packed Barossa Shiraz it isinsane. This is a grand wine and I noted Cabernet balance and sheen here, by which I mean that this is not a forceful, muscle-bound wine but a very elegantly proportioned creation. There are ostentatious flourishes which come from the highly polished fruit in conjunction with the gloriously perfumed oak, and these exotic touches excite the senses greatly. It never steps over the line into flamboyance, managing to keep its eagerness and poise in place and for that reason, I think it is one of the standout wines of the collection.
19+ points (July 2020)
It’s warm, plush, ripped with aniseed and sweet, dry herbs, both toasty and resiny, and creamy-smooth to the touch. It’s powered essentially by rich ripe plum and saltbush flavours though soy, sweet spice and peppercorn notes find voice too. RWT always delivers a lot of fruit and oak flavour and it does again here (emphasis on the latter), but there’s something about the formation of tannin that just doesn’t make me want to stick a gold medal on it. The tannin here is well balanced and integrated but it’s not A-class framing; the best tannin reaches back and pulls the palate with it, whereas here it feels too finish-focussed. That said, the flavour on offer is pretty immense.
93 points, The Wine Front (July 2020)
Lustrous dark purplish crimson. Smell of rather damp oak(!) to me. Very distinctive! And certainly no longer a trial. Camphor and very obvious ripeness on the nose. Round and very gently handled. I could almost drink this tonight! Transparent and lively. Tastes as though it has been moved along the spectrum a bit further from the Grange concentration model. Appetising and dry on the end. Almost as light as claret-like in build. A charmer. Great balance.
18 points, JancisRobinson.com (June 2020)
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.
Penfolds is probably the most extraordinary of the world’s wine brands with an enviable reputation for quality at every price level. The original Penfold was an English doctor who, in 1844, planted grapes at Magill, now a suburb of Adelaide. However, it was not until the late 1940s that Penfolds began to forge a reputation for red wine.
The Penfolds house style emerged from a fortified wine producing culture and evolved as a winemaking philosophy which has had a profound effect on the entire Australian wine industry. Many of the techniques initially adopted to make Penfolds Grange would become part of the wider Penfolds winemaking culture. The number of techniques employed in the research and development of Penfolds wines is astonishing. Max Schubert and his team pioneered: major advances in yeast technology and paper chromatography; the understanding and use of pH in controlling bacterial spoilage; the use of headed down/submerged cap fermentation and the technique of rack and return; cold fermentation practices; the use of American oak as a maturation vessel and perhaps most critically, partial barrel fermentation. Nowadays, the use of American oak and barrel fermentation for instance is considered traditional Barossa winemaking practice!
Today, Penfolds house style embraces the concept of multi-regional blending, optimum fruit quality, the use of fine-grained American or French oak, barrel fermentation and maturation. Overall, the Penfolds style is about highly-defined fruit aromas, fruit sweetness, ripe tannins, richness, power and concentration. The number of iconic wines that have emerged from the Penfolds stable over the years is remarkable. Bin 389 a Cabernet Shiraz blend released in 1960 is now considered the quintessential Australian wine blend. Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz and Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz released in 1962 pre-empted the contemporary enthusiasm for regional definition by about 25 years. Improved vineyard management, site selection and winemaking brought about subsequent releases of Bin 707 and Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Penfolds Wine Making Philosophy is the accumulation of more than half-a-century of knowledge and winemaking practice initiated by Max Schubert and subsequently refined by Don Ditter, John Duval and Peter Gago. Their collective commitment to multi-regional and vineyard blending contributed to a consistency of style and quality that has cemented Penfolds reputation as the foremost producer of premium age-worthy red wines in Australia.