Wine Advocate 93 points - Tasted at the “Rewards of Patience” vertical in Berlin. The nose on the 2008 RWT is very primal and surly at first: tightly coiled macerated dark cherries, dark plum, blackcurrants and blueberry shrouded in a fug of alcohol. The palate is very smooth and voluptuous, an RWT of curves not edges. It is packed full of sweet, opulent red fruit with a sensual, sexy finish that needs several years to develop complexity. The constituent parts are all here for a great RWT, but at the moment it is a boy not a man. Drink now-2025. Tasted June 2012. (Sep 2012)
93 points - 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+.
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.