John Duval Wines

2007 Plexus Barossa Valley

June 15, 2010
183 Orders
1,405 Bottles
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Winemaker John Duval
Winemaker John Duval
An Australian Take on Chateauneuf-du-Pape
John Duval had pretty much done it all. The wine by which all Aussie wines are measured is the Penfolds Grange Hermitage. As the maker of Grange for almost 30 years, garnering perfect 100 point scores and a Wine Spectator "Wine of the Year" award, Duval had grown restless. In 2003, the Aussie who had overcome more challenges than anyone in recent Australian wine history went off on his own. Armed with his unique winemaking touch and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the vineyards of Barossa, Duval set out to make something exceptional.

While Australian Shiraz had taken the world by storm in the 1990s, and Duval had become the country's poster-winemaker, the Rhone-style wines that Duval often found most enchanting weren't Australian. So, while Duval loved to play with blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, discovering a different kind of Australian voluminous warmth and complexity, he rarely had free reign to make something different, something special. All that was about to change. One of Duval's first challenges when he started out on his own was to make an Australian wine in the spirit of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. He called that wine Plexus.

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Other Australian winemakers had started down the same path, but Duval had a head start. Not only did his worldly understanding of the wines of the Rhone give him a leg up, but his experience at Penfolds had provided a roadmap to the vineyards and grapes he needed. The great wines of Chateauneuf all followed a common recipe. The vines were old, often ancient. The Grenache and Mouvedre were largely gnarly, head-trained bush plants putting out just a few small bunches of wildly concentrated clusters each year. If Duval was to mimic the greatest success stories of Chateauneuf -- like those of Rayas and Beaucastel -- he would have to find the same types of vineyards in Barossa. For less experienced winemakers, that would have been tough. For the former maker of Grange Hermitage, it was a piece of cake.

Duval made a beeline for Light Pass and Krondorf, purchasing 60-year-old Grenache and century old Mourvedre. The Shiraz he drew largely from Marananga and Stockwell. When the clusters hit the winery, the master went to work, vinifying a portion of the Shiraz in new barrels, while opting to treat the Grenache and Mourvedre traditionally as they do in Chateauneuf.

The result? Dark red/purple in color with an absolutely captivating nose of crushed red fruit, laced with old-vine Mourvedre spice. Darkly concentrated on the palate, with firm acid structure. Silken and warm, this is as close as an Aussie comes to its southern Rhone cousin. But perhaps more than anything, the electric 2007 Plexus is signature John Duval.

Wine Label Tasting Notes
2007 John Duval Wines Plexus Barossa Valley
"The 2007 Plexus Grenache (28%)-Shiraz (51%)-Mourvedre (21%) was aged for 16 months in predominantly seasoned French oak. It is dark ruby-colored with a perfumed nose of cedar, tobacco, lavender, kirsch, and black cherry. Velvety-textured, rich, and concentrated, it is packed with flavor, is impeccably balanced, and will drink well for a decade."
92 points--Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

"Deep ruby-red. Fresh raspberry and cherry aromas display a striking southern Rhone-like character, with complicating notes of dried flowers, spicecake and minerals. Juicy and smooth, with sweet red berry flavors and gentle tannins. The finish is brisk, gently sweet and long. No way I'd have guessed that this came from a drought year. Ninety percent of this wine was raised in five- or six-year-old French hogsheads, the rest in new casks."
92 points--Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

"Fine elegant and well structured, this balanced and approachable red blend has a fresh, briary and slightly confiture-like aroma of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries and sweet chocolate/vanilla oak with licorice and clove-like undertones. Its vibrant, mouthfilling and juicy, round and generous, delivering a smooth, creamy presence on the palate delightfully stuffed with dark fruits and underpinned by fine tannins. It finishes dusty and savoury, with meaty elements balanced by sweet oak."
93 points--Jeremy Oliver, The Australian Wine Annual 2010

"Bright, but light, colour; a fragrant bouquet of red fruits is replicated on the light-to medium-bodied palate, backed by gossamer fine, savoury tannins."
93 points--James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2010

"This is one of the very best of its type, stunningly complex, balanced, seamless and full of Barossa generosity."
92 points--Rob Geddes MW, "The Gold Book", Australian Wine Vintages 2010

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