2010 John Duval Wines Shiraz Entity Barossa Valley
Expert Ratings
RP 95 points
ST 93 points
JH 93 points
(Read the full reviews below)
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John Duval's 95pt "Little Grange"

John Duval Vineyards and 4.33 stars out of 5! When the wheels started coming off the high-end Australian wine business, many of us wondered what took so long. The trend towards ultra-concentration was finally taking its toll. Despite all the uber-scores dropped on so many Aussie Shiraz by one misguided critic, consumers were walking away in droves. Import companies would be turned upside down, stuck with overblown and overpriced inventory. It would rank among the greatest selloffs in recent fine wine history.

From the very beginning, we found most of those wines syrupy and plodding, buttressed by unnatural acidity that screamed of cellar science. Still, even as WineAccess turned its back on most Aussie Shiraz, we grew more and more enchanted with a single Shiraz blend fashioned by Australia's most legendary winemaker, John Duval.

Duval, of course, was the winemaker who launched Shiraz into global prominence. For 16 years, he ran the show at Penfolds, turning out a series of the staggeringly rich, yet beautifully cut "Grange," powerfully elegant ($400/bottle) 99-pointers that combined the massive opulence of South Australia with Northern Rhone vibrancy. The critical consensus was striking. From Parker to Tanzer, the Spectator to Jancis Robinson, James Halliday to Jeremy Oliver, every pundit on the planet published annual tributes to Duval and Australia's First Growth.

It would come as little surprise, then, when Duval finally took his leave from Penfolds, determined to hang up his own Shiraz shingle, that the critics followed close behind. The master winemaker returned to his handpicked vineyard roots, immediately turning out stunningly rich, marvelously chiseled Shiraz. Duval called his new wine "Entity." Some preferred to label it "Little Grange."

Even as most of Australia's Shiraz-makers watched their market share shrink, "Entity" was quick to pick up commercial steam -- not just from one critic, but from all of them! From 2005-2009, Parker and Tanzer weighed in with a nearly identical barrage of 93-95pt reviews -- consistently the highest ratings earned by any Shiraz at anywhere near today's price. Back in Duval's backyard, it would be James Halliday, the most revered Australian critic, who led the charge.

Our first experience with "Entity" was with the 2007 vintage, a bottle that garnered 63 perfect 5-star ratings from WineAccess buyers. We were shut out in 2008 and 2009 after Parker dropped matching 94-point ratings on those vintages. We had to beat RP to the punch on the 2010 vintage, first securing a few bottles before he piled on his 95 point rave.

The 2010 "Entity" is not only one of the richest, but arguably the most refined ever from Duval. The International Wine Cellar called it "Glass staining purple … offering intense dark fruit flavors … an impressive marriage of power and finesse, with no rough edges." Halliday mimicked Tanzer's enthusiasm, lobbing on a matching 93pt rave. Then, The Wine Advocate upped the ante with a whopping 95 points.

A handful of you grabbed the 2010 "Entity" when we offered it just five weeks ago. We were pleased, but not surprised, when the ratings poured in, with 42 members dropping a 4.33 (!!) aggregate score. We've told you before about the Rules of Redux: Ninety days after buyers rate an offer highly, we contact the winery to see if we can squeeze out more. This is an amendment to those rules.

Yesterday we received a call from the importer, telling us that the last 50 cases of the 2010 "Entity" had just hit port. If we wanted them, they were ours. We reminded the importer that this was a tad premature for Redux.

"Screw the Rules of Redux," we were told. "95 points and a pair of matching 93s? Are you kidding? Take it or it goes for 30% more elsewhere." Fair point. We took it.

Tasting Notes

2010 John Duval Wines Shiraz Entity Barossa Valley
"Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2010 Entity Shiraz is scented of ripe blueberries, mulberries and Chinese dried plum with vanilla pod, dark chocolate, cedar, violet and fruit cake nuances. This full-bodied wine is densely packed with black berry preserve and baking spice flavors, has a refreshing acid line to add lift and medium to firm levels of rounded tannins. It has a long length with some oak poking through on the finish. Drink it from 2014 to 2024+."
95 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

"Glass-staining purple. Black raspberry, cassis, mocha and Indian spices. Concentrated and expansive, offering intense dark fruit flavors and a hint of candied violet. Shows an impressive marriage of power and finesse, with no rough edges. Lively, fresh and very persistent on the finish, with silky tannins providing shape and grip."
93 points -- Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

"Impenetrable color; there is a lush and voluptuous nature to the wines of John Duval, with sweetness of fruit, exotic spices and warmth enveloping this particular example; lavish levels of oak accompany masses of fruit, tannin and licorice; long and toasty, this is big and slippery at the same time."
93 points -- James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion

*Important Shipping Information
    • This is a Pre-Arrival Offer: Weather permitting, wine will begin shipping upon arrival, in early May, 2013.

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