Grange. That name has reached almost mythical status in Aussie wine. As Chief Winemaker, John Duval was the man who took over the making of the myth of Penfolds winery’s Grange Bin 95 Shiraz as of 1986 before forging ahead with his own namesake wine label in 2003. Having spent 29 years as a winemaker at the storied winery, it’s safe to assume that Duval knows Australia’s Barossa Valley terroir like a sailor knows the sea or like a hiker knows the Himalayas. Which is to say, when dealing with nature you never know the things you don’t know, but it helps when you’ve spent a lot of time in a certain place and when that place has been the object of your obsession.
So, expectations are high—and yet, you don’t know what to expect—when the winemaker of a mythical wine ventures out and makes a Barossa Valley GSM blend. The 2012 JOHN DUVAL Plexus is a mix of 51% Shiraz, 30% Grenache and 19% Mourvedre. How is it? Seamless, integrated, complete and harmonious. Extremely elegant structure. Alluringly smooth, so soft and enveloping on the palate with rich, succulent flavors of plum, Bing cherry, blackberry and boysenberry—all of it very persistent and luxuriously lengthy. And those striking tannins that demand attention, oh my. This is beautiful—and affordable—Australian wine that’s serious and seriously elegant. That’s the thing about a myth—the story continues to be told and reinvents itself as times change. There is a new story that John Duval is telling through his new wines, and the Plexus is a vividly compelling one. –J.M.
Great Wine: Sons of Eden “Pumpa”