Tonight is a wine of a style I enjoy, though far from where that style originates. I’ve been drinking a white wine, a blend of three grapes: Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier. Those grapes are well known as being from the Rhône Valley in France, but this is a New World wine, the John Duval Wines Barossa Valley Plexus 2010.
I’m a fan of the wines of the Rhône, having been there in June of this year. I love Syrah and Granache, but also Marsanne and Roussanne. I didn’t get to bring much home with me, but thanks to some well known producers having excellent international distribution, it’s easy to find their wines around the world.
John Duval is a winemaker that can be said to likewise be internationally famous. He worked for Penfolds for nearly three decades, was the custodian of Grange, and very dear to my heart, he created RWT which I generally think of as my favourite wine. Since leaving Penfolds, he’s worked as a consultant winemaker in a number of places, with Chile and Washington State coming to mind, but also producing his own wines in the Barossa Valley in Australia. I’m a fan of his wines, and I love the fact that he can make a wine like this.
The Barossa sometimes likes to think of itself as the Rhône Down Under, in that they make Shiraz (Syrah) and have been hugely successful with it. There are some very serious winemakers who see the Rhône as their starting point when it comes to making wine. Generally though, that only applies to red wine. They make straight Shiraz, straight Grenache, and even Grenache/Shiraz/Mouvedre blends. They have some of the oldest bush vines in the world. However, as far as whites go, they’re a bit thin on the ground. There are certainly whites planted, but they’re a wide mix of everything, from Chardonnay to Kerner, but not many Rhône whites. Somehow, John Duval found enough of the right grapes to make a white Rhône blend, apparently because his wife doesn’t like drinking reds.
So this wine is lovely. The nose is somewhat restrained, in a way that could be Semillon or Chardonnay, with some citrus, some oak, and a little bit of beeswax. It’s very rich on the palate, with a lovely weight and a complex flavour. My only regret is that we don’t have a second bottle chilled.
Clear and bright, medium lemon colour, with slow thick legs.
Clean, and developing with medium intensity notes of lemon, toast, oak, and honeycomb.
Dry, with medium-plus flavour intensity, medium acidity, medium alcohol, medium-plus body and flavour of lemon, oak, spice, quince, with long length and a honeycomb finish.
This is a very good quality wine. It’s big, with strong body and intensity and a long length. The complexity is a balance between sharp fruit and French oak treatment, but lacking somewhat in minerality or heavy acidity. It is very full on the palate.