One of the world’s great winemakers, John Duval was given the ‘Grange’ torch by Max Schubert, the man who created Australia’s most famous wine. After 29 years at Penfolds John sensed the need to embark on a personal wine project. A new challenge that would allow him to be involved first hand from vineyard to glass, and provide an opportunity to build something for his family. John passed it on to his successor when he left Penfolds in 2003 to start his own label.
He sources fruit from long-time friends in the Barossa, all of whom own vineyards with vines aged from 50 to over 100 years old. The wines are made with minimal intervention and showcase the best of the Barossa.
Ahead of the 2016 vintage, John Duval Wines welcomed a second generation as eldest son Tim joined the family wine business working alongside his father. Having worked a number of vintages, and then in wine retail whilst he studied, Tim returns to wine following 7 years practicing as a lawyer in Adelaide.
‘Plexus’ Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvèdre and ‘Entity’ Shiraz quickly established the reputation of this label. The ‘Plexus’ white, a Marsanne/Roussanne/Viognier blend, was introduced in 2010 and is fast gaining the sort of reputation that John’s reds have long enjoyed.
The fruit for the ‘Plexus’ red is sourced from vineyards across the Barossa’s Northern and Central Grounds. The Shiraz is from vineyards in Krondorf, Marananga and Ebenezer, giving the wine lovely weight and depth. The Grenache is from old bush vines planted in Ebenezer and Tanunda, which gives the wine great aromatics along with softness and richness on the palate, while the Mourvèdre, from old bush vines in Light Pass and Krondorf (the oldest are over 100 years old), lends the wine a spicy character and good tannic structure.
The ‘Entity’ is sourced mainly from old Shiraz vineyards in Krondorf, Tanunda and Light Pass and in recent vintages has also included some Eden Valley Shiraz to promote the vibrancy and elegant expression of the ‘Entity’ style. Only made in the best years from a selection of the highest quality grapes, the ‘Eligo’ Shiraz is aged for 20 months: 55% in new French oak hogsheads and 45% in older casks.
‘Annexus’ Grenache and ‘Annexus’ Mataro are made in tiny quantities to highlight the components of the Plexus blend as single-varietal wines. Fruit for the Grenache was sourced from two very old Barossa vineyards. One lies south of Tanunda and is over 100 years old; the other is in Eden Valley and was planted in the 1860s. This wine is only made in the best years. The ‘Annexus’ Mataro was made for the first time in 2016 with fruit from a 100-year-old vineyard in Light Pass. It displays spicy plums and red cherries, accompanied by earthy notes and hints of leather.