The highlight of my autumn 2023 tastings, John Duval Plexus Red 2019, or John Duval Plexus Barossa Shiraz Grenache Mourvèdre 2019 to give it its full name, is a beautifully smooth and expressive red blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Whilst the GSM blend is more associated with Rhône blends, the style of this wine is more Bordeaux. It’s elegant, full-bodied but not overpowering, with a good balance of fruit, acidity, alcohol and tannins. When you smell John Duval Plexus Red 2019, you’ll find lovely vibrant aromas of red fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, and red currants, with underlying notes of liquorice, cinnamon, and a hint of smoky oak. It is generous and velvety on the palate, with layers of red and black fruits, such as cherries, plums, and blackberries, along with hints of savoury spice. The tannins are gentle and well-integrated, leading to a long and pure finish. Whilst I have classified the wine as Rich & Spicy due to its complexity, it could equally fall into the Smooth Elegant Red category. It is delicious!
John Duval, one of Australia’s most acclaimed winemakers, was born into a family of grape growers. He spent 30 years at Penfolds, where he was instrumental in establishing the winery as one of the world’s best. He has received various accolades over the years including International Winemaker of the Year, Red Winemaker of the Year and Wine of the Year. His own label, John Duval Wines, focuses on the best of the Barossa Valley’s low-yielding, old vine vineyards and pays homage to Penfolds’ structured, elegant wines with aromatic intensity, rich fruit flavours, complexity and ageing capability.