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john duvallBefore starting his own label in 2003, John Duvall was winemaker at Penfolds for 29 years and thus responsible for making the iconic Penfolds Grange in the 1980’s and 90’s, one of the truly great wines in the world. So I had rather high expectations when popping the cork on this one.

I’m happy to say it is, at this moment, a perfectly formed jewel, a crystallization  of earth’s sweet being.

It opens as if walking into a damp autumn forest, a soft blanket of wet leaves covering dried blackberry and black cherry, hints  of mushroom and fig, espresso bean and a still discernible lacing of pencil lead. It’s not overly complex but shows effortless balance and charm.

On the palate the fruit is still bright and cheerful, despite the underlying fig notes, with mouthwatering acidity and sustained fruit power sailing through the extraordinary long, focused finish. Lush with gently nuzzling tannins, it modestly shifts and sighs, will not speak it’s secrets but lies long and lovely the whole quiet thing offering insight just as words fail.

A meditative wine, mystical yet uplifting it was wonderfully complemented by the sinuous, soulful sax and viola melodies of Jan Garbarek’s In Praise of Dreams

Technical Notes: The first vintage for this wine, it’s blended with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fermentation with submerged cap in small stainless steel fermenters, barrel aged for 20 months with 66% new fine grain French oak and the balance in 1 and 2 year old French oak hogsheads (300 litre). Some batches finished fermentation in new barrels. Drink now!

Score: 95

Price: $86

Alc: 14.5%