John Duval is a legendary name. As only the third winemaker to be entrusted with the making of Australia’s most famous wine, Grange, John worked for Penfolds for 28 years (including 16 years as chief winemaker) until his departure in 2002. Despite his legendary status, John is a quiet, unassuming man who just happens to be one of the world’s great winemakers.
He set out on his own with the 2003 vintage, sourcing fruit from some long-time friends in the Barossa. ‘Plexus’ Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvèdre and ‘Entity’ Shiraz quickly established the reputation of this label. The ‘Plexus’ white, a blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier, was introduced in 2010 and is fast gaining the sort of reputation that John’s reds have long enjoyed. The Shiraz for ‘Plexus’ red is sourced from vineyards in the Krondorf, Marananga and Ebenezer regions, giving the wine lovely weight and depth. The Grenache is from old bush vines in the Ebenezer and Tanunda regions, which gives the wine great aromatics along with softness and richness on the palate, while the Mourvèdre, from old bush vines in the Light Pass and Krondorf regions (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 the Krondorf, Tanunda and Lights Pass regions and in recent vintages has also included some Eden Valley Shiraz to promote the vibrancy and elegant expressions of the ‘Entity’ style.
Only made in the best years, the ‘Eligo’ Shiraz has the highest quality grapes selected from the vintage. The wine has 20 months of ageing in 75% new French oak hogsheads and 25% in older casks. ‘Annexus’ Grenache and ‘Annexus’ Mataro are made in tiny quantities. 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 from fruit from a 100-year-old vineyard in the Light Pass subdistrict of the Barossa Valley. Spicy plums and red cherries are accompanied by earthy notes and hints of leather.