Wine Review – 2006 John Duval “Entity” Shiraz, Australia

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Winery: John Duval Wines

Bottling: 2006 John Duval “Entity” Shiraz

Importer: Old Bridge Cellars

Region: Australia

Sub-Region: Barossa Valley

Estimated Retail Price: $34 – $40

Purchase Details: Purchased for $34.49 + tax at Fujioka’s Wine Times

Tasting Source: Had alongside a 2004 Madrigal Cabernet Sauvignon and a bottle of Johnny W. Blue, with friends in a casual, after-work atmosphere.

Tasting Notes: I’ve been very excited to try this shiraz for the past couple of vintages now, so I was very excited when I was reminded by its visual presence on the shelves of one of the wine shops I frequent.  Beautiful dark purple color in the glass.  The aroma was perfumed and consisted of blueberry, blackberry and smoke.  On the palate, those same aromas translated themselves into actual flavors, with the addition of black pepper and boysenberry jam.  A little tart and high-toned initially, but with a little air, and once the bass notes set in, we had a good wine on our hands.

One thing that really stood out to me was the present, but almost invisible tannins.  They were there to hold the wine together, but they were so soft, juicy and really clean that I got a little carried away and caught myself gulping instead of sipping.  A really well-made, seamless wine.  I really liked this one.  I checked the tasting notes on their website and saw that they only used 30% new French oak, so you can see why the tannins were so approachable.

For you wine score fiends, Wine Spectator scored the first three vintages of 04, 05 and 06; 92, 94 and 92 points respectively.

Food & Context in Which to Enjoy: Because the tannins in this wine were so clean, you don’t need the fattier cuts of meat.  A nice tenderloin with some roasted brussel sprouts and some simple roasted potatoes.  I think it would work well with some game meats too, like venison and lamb.  I forgot to mention the underlying hints of game in the wine.

Many people I know who like Aussie shiraz for the monster alcohol, syrupy sweet fruit and new oak will probably not like this wine.  Just a warning, that’s it.  I don’t believe it’s the prototypical Aussie shiraz consumers have become accustomed to.   If you’re a collector, at $35 this is a great value for the cellar.

Winery Background:  Wine maker John Duval was at the healm of Penfold’s Winery for close to 30 years and was considered by many, the man responsible for taking Penfolds to the next level.  The now iconic Grange bottlings were the desire of many collectors around the world and garnered tons of high scores and awards from industry reviewers.

He left the winery in 2002 and eventually started this, his own private label.  He also is a vintner partner in the Washington, Long Shadows Vintners project.  His Sequel Syrah is fantastic.  It’s a more kicked up, extracted and oaked version of The Entity Shiraz.

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