#9 Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2019
Think of RWT as an alter ego to Penfolds’ flagship Grange bottling; Grange is a multi-region blend of old-vine Shiraz from around South Australia and aged in American oak, while RWT is an expression of a single region and aged in French oak. Here the purity of Barossa Shiraz is complemented by a creamy, rich texture. Named “Red Winemaking Trial” during its development in the mid-1990s, this wine is no longer an experiment, but the name stuck and RWT has become a classic in its own right. The winemaking is overseen by Penfolds veteran Peter Gago.
Its style is opulent and fleshy, contrasting with Grange, which is more muscular and assertive. RWT is made from fruit primarily selected for its aromatic qualities and fine texture. The result is a wine that helps to redefine Barossa Shiraz at the highest quality level.
Penfolds RWT Shiraz presents an admirable alternative to the multi-regional sourcing and American oak maturation that are hallmarks of Grange, expressing instead, single-region Barossa Valley Shiraz matured only in French oak.
98 Points - James Halliday
Deep, vibrant colour; the bouquet is very expressive, speaking of a legion of black fruits, licorice, plum and spice, none of which prepare you for the sheer power of this amazing wine, and its untold depths.
96 Points - Wine Spectator
Offers a lush, juicy mix of blackberry, blueberry and black cherry flavours that appears seamless, integrating with notes of amaretto, clove and lavender. Plush, juicy and very generous on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2034.
96 Points - Decanter
A deep, dark, brooding ruby in colour, this RWT 2017 (from 'Red Winemaking Trial' originally developed in 1995) displays an intense yet subtly peppery and tarry fragrance with an added veneer of vanilla from its 15 months in new French oak. That intensity splashes onto the tongue in a profusion of flavours mingling opulently ripe black cherry with pepper, vanilla, tarry spice and herbs in a polished Barossa red that, thanks to the cooler growing season, shows an elegance of texture and balance through all the richness. At the same time, it has a seriously tongue-coating, chocolatey firmness in Barossa-meets-Côte Rôtie style. Chicken and game are great food options here.
96 Points - James Suckling
Stunning blueberries and mulberries here with a wealth of baking spices and red berries, as well as tarry notes and blackberries. It is all here. The palate has a super plush, rich and quite compressed tannin feel. Some firm and powerful moments, as the palate, builds with plentiful spiced summer berries. Red plums and blackberries to close. Try from 2025.
95 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Red raspberries abound on the nose of the 2017 RWT Shiraz, which, as usual, is all Barossa fruit aged in French oak (70% new). It's full-bodied and velvety, with appealing notes of dried spices, beef and plenty of red fruit. There's a cedary veneer to this vintage, which looks as if it will need a couple of years to come together, then drink well for up to two decades.
93 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
The 2017 Shiraz RWT, also known as the Bin 798, is all Barossa Valley Shiraz that’s always brought up in French oak, with 70% being new in 2017. It checks in behind the magical 2016, but nevertheless, it’s still a beautiful Shiraz that offers everything you could want from this variety. Sporting a deep purple colour as well as a beautiful perfume of crème de cassis, black raspberries, toasted bread, vanilla bean, white flowers, and plenty of spice, it’s full-bodied, elegant, and silky on the palate, and what it lacks in density and depth, it makes up for it with its incredible purity and elegance. It’s approachable today (give bottles an hour in a decanter), yet I suspect it will benefit from short-term cellaring and keep for 15+ years or more. It’s a class act.
92 Points - Wine Enthusiast
With all of the glossy polish that Penfolds is famed for, the RWT showcases heady aromas of raspberries, currants, plums, dried flowers and anise with furniture polish and butterscotch oak influence and undercurrents of beet and earthy herbs. Rich, satiny fruit on the palate is nipped and tucked by powerful, spicy tannins, and there's a lingering oak character. A big, classy wine with nary a hair out of place.