Thursday, November 25, 2010

***** $$$ John Duval Entity Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2005 - Wine Tasting & Review - Top Rating, Best Value

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Original Review, May, 2007: This is an early bottle of the 2005 Duval Entity Shiraz - not yet rated professionally that I can see. John Duval, former winemaker for Penfold's Grange, initiated his own line with the 2004 series. The 2004 Entity garnered a high 95 rating from Robert Parker. Here's what I see in the 2005:

Even as the wine is poured into the glass, the room is hit with a noticeable deep cocoa aroma. Color is a deep, opaque mid-red, not turning at all magenta or purple. On the nose, distinct alcohol pushes up an aroma of licorice, black cherry and beets - less chocolate as you approach the wine. There is just a touch of stem there too - not old world earth - but a bit of dusty wood. The palate also brings a speck of loamy earth, pressed against some wonderfully balanced fruit.

You don't notice tannins, but you do notice an easy, lengthy finish - something must be making this last and last and last - gotta be the tannins, right? And the chocoloate is there, in the form of slightly dark chocolate-covered cherries. I'm misleading you if I make you think "sweet" or "candy" though - it's dry, round, lengthy. Very nice indeed - elegant, extracted and balanced. And there, wayyyyyyyyyy in the distance, long after the wine is sipped, is a hint of old world... just the tiniest hint. It will be fascinating to watch the evolution of this - with air, and over time.

Five stars - the highest score possible - on the Spirit of Wine scale.  And, although it is by no mean a bargain wine, it achieves "best value" status because of its exceptionally high score for the price.  

Now the reviews are in, April, 2008, and they are certainly in agreement with my enthusiasms:

94 points from Wine Spectator, which said, "A beautiful evocation of plum and blackberry balanced against a veil of creamy oak-but only a veil. It's the fruit that distinguishes the long expressive finish. Shiraz. Best from 2009 through 2017."

Stephen Tanzer awarded 93 points, writing, "Deep violet. Hugely aromatic nose combines powerful blackberry, dark cherry, licorice, mocha and violet scents. Lush and velvety, but with bright minerality giving the dark berry flavors remarkable vivacity. Fills out with air, picking up deeper espresso and high-octane chocolate notes. But this is all about fresh, energetic, pure fruit. Finishes on a bright, nervy note of berry skin, with superb length."


Updated Review, over three years later, November, 2010: Color is deep red now, brick at the edges.  Poured cool with just a brief decant for sediment, very shy beets and cherries come through on the nose.  The palate remains exquisitely balanced, even a bit understated.  It shows a touch of oak in a round, lithe base of settled black cherries and light cocoa dust.  A black-tea minerality brings things to a satisfying close, though perhaps a bit sooner than I might have preferred.  Very strong offering still, though it has lost some of the concentrated exuberance I so enjoyed in its youth.  Four stars now at five years from vintage date, and I would not argue the need for additional bottle age. 

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