2012 RBJ Theologicum

RBJ is a winemaking partnership between Barossa viticulturist Russell Johnstone and winemaker Chris Ringland.
"theologicum" was first produced in the 1991 vintage. We were inspired by the wines of the Southern Rhone, in particular the Cotes du Rhone blends of Grenache and Mourvedre made popular by winemakers such as Chapoutier and Guigal.
The Barossa Valley is uniquely endowed with century old plantings of Grenache and Mourvedre bushvines. From the beginning, we set about establishing relationships with several key grape growers in the Ebenezer district of the North Western Barossa. Then, we developed our own Barossa style of wine from these varieties.

Technical Details


RBJ “theologicum” is always a blend of Grenache and Mourvedre, although the relative proportion of these grapes in the wine varies from year to year depending upon the unique characteristics of the vintage.

In order to highlight the fruit characters of these two grapes, the wines are matured separately in seasoned French oak casks for one and a half years before bottling. We then hold the bottles and magnums of “theologicum” for a further year before release into the market.
RBJ “theologicum” is of medium weight, and the flavours are a balance of the light berry and floral notes of the Grenache contrasted with the firm and savoury contribution from the Mourvedre.

In very special vintages, we select outstanding casks of Mourvedre for bottling as a pure varietal. These are produced in very limited numbers.
Our currently available vintage of “theologicum” is the outstanding 2012. This wine is beginning to show its maturation complexity, but will continue to develop over the next decade.

Even though the 2011 growing season was extremely difficult, because of extraordinary rainfall, the regeneration of the environment after more than seven years of drought set the scene for a very favourable 2012 vintage. Sub soil moisture levels were at their highest for more than a decade and regular Spring rains allowed the vines to maintain enthusiastic vigour, thanks to a well judged heavy Winter pruning.
A warm to hot Summer developed with evenly dispersed rainfall events, promoting excellent conditions for flowering, especially with late maturing varieties such as Grenache and Mataro. Post-flowering berry development finished the job off nicely; yields were robust, but the ensuing conditions promoted ideal ripening. A great year.