Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breathtaking McLaren Vale in South Australia, and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.
Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often affected vines are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an 'arm' of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.
Small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to five tonne headed down open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is then basket pressed and transferred to a mixture of new and used French and old American oak barriques to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, there is no racking until final blending and no fining or filtration.
Decanting this wine is highly recommended to allow it to reach its true potential. Initially, your senses are flooded with an array of savoury, earthy notes. Shiitake mushrooms, roasted meats and modelling clay. Slowly as the air permeates through the wine, the savoury layers are peeled away revealing a wealth of sweet black fruits. The palate is similarly laden with blackberry, plum and mulberry flavours. The sweetness is offset by a raft of woody spices and umami character. Superbly rich and supported by by a core of slatey, crushed rock-like tannins, this is a wine that will reward patience.
While enjoyable in youth, this wine will reach its full potential with bottle age up to at least 20 years. The considerable structure and depth will ensure that the fruit characters will develop over time revealing more complexity and providing immense interest. This wine is best stored in an environment free of direct sunlight and with consistent temperatures between 10°C and 15°C.