d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 1999
Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
Upon release d'Arenberg's The Dead Arm Shiraz has a vivid young deep brick-red colour. The nose shows intense and complex cedary, fig, blackberry and blueberry like smells occasionally pepper/spice smells too. Vanilla mocha oak smells and attacking blackberry, cassis characters are also evident on the palate. Full, intense sweet, cedary middle palate flavours have a distinctly silky, svelte texture deceptively disguise the rich powerful cassis and toffee-mocha flavours. The accent is on powerful full bodied berry fruit flavour, with a little sweet English toffee like oak evident on the juicy, rolling finish.
After time in bottle the d'Arenberg's Dead Arm gains a biscuity, cinnamon, caramel and eucalyptus based bouquet on top of rich blackberry pie smells. Tobacco, mushrooms, malt, and earth aromas play a part on the long, elegant fleshy, chocolate mint flavours. Restrained tannin and acidity coupled with rich alcohol, produce a seamless, peppery, velvety rolling length.
The Wine Advocate - "This estate's most renowned offering is their old vine Shiraz (90+ year old vines) called The Dead Arm. The unfined/unfiltered 1999 The Dead Arm Shiraz (2,000 cases) was aged in 100% new oak, of which 70% was American and 30% French. It is about as natural and unmanipulated a product of the vineyard as one can find. Full-bodied and awesomely rich, notes of black pepper, licorice, and blackberry as well as cherry liqueur cascade over the palate with enormous concentration and intensity, high tannin, and a structured, muscular style. Give it 3-4 years of cellaring, and consume it over the following 2-3 decades. It is a timeless museum piece made in a style that can only be produced in Barossa or McLaren Vale."
Wine Spectator - "Polished, round and generous with its cherry, berry and spice flavors, hinting at vanilla and smoke on the ripe finish. This favors grace over power."
Australian Wine Companion - "Dense red-purple; powerful, concentrated, deep black cherry and plum fruit on the bouquet is replicated on the rich and concentrated palate; fruit-driven plus a boost from 14.5% alcohol; the tannins and oak present no problem, although there is a hint of adjusted acidity on the finish."
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One of the undisputed kings of Australian Shiraz and Rhone varietals, d'Arenberg has managed to turn individuality into an art form by doing a whole lot of little things differently. The original vineyards were established by Joseph Osborn in 1912 in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. A century on, the estate has grown to 345 acres, and the mantle now rests with fourth-generation winemaker, Chester Osborn. By maintaining a focus on traditional winemaking and nurturing their old-vine material, the Osborn clan has successfully established themselves as one of the country's leading producers of concentrated wines that are full of character. View all d'Arenberg Wines
About McLaren ValeView a map of McLaren Vale wineries
McLaren Vale is home to the oldest Australian vineyard, with grapes planted in 1838. It's a coastal area, the Indian Ocean bordering the west, which leads to a cooling factor that prevents the grapes from getting too hot. In all, the climate is a perfect one for the vines.
Notable FactsIn McLaren Vale, there are vines as far as the eye can see. As in other parts of Australia, Shiraz and Grenache are the top grapes of the region, with some Cabernet Sauvignon planted as well. While red rules, whites are able to hold their own here too. With the warm yet reasonable Mediterranean climate, white grapes like Chardonnay, Semillon and even some Sauvignon Blanc grow well. The wines are round and smooth and the producers in the regions are excellent.
About AustraliaLike the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.