d'Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache 2002
from McLaren Vale, Australia
Some years ago, chief winemaker, Chester Osborn, sought out additional premium Grenache fruit from McLaren Vale to meet the high demand for d'Arenberg's Grenache-based wines. Amongst others, a particular vineyard planted thirty years ago with Grenache appeared promising, and was the inspiration in the naming of this wine.
Last used for grape production two decades ago, the vineyard fell into neglect and was utilized as a horse paddock. Horses had trampled on the vines making them unproductive. Vine pruning occurred sporadically when the horses snacked on them. Long bracken ferns and native grasses up to a meter high entwined with, and hid the vines. The vines themselves resembled Medusa's hair - wild, thick, struggling and gnarled. Taming and rejuvenation of the vineyard occurred over several years with weeding, reposting, trellising and pruning undertaken. The exceptionally low yielding Grenache was hand-picked late in vintage.
The palate starts with a huge Wam! of flavor. Thick, ripe mulberries, blackberries and blueberries progress into a rich, gutsy, licorice and bitumen palate, followed by masses of powerful, youthful, gritty fruit tannins, layered with tones of flowery, cranberry and dark fruit flavors, and a youthful acidity.
This is a wine of intense concentration. With time, the tannins will somewhat soften and integrate as the fruit flavors open. Enjoy with grilled chicken or lamb. Drink now or cellar for 5-7 years.
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