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 AdvocateThis 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 SpectatorPolished, 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 CompanionDense 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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