d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2009
Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
Notes of licorice, blackberry and savory dark fruit leap from the glass, laced with a hint of char. Complexity in the shape of soil like notes follow, giving it power and structure. There is a plethora of sweet fruit character, plums and mulberries, but not a hint of fatness. It is compact and focused with layers of exotic characters and earth, which add to the intrigue of this wine.
The Wine Advocate - "Very deep garnet-purple colored, the 2009 The Dead Arm Shiraz presents an intense and complex nose of blackberry preserves and dried mulberries over coffee, black olives, smoky bacon and humus. The palate is richly fruited and nicely balanced with layers of savory and dark berry flavors and crisp acid textured by medium-firm finely grained tannins. It finishes long with hints of menthol and marmite toast coming through. It should be drinking best 2013 to 2024+."
Australian Wine Companion - "Deep, inky purple-crimson; in archetypal Dead Arm style, powerful and rich, but given some welcome lift by the mix of bitter chocolate and savoury/spicy notes on the palate. This is a style that will not change any time soon, and, within that context, is a good example."
International Wine Cellar - "Opaque ruby. A complex, floral-accented bouquet displays cherry-cola, cassis, bacon fat, licorice and candied violet. Initially firm and linear but quickly unfolds to offer sweet dark berry and bitter cherry flavors and an overlay of baking spices. Vanilla and cola nuances build with air and carry through a long, gently tannic, focused finish. Very rich but I get no impression of excess weight here."
Wine & Spirits - "Named for the eutypa fungus that kills off one side of a bush vine, leaving the fruit on the other side that much more concentrated, The Dead Arm is d'Arenberg's top selection from their old-vine shiraz. The 2009 is dense but not jammy, the rich black cherry juiciness lifted by tannins that fall somewhere between silk and satin. There's a generosity to the wine that’s tied as much to its earthiness as to its fruit. Appealing now with lamb, this will gain from several years in the cellar."
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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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.