d'Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache 2002
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.
d'Arenberg is one of the undisputed kings of Australian Shiraz and other Rhone varieties that have historically defined the region. A century on, their vineyards have grown to some 450 acres in McLaren Vale, including Shiraz dating back to d'Arenberg's first plantings in 1912, and nearly one-third of McLaren Vale's old bush-vine Grenache. Fourth generation winemaker, Chester Osborn, recently converted all of the family's vineyards to organics and biodynamics and moved to solar energy in the winery. All the while, in terms of winemaking, not much has changed--all the wines are basket-pressed, the reds foot-trodden during fermentation; everything is done in small batches, leading to an impressive array of bottlings every year, each showing a different facet of McLaren Vale terroir. Having been inducted into Wine & Spirits Magazine's Hall of Fame for earning a place on its Top 100 Wineries nine times, this accolade is a reflection of d'Arenberg's revered reputation worldwide.