d'Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Chester Osborn makes this wine from a collection of old vineyards he purchased, where the vines were mostly abandoned. He cleaned them up a bit, and now they grow an earthy, intensely concentrated grenache with savory meat nuances under layers of strawberry flavor. Tannins create a black satin drape over the fruit, which lasts with the gamey notes in a smooth finish.
Dark in color and saturated in hue, d'Arenberg's 2016 The Derelict Vineyard Grenache appears built to age. Loaded with concentrated black cherry fruit, the wine is full-bodied and framed by muscular tannins. I suspect the tannins will always be prominent, but they should soften a bit within a few years. The fruit is fresh, with no indication of over-ripeness, finishing clean and long. Rating: 90+
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.
Known for opulent red wines with intense power and concentration, McLaren Vale is home to perhaps the most “classic” style of Australian Shiraz. Vinified on its own or in Rhône Blends, these hot-climate wines are deeply colored and high in extract with signature hints of dark chocolate and licorice. Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced in a similar style.
Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. While Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha), today it is more recognized as the key player in the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its villages. Somm Secret—The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic, single varietal Grenache (there called Cannonau). California, Washington and Australia have achieved found success with Grenache, both flying solo and in blends.