d'Arenberg Vintage Shiraz Port 1998
Once bottled, d'Arenberg's Nostalgia, like all other tawny style fortified wines, does not improve in bottle, but can be kept safely after opening.
Nostalgia's colour is a light to mid tawny mahogany and yellow brown, with khaki and olive green tinges at the edges indicating advance base material age.
On the nose, d'Arenberg's Nostalgia exhibits complex, spicy lifted nutty 'ranco' aromas. Caramel, toffee, coffee and butterscotch smells augment dried fruit, especially prune and fig characters, which are also evident on the palate. In the mouth complex oak, fruit and brandy flavours marry to produce a luscious, raisined, spicy nutty and lingering finish.
The palate, although generous with English toffee, butterscotch and Christmas cake-like flavours, is well balanced by the drying sensations that come from long aging in oak.
In recent times, roughly every other vintage Chester Osborn fortifies small amounts of Grenache and occasionally Shiraz to put more young Nostalgia material in old brandy buttes, barriques and hogsheads at d'Arenberg to ensure a small but hopefully constant supply of Nostalgia Fine Old Tawny when introduced to the final blend in future. Until then, the older Nostalgia is best drunk with local almonds, currants, dried fruit, cheeses and coffee.
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.