d’Arenberg 2010 Dead Arm Shiraz: Tasting Note

While definitely the icon of the Icon series of d’Arenberg wines, it’s not the most expensive in their ever increasing lineup of wines.  Along with the others (Ironstone Pressings and Coppermine Road) in the Icon series, the Dead Arm Shiraz has been given an updated look. And very smart it is to.

d'Arenberg Icons

d’Arenberg Icons

What’s inside the 2010 Dead Arm Shiraz is also very smart, and over-delivers for the price.  The aroma is dark and abundant.  Dark fruits of plums and sweet damp earth.  There’s the typical d’Arenberg savoury Indian spice (dusty fennel seed, white pepper) in the background there too.

On the palate – wow!  Reminds me of a Facebook relationship status – “it’s complicated”.  Overflowing with fruit; more rich dark plums, ripe mulberries bursting with juice. The distinctive McLaren Vale black olive, or black olive brine.  A savoury soy character balances the fruit intensity, and stops it from being too much.  Black pepper spice, and other warm spices add yet more interest.  It’s a big wine with fine drying tannins.  It … lingers …a … loooong  …  time.  As always with d’Arenberg Dead Arm I would expect to cellar 15-20 years, but given the 2010 vintage possibly more.

What would I match with it?  Probably just a big glass – and have it by itself.

RRP $65
Alc 14%
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

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d’Arenberg 2010 Coppermine Road  Cabernet Sauvignon: Tasting Note

Within the Icons series of d’Arenberg wines ‘Coppermine Road’ has some sparkly new attire, along with its siblings Dead Arm Shiraz and Ironstone Pressings.   The whole range looks very smart and, well, iconic.

In McLaren Vale, Cabernet sits in the shadows a little.  Grenache and Shiraz playing a more prominent role in the warm climate.  None the less, Cabernet Sauvignon still performs, if somewhat less herbaceous style than slightly cooler regions like Coonawarra.  The 2010 vintage was a very good, with abundant winter rains and a mild summer with many cool nights.  All would suggest a good year for Cabernet.

dArenberg Coppermine Road

dArenberg Coppermine Road

The d’Arenberg 2010 Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon was an interesting beast.  Slowly developing and unfurling in the glass.  At first the herbaceous characters were hidden, but over time became more prevalent. Pretty violet florals initially leaping about. Earthy roast meats counterpoint to the ripe dark berry characters.

On the palate it’s smooth and pleasure, without being slick.  A lithe little number with fresh dark berries, warm spices and dark chocolate.  Ripe but not over-ripe fruit, perfectly balanced and poised.  Warmed black olive adds a savoury edge. Herbacous tomato leaf flavours sits well in the persistent finish.  Well rounded body, with fine chalky tannins not dominating.  Interest and balance keep me coming back for another glass.

Food match: Slow roasted lamb with cauliflower puree.

RRP $65
Alc 14.2%
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

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The Vale Cru Keeping It Real with their Annual Tasting

Wine lovers are invited to sample more than 50 premium wines from 15 different producers at The Victory Hotel in Sellicks Beach on Sunday, October 19 2014.

The wines, including many ‘alternative’ varieties, are all made by members of Vale Cru – a collective of McLaren Vale winemakers who produce limited quantities of handcrafted wines, many made with minimal intervention and focussed on varietal integrity.Vale Cru Annual Tasting

The event will also feature live music from Courtney Robb, guest speakers, cocktail food and will be attended by special guest James Halliday.

Current Vale Cru chairman Andrew Wood, who is also winemaker and owner of Waywood Wines, said the annual event has become a tradition among the group’s loyal following but it’s also a unique opportunity to introduce new brands to consumers.

Among the producers participating will be;

  • Samuel’s Gorge
  • Ulithorne
  • Ministry of Clouds
  • Bekkers
  • Vigna Bottin
  • Rusty Mutt
  • Brash Higgins
  • Waywood Wines
  • Lazy Ballerina

Pre-purchased tickets $40, includes entry, souvenir wineglass and poster, cocktail food and entertainment (tickets $50 on the day). VIP day trip packages also available – see Vale Cru for details. Be quick as it usually sells out fast.

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d’Arenberg 2010 Ironstone Pressings: Tasting Note

Within the Icons series of d’Arenberg wines ‘The Ironstone Pressings’ has some sparkly new attire, along with its siblings Dead Arm Shiraz and Coppermine Road.

d'Arenberg Icons

d’Arenberg Icons

d’Aarenberg’s 2010 ‘The Ironstone Pressings’ is a blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Shiraz and 5% Mourvedre.  2010 was a very good vintage, with abundant winter rains and a mild summer.  With such a decent proportion of Grenache in this blend and a vintage conditions, I was expecting abundance soft and supple red fruit, and that’s what I got.

d'Arenberg 2010 Ironstone Pressings

d’Arenberg Ironstone Pressings

On the nose initially there was plenty of sweet raspberry, red fruit, soft sweet spices, with great intensity. Over time the hints of warm earth, dry meats/prosciutto evolved.

On the palate of the ‘Ironstone Pressings’ the red fruit theme continued in a more restrained style. Wild strawberries, raspberry, and some ripe cherries. Milk chocolate, and savoury spice, supported by unobtrusive oak.  Hints of fresh Mediterranean herbs. Plenty of fresh and fleshy acid, with soft and supple tannins.  All round very balanced and complex, with everything in the right place for a GSM.

As a new release I thought the ‘Ironstone Pressings’ benefited from decanting and more air contact to develop the more savoury characters – but that’s purely personal preference.

RRP $65
Alc 13.9%
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

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Attica tops Gourmet Traveller Awards

Ben Shewry’s Melbourne eatery, Attica, has been named the number-one restaurant in Australia by Gourmet Traveller magazine at an awards ceremony held at the Sydney Opera House last night.

Attica in Melbourne

Attica in Melbourne

The magazine’s editors singled the restaurant out for its surprising and highly personal take on fine dining, incorporating both indigenous ingredients (red kangaroo with bunya nuts, say, or whiting and pearl meat cooked in paperbark) and touches of whimsy, whether in the naming of some of the dishes, or leading guests into the garden, mid-meal, to stop by the ice-cream stand for a cone.

Other winners include Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall in Brisbane for Bar of the Year, and Magill Estate’s husband and wife team Scott Huggins and Emma McCaskill awarded Best New Talent.

Wine List of the Year went to Perth’s The Print Hall, Nick Hildebrandt of Bentley Restaurant and Bar was named Sommelier of the Year, Christian McCabe from The Town Mouse won Maître D’ of the Year and the peer-voted Chef of the Year award went to Martin Benn of Sepia. Victorian restaurant, Brae, took out two awards – New Restaurant of the Year and Regional Restaurant of the Year.

The full list of winners can be found in the September issue of Gourmet Traveller.

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d’Arenberg Accused of Being Well Dressed

I’m sure d’Arenberg’s Chief Winemaker, Chester Osborn, has never been accused of being stylish or well-dressed – especially with those shirts.  But their icon wine Dead Arm Shiraz recently had an update, the first time since the wine made its debut in 1993.

d'Arenberg Icon Wines

d’Arenberg Icon Wines (image supplied)

The labels of their icon series (including Ironstone Pressings and Coppermine Road) are indeed very stylish and well dressed.  They all still retain the distinctive red sash across the front.  d’Arenberg’s Icons wines are the product of a complex array of elements, very old and low yielding vines, age old winemaking techniques and rigorous barrel selection.

“Our Icons are powerful, complex and concentrated, yet perfectly balanced. The 2010 vintage was an ideal growing season that produced grapes displaying beautiful fruit characters at lower sugar levels. The resultant wines are strongly varietal and free of oily fatness,” Chester said. “We’re excited about this vintage release, and thrilled that these wines now proudly display labels that are representative of the wine these bottles contain, elegant, sophisticated and premium.”

Have you had any of the new releases? What were your thoughts?

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