This month's tasting was an overview of one of Australia's most respected wineries, with six wines from d'Arenberg.
Two whites were represented, and the remainder Shiraz-based reds.
Joyce brought a surprise red, which turned out to be the great 2002 Dead Arm Shiraz, which was blindly poured next to the 1998 Dead Arm. It was an excellent comparison of an aged Shiraz, compared to a younger version, both from the same vineyard and both from excellent vintages.
As these were all very good to outstanding wines, no points were awarded this time.
d'Arenberg The Stump Jump White 2006 (McLaren Vale). A blend of 63% Riesling, 16% Sauvignon Blanc, 13% Roussane, and 8% Marsanne, this exhibits complex aromatics for the price, with rubber glove, butterscotch, petroleum, citron, chalk, dried apricot, and kumquat. Ali was reminded of "cut lemon, put into disposal, and didn't dispose all the way". Round in the mouth, showing ripe grapefruit and red delicious apple flavors. Andy described a "burst of orange juice", while Natalie thought it was "quaffable". Petroleum on the finish. About $11.
d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab 2007 (Adelaide). Composed of 58% Viognier and 42% Marsanne, with brine, river stone, melon, old sponge, sweater, barnyard, and rubber boot scents. Super-juicy on the palate, featuring oranges, peaches, and cherry blossom flavors. Oily in texture. Clearly superior to the The Stump Jump, but some questioned if the price merited the difference. About $18.
d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2001 (McLaren Vale). Cassia, mace, cherries, coffee, blackberries, and milk chocolate aromas. Ali noted that it "smells like it will be velvety smooth", and Andy detected "a little Elmer's glue". Peppery, with black licorice, brown sugar, bacon, cream, and molasses flavors. Starts out slow, but builds on the palate. David felt this was a few years past its prime. About $18.
d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie 2005 (McLaren Vale). A Cote Roti styled blend of 94% Shiraz and 6% Viognier, this was a little more feminine, showing black olives, brine, coffee, leather belt, paint, and violets. Joyce was reminded of "old socks", and Natalie found "water in a flower vase". Not as rich as the other reds, but effusive in flavor, with pepper, black coffee, and red bell pepper flavors. Good acidity and tannin. About $25.
d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2002 (McLaren Vale). Unfiltered, with lots of sediment. Complex aromas, showing cedar, black fruit, plum, prune, coffee, leather, and cigar. Andy wanted to "read a book in the den with this". Super-rich in the mouth, with plenty of black fruit, tobacco, and coffee flavors. Joyce thought it was "the bomb", and Kristin was reminded of "lint screen in the dryer". A real mouthful of wine, tasters felt this was one to have on its own. Originally $74, but purchased on sale for only $50. Probably worth more on the auction market.
d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 1998 (McLaren Vale). Unfiltered. Jumps from the glass, with licorice, pepper, eucalyptus, canned beets, steel, smoldering wood, pine, sausage, and cedar aromas. Natalie felt that it was "medicinal, but in a good way". More subtle than the 2002, and more velvety in the mouth, with cola, herb, and dark fruit flavors. Mature and balanced. Joyce said that it "wants something bloody" with it, with Ali felt it was "the epitome of fine wine". Andy said it was the "perfect example of what aging should do". Originally about $65, but probably worth a little more on the auction market.