Wine Advocate 95 points - Very deep garnet-purple colored, the 2009 The Dead Arm Shiraz presents an intense and complex nose of blackberry preserves and dried mulberries over coffee, black olives, smoky bacon and humus. The palate is richly fruited and nicely balanced with layers of savory and dark berry flavors and crisp acid textured by medium-firm finely grained tannins. It finishes long with hints of menthol and marmite toast coming through. It should be drinking best 2013 to 2024+.”,,, (Feb 2012)
Wine Enthusiast 92 points - As always, d’Arenberg’s top Shiraz isn’t all cuddles and charm. It’s rather firm in texture, with rugged tannins that impart a dusty edge to the lengthy finish. But this vintage the fruit comes through clearer than it has sometimes in the past, bringing bright berry notes that marry well with hints of campfire smoke and grilled meat. Try a bottle after 2016. - Cellar Selection (Sep 2013)
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Wine maker notes
Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often vines affected are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an ‘arm’ of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.
d’Arenberg is one of the most significant wineries in McLaren Vale. In 1912 Joseph Osborn (pictured left), a teetotaller and director of Thomas Hardy and Sons, purchased the well established Milton Vineyards of 25 hectares in the hills just north of the townships of Gloucester and Bellevue, now known as McLaren Vale.
Joseph’s son Francis Ernest (‘Frank’) Osborn left medical school, choosing to forsake the scalpel for pruning shears. He soon increased the size of the vineyard to 78 hectares. Fruit was sold to local wineries until the construction of his own cellars was completed in 1928. Dry red table and fortified wines were produced in ever increasing quantities to supply the expanding markets of Europe.
In 1943 Frank’s son Francis d’Arenberg Osborn, universally known as “d’Arry”, returned from school, age 16, to help his ill father run the business, eventually assuming full management in 1957. In 1959 d’Arry decided to launch his own label d’Arenberg, named in honour of his mother, Frances Helena d’Arenberg.
It was a small and humble start but the wines gained immediate cult status amongst imbibers and judges. The 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon won the Jimmy Watson Trophy at the 1969 Royal Melbourne Wine Show and the 1967 Red Burgundy (Grenache based) was awarded 7 trophies and 29 gold medals in Australian capital city wine shows. By the 1970’s d’Arenberg wines had become very fashionable, having gained a significant national and international profile in less than 20 years.
Enter the fourth generation, d’Arry’s son Chester d’Arenberg Osborn. From a very early age Chester was focused on continuing his family’s winemaking tradition. While growing up on the family property he helped his father d’Arry in both the vineyards and the cellar floor during school semester breaks and Christmas holidays.
After graduating from Roseworthy College and touring other Australian and European wine regions, Chester took over the reins as Chief Winemaker in 1984. He immediately set about returning the family’s vineyards to their traditional grape growing practices of minimal inputs and no fertilisation, cultivation and irrigation wherever possible, therefore achieving natural soil flavours with very low yields.
The winemaking processes of the past have been maintained, capturing the unique small-batch character of the wines and the true flavour of the McLaren Vale region. All grapes, red and white, are basket-pressed. The reds are still traditionally fermented with the grape skins (caps) submerged in open wax-lined concrete fermenters utilising the age-old technique of foot-treading.
In June 2004 Chester’s father, d’Arry was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his contributions to the wine industry and to the McLaren Vale region. After more than 65 consecutive vintages d’Arry is very proud of his achievements in creating an internationally recognised wine brand commonly known as the ‘Red Stripe’ due to the distinctive diagonal red stripe that adorns the label.
d’Arenberg’s art of being different extends to a range of fortified and dessert wines, which have legendary status worldwide, as well as operating d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant, one of South Australia’s most loved and highly awarded restaurant, set on a picturesque hilltop with our Cellar Door tasting room adjoining.