Sometimes when you open the delivery, you know that sampling a new release wine isn’t going to do it justice. I call it “vinfanticide.” That is, consuming a wine too young. Mostly, wineries in Australia can’t stockpile massive amounts of back vintage wines to age a little; to settle in to their stride and only release when they start to hit a drinking window that best represents the wine. Certainly, most reds are released within 1 or 2 vintages. 3 for some. Anything more than that means that there’s usually been a fair bit of consideration and arguing with an accountant. So d’Arenberg wait a few years for these Icons to be released, not 5 like some. Not launched with the fanfare of other “Icon” Australian wines (read: no rockstars, no live breakfast TV crosses, no 50 year vertical tasting with wine royalty) but arguably just as important in the Australian vinous landscape. If you’ve met the Osborns, you know that there’s irreverence, but never irrelevance. For all of Chester’s shirts, loud laughs and infamous birthday parties, these three wines are crafted with a serious frame of mind, for the brave and always with an intent of longevity.
2009 Ironstone Pressings GSM
Grenache 67%, Shiraz 27% and Mourvedre 6%.
Dense purple. Smells of steel, stewing plums and raspberry jubes. A little rubber, iodine, stewed rhubarb and some leafy notes from the Grenache.
Initially bright, ripe and full bodied. Palate overflowing with dark red plummy fruits. A little cordial sweetness & marshmallow slice oak. The back palate filled with savoury spices. Big and juicy. Very Juicy. There’s a lingering flavour in there that reminds me of Arnott’s Cheese & Bacon shapes…don’t ask me why.
There’s peaking acidity to cut into the teeth enamel, surrounded by fine, silky tannins. Finishing with a little heat, it doesn’t hide the alcohol.
2009 Coppermine Road Cabernet
Bruise purple. Slight bubblegum/confection. Pure blackcurrant pastille jubes. Hint of menthol, a little purple prune/plum, leather, good Cabernet pencil and cigar box counterpointed with youthful cedary oak.
Full to the brim with absolute blackberry and cassis… like I’d just bitten a fresh blackberry in half. Black currant pastille jubes with high mint/menthol as per the nose. Crackly mouth coating tannins, ones that make you click and clack your tongue. Hidden medium acidity. There’s evident oak of youth but the first flavours in the mouth are those blackberry/blackcurrant. This is a velvet hammer wine…there’s power behind those tannins. There’s promise, there’s future. In the words of the Beatles, Let It Be.
2009 Dead Arm Shiraz
I was lucky enough last year to attend the tasting of the Amazing Sites project that d’Arenberg took on the road to help celebrate their centenary. Just because they can, they’d bottled each individual vineyard of Shiraz that makes up the final blend of Dead Arm. 12 more diverse Shiraz you’d never find. Each had their own personality and reading back on my notes they range from bright, light super jubey and red to impenetrable, inky, bloody and black. Then every mark on the spectrum in between. When you’ve got such an incredible palette from which to paint the portrait, it’s no wonder that the Dead Arm rightly sits among the ranks of Iconic Australian Wines.
Black purple opaque in the glass. Roasted coconut, dark spice, Throaties medicinal jubes, rosemary, iodine, tar, some steely earthy blood…..on it goes. And goes. Some red fruits & plums too, but they’re hiding….hiding for the moment.
Palate more of the yin/yang savoury/sweet. Prunes and plums and black fruits and earth. Kalamata olive savouriness. Herbs from the rosemary, laurel and cedar from the oak. Bittersweet McLaren Shiraz, that lingers long. Complex, not sure if I like it just yet….Make no mistake, this is a huge wine.
Full bodied with drying tannins, almost undrinkable after two rounds in a decanter/slosh/bottle/decanter/slosh/bottle. A medium amount of acidity right at the end gives a straight and strong backbone. This is Beyonce in Destiny’s Child…Bootylicious. Physically powerful. You’d never call her fat, but there’s big bones, lots of flesh and you know you’re in for a performance.
“I don’t think you ready for this…Cause my body too bootylicious”
All wines alcohol 14.5%
All wines RRP $70
All wines samples courtesy of d’Arenberg