I have a soft spot for the McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg “Original” red range. My first aged magnum I ever purchased was a mid 90s “d’Arry’s Original” Shiraz Grenache and it took pride of place amongst the fledging cellar. The sheer size and opulent cardboard box seemed to dominate more expensive purchases that were simply wrappped in tissue paper.
The 2012 vintage was a great one for Australian reds. These releases is as good as ever. Always reliable. Rock solid.
Like a favourite pair of old trackies.
The Footbolt, Shiraz, 2012
“The founder of d’Arenberg, Joseph Osborn was a successful racehorse owner and Footbolt was the pride of his stable. In 1912 he made the hard decision to sell his stable of horses to start d’Arenberg, so it is only fitting we pay homage to Joseph and his prize horse, Footbolt.”
12-18 months in old and new French and American oak. Fresh blue and blood plums, softly meaty, a touch of ironstone, smoke, spice, protein/jism and comforting coffee. Lovely McLaren Vale dark fruit and chocolate without being jubey. Plenty of fine tannin. Finishes with dark edged inky d’Arenberg quality Excellent value.
The Custodian, Grenache, 2012
“During the vine pull scheme of the early 1980’s d’Arry Osborn refused to touch his old Grenache vineyards. When his son Chester started in the business as Chief Winemaker in 1984 he set about acquiring more old vine Grenache grapes and vineyards at a time when it was considered un-fashionable. Today d’Arenberg is the keeper of nearly one third of McLaren Vale’s old bush vine Grenache and has earned the title of ‘Custodian’ of the variety.”
9 months in old and new French and American oak. Jubes/pastilles. Ox-Heart tomato stalk (just happened to have one in the fruit bowl for comparison). Sweetish oak on top of good McLaren Vale “Throatie” herbaceous note peaked out with a smear of lanolin. Medium bodied and more about structure than flavour for the moment. Tight and tart with chalky tannins…It’s a Mosman/Toorak/Sandy Bay Yoga Mum reverse parking a 4WD.
d’Arry’s Original, Shiraz/Grenache, 2012
“This wine is named in honour of d’Arenberg principal, Francis d’Arenberg Osborn, who is universally known as d’Arry. A lifetime in wine has seen d’Arry recognised as a Winemakers Federation of Australia Patron and a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to the wine industry.”
Leather couches, mahogany, choc/beetroot cake and mint leaf lollies. Lovely balance between the two wines. Light and shade. Medium to full bodied, archetypical earthy McLaren Vale combination. Just the right amount of sandy tannins. A touch rustic but perfect for warming up cool Autumn meals.
The High Trellis, Cabernet, 2012
“This vineyard was planted in the 19th century, and received its nickname as it was the first in the region to be trained above knee height.
Over the past four decades, Cabernet Sauvignon from the High Trellis vineyard has been released under the d’Arenberg label to consistent critical acclaim, and won the coveted Jimmy Watson trophy at the 1969 Melbourne Wine Show”
My favourite memory of this label was the joy of discovering it for the equivalent of AU$30 on the wine list at the JW Marriott in Mumbai whilst I was bivouacked there for 21 days for work in 2010. One of the best value on the list, it fitted all the international cuisines that the exclusive hotel served. I think I drank their entire allocation along with an olympic swimming pool of Kingfisher, purchased from a kiosk just outside the hotel gates for 1/5th of the price than those in the hotel mini bar. Bet they were fresher too.
20 months in American oak and it shows. That raspberry/coconut slice is a touch obtrusive. Blow that off and there’s earthy deep cassis, black fruits, dark olives and surprisingly higher than expected acid. Gritty tannins and a slightly warmer than expected finish. Needs a bit of time. Or a pizza from the woodfired oven in the Lotus Bistro of the JW Marriott
All wines samples courtesy of d’Arenberg