2008 d'Arenberg "Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia

SKU #1110177 96 points James Halliday

 Deep colour; vivid hue; fresh black fruits, licorice, toasty oak and sappy complexity are all evident on the bouquet; the palate is dark and chewy, but falls short of being ponderous, as the wine progresses at an even and stately pace across the palate; excellent execution indeed.

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Glass-staining purple. Dark berries, licorice, Indian spices, violet and cocoa powder on the highly complex nose. Concentrated and tactile, with superb depth and noteworthy definition to the black cherry and dark berry preserve flavors. Wonderfully broad but lively on the long, sappy, penetrating finish. The tannins are chewy but in no way dry or hard. The wine's excellent fruit will allow for early drinking.  (8/2010)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2008 The Dead Arm Shiraz has a reduced rubber character to begin then pronounced aromas of warm blackberries, licorice, earth, thyme, moss and a whiff of game. Crisp, full and very concentrated in the mouth, it has firm, very fine tannins and a long earthy finish. Give it another year or two in bottle and drink it 2013 to 2020. (LPB)  (12/2010)

90 points Wine Spectator

 This fresh, open-textured Shiraz is generous with its currant and plum fruit, mingling harmoniously with spicy notes on the slightly chalky finish. Drink now through 2016. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 2,500 cases imported.  (6/2012)

K&L Notes

Dead Arm? What kind of name is that you might ask. D'Arenberg has a stable of funny names worthy of a good Aussie sense of humor, but 'dead arm' is actually descriptive of the vines from which the grapes for this wine come. A known problem in vines can cause one arm of a vine to die off, which would normally be a bad thing (half the fruit), but the other side of the vine can then produce an incredibly intense crop of fruit. This is the case for the vines producing Dead Arm. The deep, dark and powerful fruit in this wine is immediately evident and the result of using these low producing vines. The wine is pretty spectacular and has been an incredibly popular wine for many vintages here at K&L.

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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.


- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.

South Australia

Specific Appellation:

McLaren Vale