2009 d'Arenberg "Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia

SKU #1138097 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 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+. (LPB)  (2/2012)

94 points James Halliday

 Deep, inky purple-crimson; in archetypal Dead Arm style, powerful and rich, but given some welcome lift by the mix of bitter chocolate and savoury/spicy notes on the palate. This is a style that will not change any time soon, and, within that context, is a good example.  (7/2012)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Opaque ruby. A complex, floral-accented bouquet displays cherry-cola, cassis, bacon fat, licorice and candied violet. Initially firm and linear but quickly unfolds to offer sweet dark berry and bitter cherry flavors and an overlay of baking spices. Vanilla and cola nuances build with air and carry through a long, gently tannic, focused finish. Very rich but I get no impression of excess weight here. (JR)  (7/2011)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 Named for the eutypa fungus that kills off one side of a bush vine, leaving the fruit on the other side that much more concentrated, The Dead Arm is d’Arenberg’s top selection from their old-vine Shiraz. The 2009 is dense but not jammy, the rich black cherry juiciness lifted by tannins that fall somewhere between silk and satin. There’s a generosity to the wine that’s tied as much to its earthiness as to its fruit. Appealing now with lamb, this will gain from several years in the cellar.  (10/2012)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* 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. (JC)  (9/2013)

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Staff Image By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/2/2014 | Send Email
Full bodied shiraz with great depth of fruit and spice. Blackberry, mint tea and black fig compote. Always a classic and worthy of the cellar.

Staff Image By: Mike Barber | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/10/2013 | Send Email
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The dead arm is the combination of all select old vine lots of arenberg's estate- one of the best shiraz made. This release from 2009 is a bit more rich than what I am expecting from their 2010 release- but that just means you can get into all the layers of fruit and spice ealier rather than later. And this wine will still last in your cellar for many years to come! Still one of Australia's best.
Drink from 2013 to 2025

Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/28/2013 | Send Email
Complex aromas of dark rose petals, red fruits, garrigue and iron. On the palate the wine is concentrated but not at all over-ripe. The tannins are firm but with more round edges than some previous incarnations of this prolific wine. Great weight and length on the palate with flavors echoing the descriptors for the aromatics. Very interesting wine that is rich enough to please fans of bigger Shiraz from Barossa but with the tell tale brightness of McLaren Vale and the distinctive savory notes and structure of Chester's wines.
Drink from 2013 to 2020

Staff Image By: Jim Chanteloup | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/27/2013 | Send Email
As with most wines in the d’Arenberg portfolio, there is the tell tale cloak of tannins even in the tiers below their icon wines. That said, the 2009 Dead Arm is one of the more accessible versions of this wine that I’ve had in the last decade.The bouquet is lifted with copious amounts of blackberry, boysenberry, dark plum, blueberry, espresso, iron, smoked meats, and a graphite note. There is the aforementioned robe of velvety fine tannins that frame the ripe sinewy core of ripe fruit that is superbly balanced with good acidity and a long persistent finish. If you’ve had this wine in the past or are a collector, you don’t want to miss this as I think it stands as one of their best of the last 10 years and will still reward and last decades in the cellar. Bravo Chester…”hello gorgeous!”

Additional Information:



- 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