2004 d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia

SKU #1025854 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The renowned 2004 Shiraz The Dead Arm, fashioned from ancient head-pruned vines, is stunning. An inky/purple color is accompanied by a glorious perfume of creosote/melted road tar, blackberry and cassis liqueur, pepper, and spice. This deep, rich, full-bodied, tannic Shiraz should be drinkable in 2-3 years, and will last for two decades or more. It is the finest Dead Arm since the 2001. (95+, RP)  (10/ 2006)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated violet. Pungent tobacco- and espresso-laced cherry, cassis and blackberry aromas, with a hint of mocha. Beautiful dark berry, vanilla and Indian spice flavors expand and gain sweetness with air. The lushly tannic finish positively explodes with sweet raspberry and mulberry flavors, with dark chocolate and exotic blood orange notes adding a vibrant quality. An impressive return to form for d'Arenberg's flagship red.  (8/ 2006)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 The intensity of fruit from ancient vines comes through in this dense, tarry wine, one of the top selections from d'Arenberg. The '04 feels huge, filled with warm, bitter chocolate tannin and raspberry essence. If you like massive reds, drink this now with a steak; it will mellow into something more approachable as it ages, probably best eight to ten years from the vintage.  (2/ 2007)

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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Price: $64.99

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- 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.
Country:

Australia

- 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 Region are in the southeastern area of the continent, with the Barossa Valley, Claire Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia, the Yarra Yarra Velley 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, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from the land Down Under. 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. Click for a list of bestselling items from Australia.
Sub-Region:

South Australia

Specific Appellation:

McLaren Vale