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