2007 d'Arenberg "Laughing Magpie" Shiraz-Viognier

SKU #1045024

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Shiraz-Viognier blends have become quite the ticket in recent years (what to do with all that so-so Viognier) but one of the first and still one of the best is the Laughing Magpie. The opaque purple-colored 2007 The Laughing Magpie Shiraz (90%)-Viognier (10%) offers up an expressive bouquet of smoke, mineral, violets, and wild blueberry. Medium-to full-bodied on the palate, it has tons of ripe blue fruits, spice notes, and enough structure to evolve for 2-3 years. This lengthy, pleasure-bent effort will be at its best from 2010 to 2020." (02/09) 91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Sep/Oct 08: "(shiraz with 5% viognier) Deep, bright-rimmed ruby. Exotically perfumed, sexy bouquet of blackberry and mulberry, along with fresh flowers and incense. Pliant dark berry flavors coat the palate, picking up a suave candied floral quality with air. Leaves a trail of Asian spices behind on the long, juicy finish. Already complex enough to drink."

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Price: $19.99
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Staff Image By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/25/2009 | Send Email
Yesterday we had the pleasure of tasting a line-up of Aussie wines with the legendary Jimmy C (Aus/NZ/South Africa wine buyer Jim Chanteloup). Upon tasting the Laughing Magpie, I remarked to Jim that the wine always seems to be a bit brighter, higher in acidity, and more tightly-structured than many other Shiraz blends. He went on to explain the history of the family, how their house style has always favored structure and acidity to ripeness and flash. In fact, Jim said that he has tasted D'arenberg wines back to the 70s, and they all showed surprisingly well. This is always one of our very best Aussie red wines under $20.

Staff Image By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/24/2009 | Send Email
It is not often that I write up a wine of this size, but as Jimmy C. pointed out this afternoon, "this is a big guy who can dance!" He also mentioned that the percentage of Viognier might be even higher than what Mr. Tanzer reports in the note above, and the dark color (apparently Viognier and Shiraz have an enzyme reaction when co-fermented that brings out more color from the Shiraz) and the perfumed nose would support that. This is a dark colored, generously aromatic wine with a very rich mid-palate. It is exactly what I hope for when tasting Australian Shiraz- power yes, but also balance.

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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.