2012 d'Arenberg "Custodian" Grenache McLaren Vale South Australia

SKU #1252235 94 points James Halliday

 Ah, how much is this wine worth when d'Arenberg has two '12 Single Vineyard grenaches at $103 each? A more difficult question for those single vineyard wines than this, which is a drop-dead bargain, its purple fruit flavours given shape and persistence by fine-grained, savoury/earthy tannins and 9 months in used oak.  (1/2015)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Pale to medium ruby/purple, the 2012 The Custodian Grenache reveals aromas of crushed black raspberries and black cherries with roses and earth nuances. Medium to full-bodied, the palate ripe, silky and seductive palate finishes with good length. (LPB)  (8/2015)

90 points Vinous

 Vivid ruby. Deeply pitched black raspberry and cherry compote scents are energized by a suggestion of cracked pepper. Fleshy and broad in the mouth, offering ripe red and dark berry flavors and a building element of medicinal bitterness. The gently tannic finish display resonating spiciness and very good persistence. (JR)  (3/2016)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 From Chester Osborn's collection of old-vine grenache, this is a brisk, floral, red-berried wine with a shivering elegance to its structure. It tastes like it grows near the sea. Decant it for most anything off the grill.  (10/2015)

K&L Notes

Winemaker's Notes: "During the vine pull scheme of the early 1980's d'Arry Osborn refused to touch his old Grenache vineyards. When his son Chester started in the business as Chief Winemaker in 1984 he set about acquiring more old vine Grenache grapes and vineyards at a time when it was considered un-fashionable. Today d'Arenberg is the keeper of nearly one third of McLaren Vale's old bush vine Grenache and has earned the title of 'Custodian' of the variety. Small batches of grapes are crushed gently and then transferred to five tonne open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is then basket pressed and transferred to a mixture of new and used French and old American oak barriques to complete fermentation.It can be hard to find a wine that will appeal to casual wine drinkers looking for something fruit driven and light on its feet, but also to more serious wine connoisseurs, who value subtle complexities and an ability to age. The 2012 Custodian offers just that with its pure fruit characters of mulberry, plum and blueberry complimented with a range of more savoury flavours, such as beetroot, cinnamon and nutmeg. The palate, while displaying great depth, is medium bodied and svelte. It is defined by velvety tannins that turn slightly gritty towards the finish, guaranteeing the wine’s longevity."

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Price: $12.99
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Staff Image By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/27/2016 | Send Email
After just tasting this, this will be my go to Cotes du Rhone while it lasts. Dark red fruits, good spice, soft tannins a and round mouthfeel, what more could you ask for? The words Chateau or Domaine on the label? Who cares about that? Save your money, forget about France and stock up on this. Summer is around the corner, fire up the grill and go crazy.

Staff Image By: Shaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/26/2016 | Send Email
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Unquestionably one of the best values in Rhone style wines we've seen in quite a while. Who wouldn't like a modern style old vines Chateauneuf for 13 bucks? Well, we don't have that exactly but this is about as close as I've ever seen. Bold and bright and full of life, grill up some lamb chops and life is good!
Top Value!

Staff Image By: Dave Genevro | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/26/2016 | Send Email
Red berries and some meatiness on the nose. Dark, plump and more than generous fruit fills the palate. The backbone of the soft, melted, almost grainy tannin structure along with some lovely spices...assists in producing a gripping, lively texture at the finish which like the fruit, is very generous. Whole lot of wine for the money! 14.6% ABV.
Top Value!

Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/26/2016 | Send Email
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This is like vieilles vignes Chateauneuf-de-pape for a tenth of the price! Sourced from gnarly old Grenache vines dating back to 100 years old - this has to be one of the greatest values in the store. Where else can you get this old vine richness and intensity for $13?! Rich, decadent, wild, dark fruits, quite liquored with lots of scorched earth, toasted spice and bramble. Full bodied, powerful and exotic. Some nice savory gamey notes too again adding to the CNdP resemblance. Exceptional wine, from a great vintage, for a silly low price.
Top Value! Drink from 2016 to 2020

Additional Information:



- Fat, ripe and rich with ample fruit and vibrant acidity, wines made from Grenache are easy to love. While its origins are still under dispute - some suggest Spain, where it is called Garnacha, while others say it came first from Sardinia, where it is called Cannonau - it is inarguably one of the most planted varietals in the world. A hearty grape, Grenache does well in hot, dry regions and its sturdy stalk also makes it well-suited to withstand blustery conditions like the Provençal Mistral. It ripens at relatively high sugar levels, which translates to higher potential alcohol in the wines it produces. Grenache may be most famous in the Southern Rhône areas such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas where it has long been an important component of delicious blends. But it's also the source of the crisp rosés from Tavel, Lirac and Provence, and age-worthy vins doux naturels like Rivsaltes and Banyuls. Grenache is also found in large swaths of northeastern Spain, in Navarre, in Rioja, where it plays a supporting role in blends with Tempranillo, and in the distinctive wines of Priorat. The grape was once the most widely planted varietal in Australia, though Shiraz and Cabernet have overtaken it. In California, Grenache plantings have dwindled from their heyday in the San Joaquin Valley, but it is starting to see a resurgence, albeit in smaller plantings, where other Rhône varietals thrive.


- 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

Alcohol Content (%): 14.6