2015 d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia (Elsewhere $64)

SKU #1394161 96 points James Halliday

 This is a particularly good Dead Arm, its alcohol miraculously the same as the '14, but however that may be, it has an elegance to its mouthfeel and lingering finish.  (8/2018)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Black cherries and black olives mark the nose of the 2015 The Dead Arm Shiraz, d'Arenberg's flagship bottling. It's a blend of older and younger vines from different sites, depending on what the fruit has to offer. Full-bodied, concentrated and firmly structured, it's nevertheless velvety on the long finish, picking up hints of licorice and tarragon. It should be approachable sooner than The Coppermine Road Cabernet, but it still deserves a couple of years in the cellar. (JC)  (9/2018)

94 points James Suckling

 The 2015 Dead Arm is a great and formidable wine. It is packed with deeply concentrated dark-plum and blackberry aromas and flavors. There is a streak of red, spicy, smoky and meaty complexity, as well as a genius fusion of power and elegance. Best from 2022. Screw cap.  (8/2018)

K&L Notes

The name "Dead Arm" comes from the vine being affected by Eutypa. When this happens, one arm of the vine slowly dies and falls off, hence the name "Dead Arm." The one arm of the vine that remains produces fruit of greater concentration and intensity since all the vine's energy can be channeled into the single arm. It is uncommon to see wine made from these vines as many are torn out and replanted. This is a rare and supremely delicious take on Shiraz. (Stefanie Juelsgaard, K&L Australia Buyer) 93+ pts The Wine Front: "Talking of substantial, this 2015 version of The Dead Arm Shiraz certainly is that. It has the might, it has the power, it’s never had the pleasure of nuance but then the style and indeed target market isn’t going to miss it. This is a red wine of brute, brooding power. It’s a horse-hearted wine, blackberry and saltbush, clove and gunnmetal flavours coursing through its veins. It tastes sweet, stewed and exaggerated but it feels neat, balanced and intentional. The back half of the wine is all tight sheets of tannin, studded with saltbush and related iodine. Oak? Cedary, but sunk deep into the wine. It’s as hard a wine to fault as it is to love; it lacks charm but is both immaculate and concentrated." (CM, 06/2018)

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By: Anthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/11/2019 | Send Email
This was my first time drinking the Australian icon and I instantly took to it. To me, its got the full body of a typical domestic red, but the terroir of Old World; you can really taste the hot, dry, climate these special grapes were raised in. The Syrah did no feel over-extracted or "gamey" at all.

By: Chris DePaoli | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/11/2019 | Send Email
D'Arenberg is an incredibly dependable producer and this years Dead Arm is another example of a good value wine in between price points. A touch lighter than in years past, the anise notes really came through along with the plum and blackberry standbys of the McLaren Vale region. This wine has a ton of time on its hands and will age really well if you have the patience. If not be sure to at least afford it some solid time in the decanter and to match it with an equally hearty meal.

By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2019 | Send Email
Well this was everything you'd expect and more from the venerated McLaren Vale house. Dense nose of ultra ripe black and boysenberry, dense cracked pepper, gravel - almost Bordeaux like in its mineral components, pungent violets and fresh herbs. The perfect balance of sweet to savory character. The power of the aromatics is match on the palate, but with plenty of structure to keep it from feeling baked or overly ripe. This is truly a world class wine masquerading as something we think we know.

By: Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2019 | Send Email
Rich and packed with deep flavor, here's another shiraz that shows that Australia is in a league of their own with one of my favorite varietals ever, and the Dead Arm is, to sum up in one word, outstanding. Who knew that fungus infected vines can actually make a really heavy hitting badass wine. Big, meaty, filled with tannin, and definitely something worth sitting on for more than a couple years. I would actually love to see how the 2015 Dead Arm changes over time.

By: Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/4/2019 | Send Email
As intensely flavored as the name would suggest, Dead Arm gives off scents of deep and dark red fruits supported by soft, earthy spices such as cardamom, clove, and rich vanilla. The palate puts forth rich fruit flavors of blackberry, raspberry, pomegranate, and plum. There's great structure here that balances tight tannins and big acidity. The wine rewards a generous decanting before drinking, and this wine could easily cellar for a decade to develop further complexity and unwind the tannins a little.

By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/4/2019 | Send Email
Always one of our top-selling high-end Shiraz's, the 2015 'Dead Arm' from d'Arenberg delivers again in this structured, concentrated showing. Named after the Eutypa fungus that affects some vineyards, the 'Dead Arm' refers to one half of the vine that rots and falls off, while the fruit that lives on the remaining arm grows more concentrated and complex. That effect is very evident in this wine, as it showcases unbelievable power and structure. This is not one of the Shiraz fruit-bombs you may associate with Australia. The effect of the Eutypa is certainly on display in this bottling with intense fruit and powerful tannin structure dominating. McLaren Vale sits right on the ocean and is a slightly cooler site than Barossa, making it an ideal location for leaner, lower alcohol Shiraz. This wine is tread by foot, unfined and unfiltered, which adds to the breadth and strength. D'Arenberg is a highly sought after winery in Australia and after tasting this wine, it's not hard to see why.

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.

South Australia

Specific Appellation:

McLaren Vale