2003 d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia

SKU #1016353 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 One of this estate’s flagship wines, the 2003 The Dead Arm Shiraz appears to be better than the 2002. A deeper, richer, fuller-bodied offering that spent time in equal parts French and American oak, it possesses an opaque purple color, great intensity, and a fabulously sweet nose of blackberries, cassis, asphalt, earth, and oak. Powerful, super-concentrated, and obviously fashioned from low yields and old vines, this is a classic McLaren Vale old vine Shiraz that should age nicely for 15+ years. (RP)  (10/2005)

93 points James Halliday

 Deep colour; typically massively rich and concentrated; black fruits, chocolate, tannins and oak are all fighting each other for top spot. Hopefully, a truce will be declared in 5 or so years.

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 Another top-flight Dead Arm, the 2003 boasts attractive scents of leather, spice, vanilla and boysenberries. The palate is lush and creamy, carrying earthy dark-fruited flavors enlivened by a bright streak of acidity. Turns chewy on the finish, suggesting short-term cellaring is in order. (JC)  (12/2006)

K&L Notes

d'Arenberg's iconic "The Dead Arm" is named for a condition that afflicts very old vines, concentrating the fruit that springs from the vine's remaining arm. Our notes upon the wine's release: Peppery, ripe and coated with vanilla oak, you may be tempted to serve this viscous and rich Shiraz with dessert. We think it deserves star treatment at the table, which means drink it all on its own, for its malty, chocolate mint characteristics, and spicy berry essence. Very silky out of the gate, this one will also improve over the next ten to fifteen years.


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Price: $69.99

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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 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.
Sub-Region:

South Australia

Specific Appellation:

McLaren Vale