D'ARENBERG VINEYARDS McLAREN VALE
D'Arenberg is a winery located in the McLaren Vale in South Australia. The 60-plus wines in the portfolio are known as much for their quirky names as they are for their quality – d'Arenberg's flagship wine is called the Dead Arm, and other cuvées in the range include the Derelict Vineyard, the Love Grass, and the Vociferate Dipsomaniac. D'Arenberg's vineyards in the McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills are biodynamic and organically certified, and are planted to a range of grape varieties like Shiraz, Grenache, Chardonnay, Viognier and Marsanne.
The estate was established in 1912 by Joseph Osborn, who initially sold grapes from the vineyards to other wineries in the region. The d'Arenberg winery was built in 1927, and today, the estate is run by fourth-generation Chester Osborn and his father, d'Arry.
The range of vineyards at d'Arenberg allow for diversity within their portfolio of wines. Those in the McLaren Vale enjoy a warm, dry Mediterranean climate, cooled by the gully winds that come off the Sellicks Hills. These vineyards are planted to grape varieties like Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Marsanne, which thrive in the warm temperatures. In contrast, d'Arenberg's Adelaide Hills vineyard has a much cooler climate with grapes such as Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir flourishing here.
D'Arenberg is well known for the Dead Arm Shiraz from the McLaren Vale, named after the vine disease that randomly affects vineyards, resulting in one half or arm of the vine dying. This intensifies and concentrates the grapes on the other side of the Shiraz vines, making an intensely flavored wine. The Dead Arm is one of d'Arenberg's most highly ranked wines, receiving 98 points from Robert Parker for the 2001 vintage. The estate makes a variety of other wines at a range of price points, from prestige cuvées down to the entry-level Stump Jump range.
Interestingly, d'Arenberg produce a range of fortified wines, including a fortified Shiraz, a Rare Tawny and the pinnacle of this collection, the Daddy Long Legs Extremely Rare. This Extremely Rare is made with Grenache from the McLaren Vale, alongside a tiny portion of Pedro Ximenez. The wine is more than 40 years old and produced in small quantities as part of a limited release. Its palate is full of baked figs, caramel, coffee and butterscotch, with a hint of rancio character.