New 2012 Vintage Release of The Dead Arm Shiraz
Those familiar with d’Arenberg’s internationally acclaimed Shiraz, The Dead Arm, will be overjoyed to taste the new 2012 vintage release. The Dead Arm 2012 was made from one of McLaren Vale's top vintages and boasts 3 gold medals from the 2015 New Zealand International Wine Show, 2015 Mundus Vini International Wine Show and the 2015 McLaren Vale Wine Show.
Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often vines affected are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an ‘arm’ of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.
A wet summer and winter in set the vines up perfectly for the 2012 vintage. Spring and summer were drier than normal, resulting in lower fruit yields. A small heat burst just prior to veraison assured a solid colour change, small berries and pronounced tannins in the grapes. The red wines from this vintage are black, solid and quite structured, the biggest year for some time; not oily but definitely gutsy.
Small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to five tonne headed down 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. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, there is no racking until final blending and no fining or filtration.
The Dead Arm Shiraz 2012 displays classic McLaren Vale aromas of plum, blackberry, liquorice and spice. There is also a strong sense of the old vines and infertile soils from which the grapes are sourced. This is evidenced through a raft of dark, earthy notes, evoking notions of a concentrated duck reduction and thick, black molasses. There is enough savoury oak character to support the generous fruit but it isn’t the dominant feature, rather an intrinsic component of an ever changing bouquet of complex characters that ebb and flow with time in the glass.
The palate has an incredible depth of flavour and a solid structure built on a framework of firm tannins. The concept of soil transfer into the glass is furthered evidenced through flavours of beetroot and an almost woodiness. The power of the palate is somewhat tempered through its life and vibrancy, meaning we are met with a mouth-watering graphite-like impression rather than a sensation of boney dryness. The result is a wine of great presence and boldness but with a refined, stylish finish that lingers on and on.
$65 a bottle. Available to purchase online here.