In a small vinous gesture to Australia’s national day, it seemed appropriate to open a good Australian wine from the cellar. In this case, d’Arenberg’s The Dead Arm shiraz from the 2006 vintage was the inaugural choice. Unsurprisingly, for a benchmark McLaren Vale wine it did not disappoint.
The Dead Arm 06’s nose is complex, with expressions of vanilla, coconut, earth, gravel, sweet plums, roasted meat and coffee, and that fine red berry peppery character so typical of the region. Crushed ants came to mind. The vanilla and coconut oak characters are not overdone, and the roasted characters are more evident with time in the glass. The palate is soft and warm, almost surprisingly accessible, with a core of ripe and deep red and blackberry fruit supplemented by licorice and rich old leather characters. The length on the palate is deep and vivid, and its most convincing feature.
Overall, this is plainly a very good vintage of the Dead Arm and I would suggest that it has entered its drinking window.