A lot has been written of the 2011 vintage in south eastern Australia. There was even a cheeky question on a WSET exam a few years ago inviting a description of the vintage, luring those of a generalising bent to a pat discussion of Australia’s mostly warm viticultural climate where a description of the rain, rot and ruin of 2011 was in order. While it would be equally a mistake to humour a further generalisation that there’s consequently little joy to be found in the vintage, in my experience the exceptions are more here and there, than everywhere. Happily, this group of wines from d’Arenberg joins the exceptions list. The good producers always seem to find a way. The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 release in particular seems to transcend the vintage, providing a near exceptional wine.
d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2011
The 2011 vintage of this benchmark McLaren Vale shiraz has aromatics of fruit cake, brine and plums. It builds complexity and length in the glass, with an elegance, subtlety and harmony that is appealing. Ready to drink now, and reminding almost of a Bordeaux style wine, this is a lovely and approachable Dead Arm vintage that is very enjoyable in the glass.
Rating: Good to Very Good, Abv: 14.3%, Price: $65, Tasted: 2015
d’Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Somehow, the cool and wet vintage in 2011 offsets the otherwise slightly too warm for cabernet climate of McLaren Vale, so that this d’Arenberg cabernet sauvignon soars above its peers. A vintage defying deep colour in the glass, the 2011 Coppermine Road has aromatics of blackcurrant and clove in a Médoc like guise. The palate is full and fulfilling, with cabernet sauvignon typicity and flavours that remind of clove, blackcurrrant and chocolate and quite long length on the finish. This is an excellent wine, and may well be the best 2011 release I have tasted.
Rating: Very Good to Outstanding, Abv: 14.3%, Price: $65, Tasted: 2015
d’Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2011
The 2011 vintage is a blend of 70% grenache, 25% shiraz and 5% mourvedre. d’Arenberg’s old vine grenache vineyards seem to endow this wine with an earthiness and intensity not shared by many other grenache based wines. Its aromatics remind of blackberry and earth. The palate has medium length, a moreish texture and is serious in intent, with flavours of blackberry predominant. Another very good wine.
Rating: Good to Very Good, Abv: 14.1%, Price: $65, Tasted: 2015
Source: sample, Vendors and website: http://www.darenberg.com.au/