d’Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier McLaren Vale 2015

This is a very typical expression of shiraz from McLaren Vale. The 2015 vintage of d’Arenberg’s “The Laughing Magpie” has aromatics of plums and spice. The palate has good density of fruit, fresh acidity and is brooding in bearing. This wine can be approached now, but will be best with aeration and short term (2-3 years) cellaring. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.5%. Website: https://www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The Galvo Garage McLaren Vale Adelaide Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot Merlot 2014

A slight mouthful of name, places and grape varieties, this wine is deep in colour with an inky nose reminding of tar and liquorice. The palate is expressive of dark plums, tannins and leaf and has a bitter finish. This wine is approachable now with decanting, but will benefit from a further 2-3 years cellaring. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $29. Website: darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The Olive Grove McLaren Vale Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2018

Modestly priced at $16, this is a sound chardonnay from McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. In the glass, it has restrained aromas of peach and nectarine. The palate is medium-full bodied and in a crisp, fresh style. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $16. Website: darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

The Cenosilicaphobic Cat McLaren Vale Sagrantino Cinsault 2012

This is an interesting blend of McLaren Vale sagrantino and cinsault from d’Arenberg. Restrained in bearing, it opens to aromas of earth, red fruits and iodine. The palate has firm, dry tannins, bitter undertones and an Italian sensibility. Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $29. Website: darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache McLaren Vale 2016

This is another well made shiraz grenache from d’Arenberg and very good value at $20. It has aromas of spice and red fruits. The palate is full bodied, soft and plush. Ready to drink now, this wine can be consumed over the next 5 years. Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $20. Website: darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The Custodian McLaren Vale Grenache 2016

This is a very good example of McLaren Vale grenache and a steal at $20. The 2016 vintage has aromas of earth, redcurrant and spice. The palate has firm and structured tannins, that surprise with their vigour. Drink now or over the next 6-8 years. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $20. Website: darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache McLaren Vale 2014

This is another excellent grenache from d’Arenberg in McLaren Vale.  Deeply coloured (for grenache), the 2014 vintage has savoury aromas of chocolate, liquorice and cherry.  The palate is full bodied with well integrated ripe fruit and cedar characters, and very good length on the finish.  Ready to drink now, this is a very good example of McLaren Vale grenache and a well priced one too, at sub $30.  Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $29. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The Bonsai Vine Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre McLaren Vale 2016

The 2016 vintage of d’Arenberg’s “The Bonsai” GSM is a blend of 48% grenache, 47% shiraz and 5% mourvèdre.  It is quite reticent in its aroma, with some red berry characters.  The palate is baked and full bodied in impression, with sweet and savoury edges and somewhat prominent acidity.  Ready to drink now, this is sound drinking.  Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $29. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

McLaren Vale visit

I visited McLaren Vale briefly with my fellow MW students in November, with stops at Coriole and Noon.  Some vineyard pictures and brief comments follow.

(Above) Shiraz vines at Coriole, against a backdrop of dry fields.  Some (possible) wind damage on shoot tips on right hand side.

Fruit set on 1919 shiraz vines at Coriole.
Heavy mulching for soil moisture retention on Coriole 1919 shiraz vines.
Gobelet trained mourvèdre vines at Noon, and dry soils.
Gobelet trained graciano vines at Noon competing with grass and a row of eucalyptus trees, and requiring irrigation lines.
Dry grown, gobelet trained grenache at Noon.
Some particularly healthy looking grenache vines at Noon, the outside row showing more vigour.