I have finally got these written up to publish:
A little late but better than never, I say….
2011 seems to have been a rich and worthy vintage in the McLaren Vale. Some of these wines seemed much riper than their red fruited, more medium bodied 2010 counterparts. Plus there were a few new ones…
d’Arenberg 2011 The Fruit Bat Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.6%
From the Beautiful View sub region, atop limestone soils with a sandstone cap. The wine opens on black plum fruit with cranberry tartness tempered by orange peel that has a chocolate earth length. A warm generous, spicy, savoury number that is finely textured with McLaren Vales soft tannins that, in this case, just have a slight grippiness to finish.
d’Arenberg 2011 Little Venice Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.2%
Little Venice is the neighbouring vineyard to Fruit Bat and was planted at the same time. With a western aspect, there is a difference in soil here. Little Venice is planted on red earth and limestone rather than sand. Little Venice is pretty with violet floral accents to the smoky earth and blackberry chocolate aromas. Very silky squeaky tannins coat the mouth and plump out the long berry fruit length.
d’Arenberg 2011 The Sardanapalian Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.2%
A more minerally wine from sand on sandstone and clay. There is plenty of interest to be found here in the plum, chocolate coated blueberry and charcuterie depths. Muscular tannins with grip texturise the bold fruit and even out the leaner, more angular acid.
d’Arenberg 2011 The Garden of Extraordinay Delights Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.8 %
From forty year old vines, this vineyard was the last one picked in 2011. A mouthful of black plum and berries have a sprinkle of thyme and sarsaparilla on the nose becoming more blackberry pie on the palate. Those flavours last in the mouth being extended by powdery fine tannins and a whip of fresh acid to complete.
d’Arenberg 2011 The Viciferous Dipsomaniac Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.9 %
From older forty year old vines on greyloam on sandstone soils the Viciferous Dipsomaniac is a vibrant wine. The purple hue from this wine leaps from the glass. And with it, the boisterous eloquence continues with olive tapenade, charcuterie, pepper, chocolate and clove spice adding complexity to the black fruit. Bolder in body, and in style.
d’Arenberg 2011 Swinging Malaysian Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.6%
The name was inspired by this vineyard’s swinging history. Planted in the 1970’s as shiraz, then grafted to riesling and then back to shiraz with the first posts being Malaysian. One of the more textured of the single vineyard line up. Its peppery, green olive and lavender leaves add their candor to red and black plums. While soft and long, the flavours are supported with a fresh line of acid from front to back and the tannins have a grittier nature that need to soften somewhat.
d’Arenberg 2011 Shipsters Rapture Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.1%
Another of the wines from the Beautiful View subregion this time from a cool, steep South facing slope. A dark and broody chocolate charactered wine capturing the fragrance of violets and ripe blackberries. The Shipsters Rapture has a more traditional bent and has a bold flourish finishing on a detailed chocolate mineral note.
d’Arenberg 2011 The Eight Iron Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.5%
This is an eight acre south facing vineyard right next door to the Shipsters Rapture vineyard. Rumour has it, a golfing fanatic can hit a ball from corner to corner with an eight iron. Plum and mulberry fruit are enriched with pepper, dried herbs and chocolate earth. An elegant body, smooth and fine tannins combine to a vibrant finish with a lift on the back palate.
d’Arenberg 2011 The Piceous Lodestar Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.5%
This wine is like a taste of the South of France with wild thyme, lavender and cured meats wrapped around the core of plum fruit. Elegant and fine with an angular lift to the acid that adds to the adventure rather than disturbs the flow of flavour. The garrigue bouquet is complemented by attractive citrus peel on the finish.
d’Arenberg 2011 Tyche’s Mustard Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.8%
This is from a block near the sea where 5 of the original 80 acres were sold off to full pay for the vineyard. The 75 acres have been planted with shiraz. The initial citrus peel oak evolves into richly spiced, liquorice, black plum and smoky graphite. It is fuller in body and has more lively acid on the front of the palate that continues and gives better line and length. The fruit is plump and fleshy and ripe.
d’Arenberg 2011 The Other Side Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.5%
In 1918 this vineyard was planted to the other side of the winery, at the top end of the water course on black soil on lime. It is more ruby hued in the glass. It is a peppery wine with abundant plum and black berries with more than a handful of green herbs and spice. A visit to the Other Side brings a roundness to the mouth with fine powdery tannins and a peppery climax.
d’Arenberg 2011 The Blind Tiger Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.6%
1926 was prohibition in the USA and a Blind Tiger was a speakeasy. Selected from 89 year old vines in the Blewitt Springs sub-region where the grapes ripen a little earlier on deep deep sand. Chester Osborn has delivered a basketful of densely packed pure black and red fruit, fragrant violets, milk chocolate and cinnamon. A crowd pleaser full bodied, fleshy style showing bold finesse from old vines.
d’Arenberg 2011 The Amaranthine Single Vineyard Shiraz ($99) 14.4%
This is Chester’s favourite for the year. Amaranthine means everlasting and this vineyard featured prominently in the class Dead Arm. This vineyard produces rich, more angular wines with a fine grain to the tannins and a soothing brooding quality to the length. Generosity and complexity are at the heart of this wine with boot polish notes becoming more minerally and the black plums are spiced with cloves. Enjoy it now or let lie in the cellar until the end of this decade to let those prominent tannins soften.