Monday, October 13, 2008

Walking Down Memory Lane - d'Arenberg Historical Notes

This is a collection of notes pre-dating the 2GrandCru blog that I never got around to uploading. As far as I can tell, I've changed so much over the past couple of years that some of these notes might no longer reflect my personal taste or even my writing style but it sure was fun reading them over. I've marked with a question mark wines I doubt I could stand to drink these days.
Since I am going over my database alphbetically, this will start with d'Arenberg.

d'Arenberg, Dead Arm Shiraz, 2001


(Dead Arm Vertical) Very deep, dark color. The nose starts a bit jammy and alcoholic, though less alcoholic (and less oaky) than the 2000 that preceded it; spices, mostly black pepper. Develops very nicely, uncovering many layers, including a biscuit-y, cooked vegetable-y thing, which I personally find appealing. Very full-bodied and long, yet balanced and, judging by the 1998 which is said to be a similar vintage, with a potential for elegance. The palate is till very closed. (Nov. 24, 2005)

d'Arenberg, Dead Arm Shiraz, 2002

(Dead Arm Vertical) Dark color. On the nose, ripe fruits, a bit of leather. Not as alcoholic as the 2001, but just as closed. On the palate, very forward fruits, full-bodied, lower acidity than the 2001, a long bitter finish. (Nov. 24, 2005)

d'Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz, 2002 ?

Polished brawn. Less elegant than the 2000 (which is said to be the better vintage overall), muscular but lacking structure. Cherries, candy, smoky wood, spices, cocoa. Low acidity and high alcohol, full bodied with integrating tannins. Near sweet, alcoholic finish. One dimensional and disappointing. (Jan. 1, 2006)

d'Arenberg, Custodian Grenache, 2001 ?

Alcoholic nose. Ripe, candied fruits with spices and hints of roasted meats. Full bodied, almost sweet, but it withdraw within itself a little after a while. I’m moving away from this style but it’s well made. (August 28, 2006)

d'Arenberg, Laughing Magpie, 2001

A nice nose of sweet fruit, pepper, some leather at first,
then grilled meat. Elegant with dry, crisp tannins and the high alcohol % seems carried well, with its sweetness balanced by a lemon drop sensation on the finish from the Viognier, presumably. Very well made, long and deep, a hybrid of old and new world that is drinking well now and should drink well for 5+ years more. (Sep. 19, 2006)

Hmmm, the next bottle I had of this wine rather put me off but I really think it was just bottle variation so I'm not marking this wine, just for the benefit of the doubt.

d'Arenberg, Coppermine Road, 1999

Still a youthful wine, showing very Cabernet aromas and flavors of elegant currants as well as herbs, characoal and a hint of mushrooms. Very polished and focused and to its detriment, very straightforward, offering complexity and depth without any mystery. A balanced New World Cab that won’t offend Old World fans that is at the start of its plateau peak. (Sep. 30, 2006)

d'Arenberg, Galvo Garage, 2002

A great surprise. Initially very reticient on the nose, it bursts and complexifies with red berries and cherries and minerals. The palate is very savoury to start with but is initially somewhat soft; however, the tannins firm up over time and the fruit grows purer. After drinking 5 ass-licking Aussie Shirazes this week, it’s soooo nice to drink a wine that doesn’t put out quite that much. I’d buy again. (Feb. 1, 2007)

d'Arenberg, Ironstone Pressings, 1999 ?

Hmmmm... very aggressive. Solicited the same reaction from everyone ’round the table: “did we really like this style once?” Fair enough, it’s a well made wine that’s sure to please newbies but the aggressive attack is not backed up by any sophistication and although it might prove to be hiding some pleasure in the future, right now all I can say it’s no longer my cup of tea. (Feb. 10, 2007)

This was one of the first wines I did not score. I guess in this case, the tasting note spoke for itself.

d'Arenberg, Laughing Magpie, 2002 ?

Black fruit over charry oak, at first, but then the fruit turns a bit candied before the telltale black pepper kicks in to even the score. Potent with little trace of the Viognier, except for some candied fruit at the end. Bigger and less elegant than the 2001 as well, with the alcohol in the fore, exaggerating the sweetness and tiring the palate. Overall, I prefer the 2001. (Sep. 1, 2007)

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