2024 - 2040
Locked up tight and ungiving on the nose, d'Arenberg's 2017 The Dead Arm Shiraz is nonetheless formidably dense and concentrated on the palate. Notes of charred wood join plums, raspberries and black olives in this full-bodied effort. With its current surly disposition, it appears to require decanting or several years' sleep in a cool cellar. Giving it air helped bring out purple raspberries and softened the considerable tannins, so I'm optimistic about its future evolution.
Impresario owner Chester Osborn loves to make a splash, whether it's his flamboyant sense of fashion or the mammoth sensory overload that is the d'Arenberg Cube, a museum/exhibit space/restaurant/tasting room that opened at the end of 2017. The vast range of wines produced here no doubt offers something for every one of the estimated 1,000 visitors per day who make the trip to McLaren Vale, but I have to wonder if more focus could result in greater individuality in the wines. Despite the range of grape varieties being grown and wines being bottled, there is a dominant house signature to the red wines in particular, one that emphasizes structure and sturdiness over seduction and charm. Still, d'Arenberg's The Dead Arm Shiraz remains one of Australia's affordable icons, and it's a sure bet for aging two decades or more.