d’Arenberg McLaren Vale South Australia

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Recently I visited d’Arenberg McLaren Vale to taste a few of their wines. A very unique experience, doubt that there would be any other winery on the planet with a cellar door experience quite like d’Arenberg McLaren Vale.

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The view from the d’Arrenberg McLaren Vale Cube

d’Arenberg is rated by James Halliday a 5 Red Star Winery.


5 Red Stars
Outstanding winery regularly producing wines of exemplary quality and typicity. Will have at least two wines rated at 95 points or above, and had a five-star rating for the previous two years.
Where the winery name is itself is printed in red, it is a winery generally acknowledged to have had a long track record of excellence in the context of its region — truly the best of the best.


www.winecompanion.com.au
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d’Arenberg McLaren Vale

The Early Years

d’Arenberg McLaren Vale produced their first wine in 1927 under the
Bundarra Vineyards by F. E. Osborn & Sons label.

In 1959 d’Arry launched the d’Arenberg label, creating a family crest and motto Vinum vita est, Wine is life, then adding the distinctive red-stripe to the label.

In 1965 the Bailey family of Glerowan, Victoria, challenged the use of the Bundarra name. d’Arry agreed to let the name go as long as they could use the Bundarra name on their property cases (guessing this was for the wines sold onsite at the cellar door). The winery’s new name, in honour of d’Arry’s mother, was d’Arrenberg.

d’Arrenberg won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy, awarded to the
producer of the best young, one or two year old, dry red wine, in 1969.

Chester Takes Over

Chester Osborn takes over as the Chief Winemaker in 1984, producing his first wine that year which was also the 25th Anniversary of the d’Arenberg label. Their whites were also poured for the first time in Qantas First Class.

1993 was the year of the first vintage of the iconic “Dead Arm Shiraz”

In 1994 d’Arry vested as a Patron of the Australian Wine Industry for his contributions to the industry

1996 was a big year for d’Arrenberg, they renovated the homestead and established d’Arry’s Verandah restaurant, they also wine the South Australian Wine of the Year for their 1994 Dead Arm Shiraz. Their 1994 Noble Riesling was also the runner up in the Sweet Wine category of the SA Wine Awards.

Chester is named the inaugural Winemaker of the Year in 1998 by Winestate Magazine.

The 00’s

2003 is the year that d’Arenberg is named the International Winery of the Year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

d’Arenberg wins the inaugural Len Evans Memorial Trophy in 2004. The Len Evans Memorial Trophy is awarded to the wineries who have consistently excelled over the previous five years.

In 2005 d’Arenberg is awarded World Winery of the Year at the Vino Awards. The Dead Arm Shiraz is included in the Langton’s Classification in the Excellent category.

Australia’s First Families of Wine is established in 2009 and the Osborn’s are named as one of the 12 families.

2010 until now

2010 d’Arenberg is named Winery of the Year by Wine and Spirits Magazine in the US.

In 2011 the Dead Arm Shiraz is promoted to the top of the ladder
of the Langton’s Classification, the Outstanding Category.

2014 is the year that d’Arenberg is added to the Wine and Spirits Magazine USA’s Hall of Fame and also included in their top 100 Wineries of the Year list.

d’Arry is Awarded the Legend of the Vine in 2016, recognizing his significant contributions to the Australian Wine Industry

2017 is the year that the d’Arenberg McLaren Vale Cube is opened to the public.

2018 Oz’s Travels first visit to d’Arenberg McLaren Vale Cube, well just the first the fourth floor, the tasting room.

d’Arrenberg McLaren Vale The Cube

Unfortunately we did not have time to go through the entire experience of the Cube. It is definitely worth the time, effort and dollars to go through from bottom to top. Will definitely be back.

Oz’s Ratings

Icon wdt_ID Rating Description
1 1 out of 5 Bug spray, good for cleaning or powering vehicles
2 2 out of 5 Acceptable at a pinch (must be extremely desperate)
3 2.5 out of 5 Drinkable, might improve with age or decanting, good for the last bottle of the night when there is nothing else available
4 3 out of 5 A good wine, may improve with time, a quaffer
5 3.5 out of 5 A very good wine, worth a try and probably a bit of patience if it is a young wine
6 4 out of 5 A great wine! Recommended by Oz
7 4.5 out of 5 A great wine, definitely one that Oz recommends!!
11 5 out of 5 Amazing, WoW. Highly recommended, please give me more!

d’Arenberg Wine Reviews

My favourites from this tasting were:

  • 2011 d’Arenberg The Old Bloke and The Three Young Blondes
  • 2010 d’Arenberg Blewett Springs Single District Grenache
  • 2017 d’Arenberg Money Spider
wdt_ID Rating Wine
1 >
Name: d'Arenberg Pollyanna Polly
Year: NV
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier
Oz's Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Vivid bright light straw in appearance with a light bead of small bubbles. The wine has a perfumed nose of orange zest and citrus aromas. The elegant complex palate has mineral, lime and lemon flavours with an enjoyable medium finish.

From the d'Arenberg website - Behind the Name:
"The Pollyanna principle is the tendency for people to remember pleasant times more accurately than unpleasant ones. Chester’s mother, Pauline, was a living testament to this truth, always looking on the bright side of life. An eternal optimist, she was known to family and friends alike as Pollyanna Polly."
<
2 >
Name: d'Arenberg Money Spider
Year: 2017
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Roussane
Oz's Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Bright light yellow in appearance with powerful mix of lychee and pear aromas. It has a bold palate with an enjoyable medium finish.

Needs food, but still enjoyable.

From the d'Arenberg website - Behind the Name:
The first crop of Roussanne from the 2000 vintage was covered in tiny 'Money Spiders'. Popular belief is that kindness to these creatures will bring good luck, so Chester refrained from sending the spiders to their death. By the next year the Money Spiders had relocated, making the first release of this wine in 2001.
<
3 >
Name: d'Arenberg Blewett Springs Single District Grenache
Year: 2010
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Grenache
Oz's Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Vivid youthful medium deep garnet in appearance with a pleasant combo of stone fruit and fruit cake aromas. The medium-bodied palate is complex with savoury tannins and a medium length finish.

From the d'Arenberg website - Behind the Name:
This part of McLaren Vale was surveyed by William Greig Evans who noted the many natural springs. The Blewitt part of the title was in honour of his wife, whose maiden name was Blewitt.
<
4 >
Name: d'Arenberg Coppermine Road
Year: 2015
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Oz's Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Vivid medium-deep garnet in appearance with a complex mixture of blackcurrant, black pepper and eucalypt aromas. The medium-bodied palate is savoury with firm developing tannins and a medium-long finish.

Needs time to evolve.

From the d'Arenberg website - Behind the Name:
Coppermine Road runs parallel to our very best Cabernet vineyard in McLaren Vale, just metres from the winery, cellar door and restaurant. Planted to an almost extinct clone, this vineyard rarely yields greater than one tonne to the acre.
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5 >
Name: d'Arenberg Ironstone Pressings
Year: 2016
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: 70% Grenache 25% Shiraz 5% Mourvèdre
Oz's Rating: 3 out of 5

Youthful deep crimson in appearance with a restrained mixture of stone fruit and fruit cake aromas. The medium-bodied palate is complex with savoury tannins and a medium length finish.

From the d'Arenberg website - Behind the Name:
Most of McLaren Vale's acclaimed and historic vineyards are impregnated with ancient, decomposed laterite granite known as ironstone. Its extraordinary rusty redbrown colour is derived from the iron oxides present in the stone. The larger pieces were cleared from the vineyards in the late 1880's and utilised in many of the buildings at d'Arenberg, most notably the old stables
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6 >
>
Name: d'Arenberg The Old Bloke and The Three Young Blondes
Year: 2011
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: 91% Shiraz 3% Roussanne 3% Viognier 3% Marsanne
Oz's Rating: 4 out of 5

Rich mid-depth garnet with red-brick edges in appearance with a complex perfumed combo of blackberry, dark fruits, spice and floral aromas. The complex palate is layered with silky developing tannins and a lovely long finish.

A great wine, will definitely improve with age.

From the d'Arenberg website - Behind the Name:
The Old Bloke is a Shiraz dominant blend with Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne, three white Rhone varieties that d'Arenberg planted in McLaren Vale in the 1990's. These 'young blondes' add fragrance, spice and length to the 'old bloke', which is sourced from d'Arenberg's oldest Shiraz vines. Some might joke that the old bloke is Chester, and the three young blondes are his daughters, the fifth generation who will carry on the d'Arenberg tradition. Each of these title characters are represented on the label as a cut out silhouette. Much like the wine itself, the four personalities are 'blended' together by being overlayed one on top of the other, each creating a window to the next and achieving an effect of tactility and depth.
<
7 >
Name: d'Arenberg The Fruit Bat
Year: 2012
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Shiraz
Oz's Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Rich deep crimson in appearance, with a pleasant combo of floral, mineral and asian spice aromas. The complex palate is layered with lithe tannins and a medium-long finish.

An interesting wine that, IMHO, will improve with patience.

This vineyard is next door to the vineyard where the Little Venice grapes are sourced from and the difference between the two wines is distinctive.

From the d'Arenberg website - Behind the Name:
An old shearing shed on the property is home to tiny fruit bats that live in the old hessian wool sacks.
<
8 >
>
Name: d'Arenberg The Little Venice
Year: 2012
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Shiraz
Oz's Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Vivid deep crimson in appearance, with a combo of plum, cedar and spice aromas. It has a savoury palate with firm evolving tannins and a lovely long finish.

This vineyard is next door to the vineyard where the Fruit Bat grapes are sourced from and the difference between the two wines is distinctive.

From the d'Arenberg website - Behind the Name:
Fourth generation winemaker Chester Osborn was in Venice when this block was purchased. The land nearby has a spring-fed dam providing an abundance of water and inspiring its name.

<

Oz’s Wine Reviews

Oz’s Winery Reviews

d’Arrenberg McLaren Vale Cube Tasting Experience

d’Arenberg offers multiple levels of tasting experience, ranging from the entry wines up to their premium wine selection. I would recommend spending the extra for the premium wine flight, that way you can try anything that they have on offer in the tasting room. Also it is a good idea to book, the place does get pretty busy.

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If you are looking to have a meal there I have been told it is very good and as you would expect they do wine pairing along with the degaustation menu. Something I will do next time (I hope).

Wine Reviews

Cheers!

2017 Singapore Grand Prix, Fireworks, My Balcony,

Happy New Year and All the Best for 2019, may there be many more great wines ahead!

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2 thoughts on “d’Arenberg McLaren Vale South Australia

  • December 31, 2018 at 8:49 pm
    Permalink

    Some of the first Aussie wines I ever tasted were from d’Arenberg. Love The Cube. Was there around Easter.

    Reply
    • December 31, 2018 at 8:52 pm
      Permalink

      They do make some great wines. McLaren Vale is a great region.

      I need to go back and spend more time exploring, might have to plan for that next Christmas including the degau in the restaurant.

      Happy New Year @leggypeggy. Looking forward to your adventures in 2019

      Reply

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