d'Arenberg Nostalgia Rare Tawny 375ml  £18.95

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d'Arenberg Nostalgia Rare Tawny 375ml

This is the oldest wine that d'Arenberg release each year. It is only available in tiny quantities due to the amount that evaporates into the atmosphere over time, known as ‘the angel’s share’. The centrepiece of the label is a coat of arms with the original d’Arenberg crest, created by d’Arry Osborn in 1959 when he first released wine with the red stripe. Alongside the crest, as supporters are a Clydesdale horse and a Dorper lamb, both important to the history of the winery and also today. In 2013 Chester Osborn, current Chief Winemaker and Viticulturalist reintroduced the use of horses to the oldest bush vine Grenache vineyard in McLaren Vale, and sheep continue to graze between the vines as part of the biodynamic practices employed in the vineyards. Other elements of the coat of arms represent the export history of our fortified wines, illustrated by a ship crossing an ocean of vine leaves. Also present are acknowledgements of the traditional viticulture and winemaking techniques that are still in use at d’Arenberg, hand pruning and basket pressing. A second look at the labels shows a human foot drawn on each supporting animal, representative of foot treading of each red ferment. Other features are vineyard tools and oak barrels, a copper pot still and a gentle cherub.

The Nostalgia is blended to an average age of more than 15 years, comprising up to 40 various fortified wines that have been aged in old oak, predominantly Grenache and Shiraz. After careful blending, the wine is bottled in small batches to maintain complexity, freshness, intensity and lusciousness. Every two years small amounts of Grenache and occasionally Shiraz is fortified to add more young material, to ensure a small and constant supply when introduced to the final blend.

In the glass, it’s a burnished bronze with an alluring rim of olive – illustrating the great age of some of the parcels that have gone into this wine. The nose is at first a cascade of walnuts toasted almonds and rancio (drying, mature complex oak character). It then opens up to dried fruits, pears and apples with a sprinkling of cinnamon spice, further, an inspection gives up toffee, dried figs and burnt butter. The palate is very lively, tingling with spice and lift – a fantastic balance of freshness and age, the sweetness kept in check by the rancio.

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