d'Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2012  £14.95

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Since 1912 the Osborn family have grown grapes and made wine in the picturesque surrounds of McLaren Vale. Today fourth generation family member Chester Osborn is at the winemaking helm, making distinctive wines using traditional methods in the winery and the vineyard.

During the vine pull scheme of the early 1980’s d’Arry Osborn refused to touch his old Grenache vineyards. When his son Chester started in the business as Chief Winemaker in 1984 he set about acquiring more old vine Grenache grapes and vineyards at a time when it was considered un-fashionable. Today d’Arenberg is the keeper of nearly one third of McLaren Vale’s old bush vine Grenache and has earned the title of ‘Custodian’ of the variety.

A wet summer and winter in set the vines up perfectly for the 2012 vintage. Spring and summer were drier than normal, resulting in lower fruit yields. A small heat burst just prior to veraison assured a solid colour change, small berries and pronounced tannins in the grapes. The red wines from this vintage are black, solid and quite structured, the biggest year for some time; not oily but definitely gutsy.

Small batches of grapes are crushed gently and then transferred to five tonne headed down open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is then basket pressed and transferred to a mixture of new and used French and old American oak barriques to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, and there is no racking until final blending.

It can be hard to find a wine that will appeal to casual wine drinkers looking for something fruit driven and light on its feet, but also to more serious wine connoisseurs, who value subtle complexities and an ability to age. The 2012 Custodian offers just that with its pure fruit characters of mulberry, plum and blueberry complimented with a range of more savoury flavours, such as beetroot, cinnamon and nutmeg. The palate, while displaying great depth, is medium bodied and svelte. It is defined by velvety tannins that turn slightly gritty towards the finish, guaranteeing the wine’s longevity.


 Lisa Perrotti-Brown

 The Wine Advocate

"Pale to medium ruby/purple, the 2012 The Custodian Grenache reveals aromas of crushed black raspberries and black cherries with roses and earth nuances. Medium to full-bodied, the palate ripe, silky and seductive palate finishes with good length."

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