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d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2015 £33.95
d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2015
Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often affected vines are severely pruned or replanted. One half of an 'arm' of the vine slowly becomes reduced to deadwood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.
A wet winter ensured good subsoil moisture and set up the vines well with healthy canopies. Spring was very dry with above-average temperatures, a heavy downpour in January was a welcome relief. Mild conditions during the ripening period produced wines that show an abundance of spicy fruits with great colour and richness. Vintage started on 30 January, the earliest start on record by one day.
Small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to five tonnes 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, there is no racking until final blending and no fining or filtration.
This iconic wine always displays the power and intensity of McLaren Vale Shiraz, yet has an elegance and refinement that few other wines from the region possess. It's vibrant and lifted on the nose with bustling red fruits and savoury spice. The palate is long, linear and pure with tightly wound tannin and mouth-watering acidity. Beneath the layers of blueberry, pomegranate and Satsuma Plum is an intriguing core of the earth and crushed rocks. If stored correctly, this wine should age for 15+ years.