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d'Arenberg The Dry Dam Riesling Museum Release 2015 £18.77
D'ARENBERG THE DRY DAM RIESLING MUSEUM RELEASE
A small portion of this wine was been held back at the winery for an extended period in order to be released later and closer to maturity, so you can see where these wines can go with some patience.
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.
In 1992 our neighbours built a dam that remained empty, as it was a dry winter. The next year it rained but the dam was jinxed and didn’t hold water. A dry dam is bad news for our neighbouring farmers, but promises good results for our old, dry-grown, lowyielding vines.
A wet winter ensured good sub soil 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, richness and balanced tannins. Vintage started on 30 January, the earliest start on record by one day.
Small batches of grapes are crushed gently, chilled and then transferred to specially designed steel basket presses. Gentle extraction of the juice is critical in these early stages to retain the delicate fruit characters. The fermentation was long and cool, and was stopped before reaching total dryness to ensure that residual sugar remains to balance the high mineral acidity. None of the white wines at d’Arenberg are subject to malolactic fermentation as we aim for the retention of fresh, natural acidity, which is integral to the balance and longevity of the wine.
Jasmine and orange blossom, along with lemon and lime characters leap from the glass. The sugar-acid balance from this fine vintage is impeccable. While both are present, they manage to meld together creating a mouth-watering yet supple sherbet character, which finishes dry and mineral, not cloying in the slightest. A pleasure to drink right now, this wine will evolve elegantly for many years to come.
95 Points James Halliday
An utterly impressive wine from a winery best known for its flotilla of red wines; its fruit has the juicy flavour and mouthfeel of the kind expected of a dry Mosel riesling; the intensity of the fruit is heightened by the crisp, crunchy acidity on the finish and aftertaste. The Dry Dam name is an anachronism.