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d'Arenberg The Footbolt Magnum 2013 £34.95
D'ARENBERG THE FOOTBOLT MAGNUM
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.
Joseph Osborn was a successful racehorse owner and Footbolt was the pride of his stable. In 1912 he made the hard decision to sell his horses to purchase the d'Arenberg property.
A warm and dry spring and Summer followed by further dry conditions throughout harvest meant many things. Firstly disease pressure was negligible, the vast majority of fruit is very clean. Secondly, the yields were down. Finally, ripening happened relatively quickly. From a quality perspective in regards to Shiraz, these conditions produced wines of incredible colour and flavour. Dark, brooding wines with great volumes of fruit and layers of chewy, velvety tannin structure. Big, concentrated wines but beautifully balanced.
Small batches of grapes are crushed gently 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 then transferred to a mixture of new and used French and American oak barriques to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, and there is no racking until final blending. This wine does not undertake fining or filtration before bottling.
Classic McLaren Vale Shiraz in every sense. Laden with dark fruits, old spices and woody notes on the nose and backed up with thick liquorice, blackberry, plum and graphite-like characters on the palate. Striking fruit concentration paired with a bold and chewy, yet integrated tannin structure. Brutish in many respects but somehow manages to remain incredibly balanced. A wine to please even the most cantankerous wine aficionado.
Halliday Rating 90/100
Drink By 2020
"Hand-picked and machine-harvested, crushed and destemmed, cultured yeast, open-fermented with heading down boards, one-third fermented in barrel, followed by 22 months in 50/50% French and American oak. Medium to full-bodied, initially supple before its tannins swing into action, but, having done so, don't throttle the blackberry, plum and liquorice fruit. You can't help liking the wine, and loving its value for money."
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