95 Points - James Halliday
92 Points - Vinous
91 Points - James Suckling
93 Insider Points
"This has a dose of viognier that adds a sheen of sweet-smelling stone fruits across more typical tarry aromas and blackberry shiraz fruits. The palate's smoothly rendered with dark plum, chocolate and licorice fruit flavors. Plush and approachable. Blend of 93% shiraz and 7% viognier. Screw cap".
"Matured in 50/50% French and American oak (8% new) for 20 months. It's odd how the co-fermentation of viognier can appear to intensify the regional signature, it's certainly written large here, but there's a spark of fresh fruit with a different pitch to its note. All this adds up to an impressive example of this key wine in the d'Arenberg menagerie".
“Inky ruby. Smoke-accented aromas of ripe dark berries, game, pungent flowers and cola, joined by a hint of white pepper that emerges slowly and adds spicy lift. Concentrated, seamless bitter cherry, blackberry and fruitcake flavors become more energetic as the wine opens up. Round, even tannins shape the finish, which hangs on with impressive, dark-fruit-dominated persistence.”
If You've Never Heard a Magpie Laugh, You're Missing Out.
It's an experience well worth having, just like this wine. This is a fun one to bring to the barbecue. I just enjoyed this with a juicy serving of smoked pork belly AND pork shoulder. It was a great weekend with the smoker. This wine drinks well on its own, but dang did it pair nicely with those meats.
Tobacco leaves & blackberry aromas on the nose. Plum, cassis and raspberry jam show on a well-balanced palate with rounded tannins. It has a pleasant, medium finish. I've actually not ever heard a magpie laugh. Adding that to my to-do list.
93 Points - JZ March '18
McLaren Vale, Australia
93% Shiraz; 7% Viognier
up to 10 months
Another impeccably good offering from Chester Osborne combining rich and voluptuous McLaren Vale Shiraz with lifted fragrant Viognier. d'Arenberg is one of the pioneers of this style, the 'Magpie' continues to go from strength to strength.
- The Laughing Magpie is an outstanding example of Australians’ winemaking philosophy of not being afraid to blend grapes to make an exceptional wine; terroir counts for a lot, but blending fruit from several different vineyards just might produce a higher quality wine, according to many producers on the continent.
- While that might be considered irreverent to some, the d’Arenberg winery has been turning irreverence into the avant-garde going on four generations now, from Joseph Osborn who originally planted the vineyards in 1912 down the line to Chester Osborn today, who maintains a focus on established winemaking practices while nurturing vines that are now well over a century old on the same site, which has now grown to 345 acres. Today d’Arenberg is known across the country for concentrated wines brimming with character.
- Even though McLaren Vale wasn’t hit as hard by the 2012 rains as Barossa Valley, the Laughing Magpie is pretty damn striking for the weather of that vintage; it’s as vivacious and unpretentious as the locals are themselves.
- Shiraz is almost always blended . . . but with Viognier? Rest assured, it works tremendously, and furthermore, keeps with that classic Australian wine style of creamy whites and soft reds packed with fruit, the Viognier adding that creamy mouthfeel to the hard-textured Shiraz.
This is rich, chewy, dense and quite generously flavoured. There’s black fruits, pepper, coffee, liquorice and apricots. It’s complex, easy to drink and has the d’Arenberg trademark acid drive and fine tannin finish.
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 gently crushed and then transferred to open fermenters, where the Viognier and Shiraz are co-fermented. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation, the wine is basket pressed and transferred to a mixture of old French and American oak to complete fermentation and mature. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, there is no racking until final blending and no fining or filtration.
From the winery:
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.
Every vineyard has a personality which we encourage to flourish with minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery. Through time honoured techniques such as open fermentation, foot treading and basket pressing, this personality is allowed to shine.
All d’Arenberg estate owned and leased vineyards are NASAA Certified for organic and biodynamic processes.
This natural and environmentally friendly philosophy encourages strong root systems that penetrate the soil, resulting in lively tannin structures, soil characters and fine minerality. These practices also ensure that yields are kept low with concentrated flavours and excellent natural acidity.
Exceptional alongside Roast Lamb with Apricots, Meat Pie, Burgers, and even Chocolate Pavlovas.