95 Points - James Halliday
92+ Points - Wine Advocate, Robert Parker
94 Insider Points
"Crushed and destemmed, cultured yeast, open-fermented with heading down boards, one-third fermented in barrel, followed by up to 18 months in French oak. Inky purple-crimson hue; standard d'Arenberg vinification finishing the last third of the primary fermentation and MLF in barrel; a powerful, archetypal d'Arenberg Shiraz, swimming with black fruits of every description, dark chocolate and a generous helping of chewy tannins". -James Halliday
"The 2013 The Dead Arm Shiraz has a deep garnet color and a nose of chocolate-covered cherries, cassis and eucalypt with touches of mocha and bay leaves. The medium to full-bodied palate is rich and soft with a crazy backbone of lively acid cutting through the intense flavors and a nice, long mint-patty finish". -Robert Parker
Aussie Shiraz is About as Layered as Can Be
It's a category that is continually growing on me, especially at the higher level. Value and mid-tier Shiraz is good... the Dead Arm is excellent. It has a swath of layers that is hard to find outside of the premium tier of Shiraz. At 5 years of age, it's still a little young, and will be a fun wine to observe over the next few years (I'm putting 3 bottles away in the cellar for myself). That's not to say it isn't drinking well at the present. On the contrary, this wine is beautiful.
Woodsy aromas right off the bat, with nutmeg and espresso. Let this breathe about 20-30 minutes for more fruit qualities, black cherry and anise as it airs. The palate is bold, with velvety tannin and flavors of blackberry juice, plum skin, fresh herbs, dark chocolate and lively undertones of earl grey, raspberry and mushroom. The finish brings more of the woodsy quality with bright red fruit and a minty freshness. Setting my calendar to open bottle 2 exactly 1 year from now.
94 Points - JZ April '18
McLaren Vale, Australia
Included among Australia’s top bottlings, The Dead Arm is an iconic Shiraz—imitated by droves of Aussie winemakers though nobody comes close to capturing winemaker Chester Osborn’s unrivalled classic.
· This wine gets its name from a disease that plagues vines the world over. Eutypa Lata is a fungus that often kills off one arm of a grape vine, leaving it dead, shriveled and incapable of bearing fruit. The remaining arm, however, is not affected and actually gives rise to more concentrated, intense fruit after the disease has run its course. These are cut off every 20 years to allow the vines to continue to age and produce high quality fruit.
· This established and much-loved estate was founded in 1912 by Joseph Osborn. Today its run by the fourth generation of this same clan, the indefatigable Chester Osborn. Robert Parker named him among his “Top 40 Personalities of the World,” and d’Arenberg was Wine & Spirits’ “Winery of the Year” in 2009.
· Many of the estate’s McLaren Vale vineyards are still planted with the original vines from the early 1900s and provide d’Arenberg with outstanding old-vine source fruit. The vines range from 30-150 years old!
McLaren Vale is home to some of the oldest vines in the country, dating as far back as 1850. The Mediterranean climate, huge array of soil types and proximity to the ocean with the resultant cooling sea breezes make it an idyllic location for wine grape growing.
All this magic is achieved thanks to open-fermentation, partially in barrel and 18 months aging in French oak—along with a massive amount of winemaking talent and, of course, d’Arenberg’s historic Shiraz vines. Drink now or cellar.
The Dead Arm is made from the best barrels from the best vineyards each year. It is their top caliber red and and very age worthy.
From the Winemaker:
This Shiraz displays classic McLaren Vale aromas of plum, blackberry, liquorice and spice. There is also a strong sense of the old vines and infertile soils from which the grapes are sourced. Thisis evidenced through a raft of dark, earthy notes, evoking notions of a concentrated duck reduction and thick, black molasses. There is enough savory oak character to support the generous fruit but it isn’t the dominant feature, rather an intrinsic component of an ever changing bouquet of complex characters that ebb and flow with time in the glass.
The palate has an incredible depth of flavor and a solid structure built on a framework of firm tannins. The concept of soil transfer into the glass is furthered evidenced through flavours of beetroot and an almost woodiness. The power of the palate is somewhat tempered through its life and vibrancy, meaning we are met witha mouth-watering graphite-like impression rather than a sensation of boney dryness. The result is a wine of great presence and boldness but with a refined, stylish finish that lingers on and on.
From the winery:
One of the undisputed kings of Australian Shiraz and Rhone varietals, d'Arenberg has managed to turn individuality into an art form by doing a whole lot of little things differently. The original vineyards were established by Joseph Osborn in 1912 in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. A century on, the estate has grown to 345 acres, and the mantle now rests with fourth-generation winemaker, Chester Osborn. By maintaining a focus on traditional winemaking and nurturing their old-vine material, the Osborn clan has successfully established themselves as one of the country's leading producers of concentrated wines that are full of character.
Luckily, this wine will pair with most any meat: beef, venison, poultry, or lamb. We recommend trying it with beef skewers paired with cherry tomatoes. Or we always love a tasty duck breast filet coated with a cherry sauce.