1997 d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz
Tasted 25/09/1999: The Dead Arm Shiraz has established a reputation for being able to deliver consistently concentrated wines. d'Arenbergs ability to make a virtue out of a potential disaster is to be applauded, however, we do not have their philosophy that wines with phomopsis (dead arm) are a natural part of vineyard life - however, that aside, this is a very impressive wine indeed.Opaque crimson mauve colour. Aromas of vanilla, cedar, blackpepper, blackberry and plum followed by a hint of confectionary. The palate is mouthfilling with excellent concentration of flavour - which has been carefully integrated with new French and American oak. Intense flavours of spice, blackpepper and plum with a slight hint of 'tar', chocolate and liquorice filling the palate. Perfect balance, superfine tannins, with very long aftertaste of spice, chocolate, plum, blackberry and pepper - which lasts for minutes.
Year in and year out d'Arenberg's finest cuvee is their spectacular Shiraz made from 100+ year old, head-pruned vines. It is an exquisite, multi-dimensional wine that is sure to make a formidable impression with readers. It is aged in 100% new oak, tipping the scales at a whopping 14.9% alcohol, yet has a glorious level of fruit and extract. The 1997 Dead Arm Shiraz exhibits an opaque purple color as well as a sweet nose of vanillin, blackberries, and licorice. The wood frames this enormously concentrated, rich, chewy wine. Multi-layered, with phenomenal concentration and length as well as moderately high tannin levels, it will be at its finest after 2-5 years of cellaring, and will keep for two decades.
Robert Parker - The Wine Advocate